By Jessica Ashraf, Teaching and Learning Specialist, Udemy
In my last blog post, I described how Udemy is using learning science to develop new product features and instructor resources. Now, I’m excited to share the launch of our Learning Advisory Board (LAB), which will take those initiatives further.
What does the LAB do?
The LAB is a group of experts and pioneers in education who are helping Udemy deliver the best learning experiences for our students. They’ll be collaborating and consulting with us on many fronts, from giving feedback on product features and prototypes, to educating Udemy instructors and employees about how students learn online and sharing best practices for teaching online and building a great learning environment.
Why do we think it’s important to have a LAB?
We believe external partners help us see beyond our own office walls and incorporate fresh, innovative thinking from diverse niches of education. Online learning is still a fairly new and quickly evolving field, and it’s important to stay on top of current developments and discussions. Gaining a deep understanding of how people learn and teach most effectively allows us to make better informed decisions about Udemy’s product and growth initiatives, which, in turn, helps ensure students get what they need and want when they come to Udemy to learn.
Who are our learning advisors?
We are fortunate to have assembled a stellar group of highly knowledgeable and widely respected experts in the field. Each brings their own particular expertise and will be working with us in varying capacities.
The idea for the LAB was already floating around our office as I was listening to “Trends and Issues,” an edtech-themed podcast co-hosted by Abbie Brown. I liked their thinking and felt they had a lot of relevant knowledge to offer Udemy. Abbie is an award-winning educator and scholar who has written numerous books on teaching strategies and instructional design. He’s also an experienced university and K-12 classroom teacher, online educator, and instructional media producer, making him a rich source of expertise for Udemy.
George has built multiple online education programs from scratch and is currently associate dean of hybrid learning at UCLA Anderson School of Management. One of his main areas of focus is instructional strategies for online teaching, which is obviously a crucial area for Udemy’s instructors too. George strives to teach in ways that will make his material much more accessible to the student than the approaches usually followed by college textbooks and courses.
Udemy didn’t have to find Larry—he got in touch with us first. Larry is so passionate about education and has so much wisdom to share, he offered to help before he even knew about the LAB. Formerly the dean of Hult International Business School in San Francisco, Larry now serves as a global professor there, teaching courses in finance, accounting, and entrepreneurship. He never tires of experimenting with innovative teaching strategies and thinking about the best ways to use new media to teach students. Larry’s extensive expertise in designing course curricula and developing teacher training materials will be a huge asset to Udemy.
Annie Murphy Paul
I had subscribed to Annie’s newsletter “The Brilliant Report” a long time ago and am always beyond excited to read her latest articles. One of her posts on “technological ignorance” prompted me to approach her about joining Udemy’s LAB. Annie is a book author, magazine journalist, consultant, and speaker who helps people understand how we learn and how we can do it better. She writes a weekly column about learning for Time.com and also blogs about learning at CNN.com. We’re looking forward to sharing some of Annie’s brilliance right here on the Udemy blog too!
The Learning Advisory Board is a huge opportunity for Udemy, and we’re honored to work with these amazing people who really care about creating the best possible learning experience for students.