Udemy for Business Releases Corporate Training Survey Findings

Jobs are rapidly changing but employee training and onboarding programs have not kept up with the demands of the modernworkplace. Today Udemy for Business released the results of a recent survey aimed at uncovering insight into this training gap and its impact on businesses and employees.

The survey polled 175 HR leaders about their employees’ skills and current training programs. The key finding: 71 percent of HR professionals acknowledge that their employees do not have the skills they need to perform their jobs, yet more than half of the companies surveyed are spending less than $500 a year per employee on training.

Other findings reveal that today’s corporate training programs are:

  • Outdated – In spite of HR decision makers feeling like employees didn’t have all the right skills they needed to do their jobs, only 15 percent of training programs were established or updated in the past year. Fifty-one percent were built inthe last five years, and a third of respondents weren’t sure when training programs were built.
  • Limited – Sixty-eight percent of companies rely solely on on-the-job training for onboarding.
  • Narrow - Seventy-two percent of respondents admitted they are only providing training that is directly related to employees’ roles.
  • Unclear – Of the companies lacking a formal onboarding process, 67 percent aren’t sure if they will be implementing one next year.

Despite acknowledging the skills gap, organizations aren’t training to close it. C-suites and HR decision makers must prioritize training and allocate sufficient resources to successfully scale their workforce. To gain competitive edge and excel, corporate training programs must reflect the current demands and expectations of employees’ skills.

For more on the news, read the full press release. Download and view the full report “At the breaking point – the state of corporate training programs in America” here.

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Udemy’s Teacher Tech Initiative

I had the pleasure of attending the White House Science Fair today for the announcement of Udemy’s Teacher Tech Initiative, in support of President Obama’s campaign to improve computer science education and put more Americans in tech jobs. Udemy’s Teacher Tech Initiative brings free and highly-discounted computer technology courses to K-12 teachers across the country, so teachers can better prepare students for the jobs of the future.

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In its fifth year, the White House Science Fair event celebrates the country’s most outstanding students in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. Special honor was given this year to girls and women excelling in these fields. Amongst the energetic buzz of student projects and experiments lies the undercurrent of a lack of computer science teachers in America and a need to equip more of our youth – especially girls – with the skills needed to fill the million plus technology jobs predicted to open in the next decade. Sixty-five percent of grade-school kids will have jobs that don’t exist today, and only one in 10 American public schools teach computer science. Udemy’s Teacher Tech Initiative seeks to help close this gap and make it possible for the next generation to take advantage of tech job opportunities.

Among the many amazing organizations joining this campaign is our Udemy for Business customer Esri. They will provide a grant to make its advanced mapping software running on cloud infrastructure provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) available for free to the more than 100,000 elementary, middle and high schools in the United States. Esri is the global leader of mapping technology and Geographic Information System (GIS) software. Esri uses Udemy for Business to create content that educates people on their technology platform ArcGIS.

At Udemy, we believe that people can be and do anything if given the opportunity to learn. We see our students and instructors embody this notion every day. Take 15 year-old Moksh Jawa, a sophomore at Washington High School in Fremont, California, who is passionate about computer science although there are no related classes offered at his school. He self-studied for the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science exam, founded a computer science club on campus, and last month created an AP computer science exam prep course on Udemy with the aim of making computer science education, and the opportunity of passing the AP computer science exam, accessible to high school students around the globe.

Stories like Moksh’s, coupled with attending today’s Science Fair and meeting some of our country’s most innovative and creative young minds, re-confirms this belief that the opportunities and possibilities for success in technology are infinite. Through Udemy’s Teacher Tech Initiative, we’re honored to do our part in empowering teachers to educate today’s students for a successful tomorrow and demonstrate to their students that you can always learn your way to where you want to go.

 

Data Science Lightning Talks at Udemy

Attn: data hounds! Udemy is hosting a data science event in partnership with SF Data Mining meetup at our office next Thursday, March 26. The evening will consist of a series of inspiring short talks by data scientists in diverse fields from online education to healthcare to network science and data visualization.

Here’s a sneak peek at the lineup:

We’re a very data-driven group of folks here at Udemy and are excited to convene with others interested in working with data. Visit here for more details and to register. Hope to see you there!

 

Udemy Partners with Benesse to Significantly Expand Content in Japan

This morning, Udemy CEO Dennis Yang attended a press conference in Japan to announce some incredibly exciting news. Udemy has partnered with Benesse, the leading education and publishing provider in Japan. This partnership will expand content offerings in the Japanese language and bring numerous new Japanese students and instructors to the Udemy marketplace.

