Coursera, one of the largest online learning platforms in the world, has released its annual study of learner trends across the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The data, based on the content choices of over 560,000 registered UAE learners, offers insight into the skills, competencies, and subject matter most accessed by the country’s population. Reflecting the ongoing need to mitigate the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UAE’s top course this past year was Johns Hopkins University’s Covid-19 Contact Tracing (3rd in 2020).
The 2021 data also shows that UAE learners were particularly enthusiastic about courses that offer the business skills needed to thrive in the global economy, including negotiation, professional English-language competency, and an understanding of financial markets. This trend reflects the UAE’s world-leading Business skills proficiency rating, as the country ranked 2nd globally in this domain in the 2021 Coursera Global Skills Report. Top courses aimed at improving business skills taken by UAE learners in 2021 included:
- University of Pennsylvania’s English for Career Development (4th in 2021 and 2020)
- University of Michigan’s Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills (8th in 2021, 6th in 2020)
- Yale University’s Financial Markets (10th in 2021, 7th in 2020)
The 2021 study also found that UAE learners sought to equip themselves with the technological and data science skills that are in high demand in the modern, technology-centric economy. Ranked second last year was Google’s Foundations: Data, Data Everywhere, which forms part of Google’s Data Analytics Professional Certificate.
Learners in the Emirates gain professional English language abilities, negotiation skills, and financial market knowledge
Foundations: Data, Data Everywhere was joined in the UAE top-ten by Stanford University’s Machine Learning (3rd up from 5th in 2020) which speaks to an increasing desire among UAE learners to adapt to a workplace increasingly defined by AI-driven automation. These trends also represent learners taking steps that will help to improve the UAE’s competitiveness in Coursera’s Data Science and Technology domains, for which the country ranked 71st and 72nd respectively in the 2021 Global Skills Report.
“2021’s learner trends suggest that the UAE is in a strong position to consolidate its world-leading status for business skills proficiency”
“2021’s learner trends suggest that the UAE is in a strong position to consolidate its world-leading status for business skills proficiency,” said Anthony Tattersall, Vice-President of EMEA, Coursera. “It is also encouraging to see high uptake of data science and technology courses that prepare the country to reduce its skills gap in these domains, as illuminated by our Global Skills Report. This year, we look forward to working together to make online learning even more effective and equitable for the UAE’s learners by delivering new world-class content and tools.”
Designed to help learners of all backgrounds prepare for an entry-level digital job in a growing field, entry-level Professional Certificates don’t require a degree or prior technical experience. In response to the double disruption created by automation and the Covid-19 pandemic, Coursera has observed increasing emphasis on a credential that facilitates fast, flexible retraining, including in the UAE. Also ranked among the UAE’s ten most popular courses was Google’s Foundations of Project Management (6th), which contributes to the company’s Project Management Professional Certificate.