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With this partnership, Benesse will share some of their educational content through Udemy, which will be incredibly useful for people around the world who want to learn in Japanese. At least one hundred Japanese-language courses produced by Benesse on a wide range of topics will be available via Udemy by the end of April 2015. Additionally, Benesse will enlist everyday experts in Japan to share their skills and earn additional income by creating their own courses.

Currently more than 60 percent of Udemy’s 6 million students are outside of the US. Japan is a very important market for us as we continue to expand our global footprint. Over the past year, we opened our first European office in Dublin and began rollout of localized pricing, making it easier for students to purchase courses in their local currencies. We’re confident that combining Benesse’s expertise in Japanese education with Udemy’s marketplace platform will continue to fuel rapid growth.

We’re on a mission to help anyone learn anything. As we work towards this goal, we look forward to collaborating with additional strategic partners to bring much-needed access to skills development to students regardless of location or origin.

To learn more about the partnership with Benesse, visit https://www.udemy.com/jp. You can also view the full press release here.

 

Celebrate STEM with a piece of Pi

Unless you’re a high school math teacher, it may have escaped your notice that this coming Saturday is a very special day. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and is widely used in math equations. Every March 14, math enthusiasts celebrate Pi Day (3.14), when the date matches the first three digits of Pi. This year, it’s extra exciting–2015 continues the Pi sequence (3.1415).

While it’s a fun time to think about the impact of math on our daily lives (and maybe snag a piece of pie), this year, I’m also thinking about the impact math has had on my own life as a woman in the technology industry. I loved solving geometry problems early on in my high school career, so I was continually encouraged to take harder math and science classes. Some teachers challenged me with more difficult problems and some teachers allowed me to lead math tutoring sessions. I didn’t know then how fortunate I was. The confidence I built in math allowed me to pursue my degree in engineering and ultimately a very rewarding career in technology.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for everyone. A 2011 report from the United States Department of Commerce found “although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs.” As the report points out, this is particularly alarming because that number has remained stagnant despite the fact that college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.

There’s been a lot of conversation over the last couple years regarding the lack of diversity in tech, particularly women in engineering roles. We need to get in on the ground floor and encourage young girls to pursue their interests in STEM. There are many great organizations, such as Black Girls Code, that are helping young women pursue their technological passions. Parents can do their part by encouraging their daughters to take math and science, join robotics clubs, and attend science camps (and avoid language like “I’m bad at math”–setting a good example is important). Schools can hire more women math and science teachers as role models. Teachers can give their female students positive reinforcement on their math and science skills. There is no question that secondary and higher educational institutions can also do more to attract and encourage women to study engineering and pursue careers in technology. At the same time, tech companies need to prioritize hiring women for those jobs and work harder to create an environment that is supportive and welcoming to all.

When it comes to the lack of women in tech, we need to play a short game–and a long one. Increasing the number of girls in STEM now will pay off in the decades to come. Tech companies will be better for the diversity, there will be more available engineers, and women will have more access to high-paying jobs. So, there you go–you can have your pie and eat it too.

By Claire Hough, Udemy VP of Engineering

Pebbles of Hope Launches Thrive Guide Course on Udemy

One in 10 births are premature every year, worldwide. Pebbles of Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping premature babies survive and thrive, launched a free Udemy course to help educate parents on best care practices to ensure long healthy lives for preemies.

The first module of the course “Thrive Guide for Parents of Premature Babies,” focuses on critical nutritional care in the first six months including feeding, storing breast milk and Kangaroo Care techniques. All of the information provided in the course has been approved by Pebbles of Hope’s expert advisory panel of neonatologists, perinatologists, neonatal nurses, pediatricians, pediatric nutritionists and occupational therapists.

Pebbles of Hope seeks to support and empower parents of premature babies, especially in underserved areas around the world, no matter their geographic isolation or access to quality healthcare. Over time, Pebbles of Hope plans to expand the Thrive Guide to cover additional topics such as infection prevention and methods for parents to stimulate healthy child development, as well as translate the material for families internationally.

Pebbles of Hope received a $2,500 grant through Udemy’s Social Innovation program to create this course. For more information on the program, please email socialinnovation@udemy.com.

 

Udemy Course for International Women’s Day 2015: #MakeItHappen

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In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, 30 of our female instructors from around the world came together in collaboration to produce a free Udemy course in support of the official theme “Make It Happen.”

The course entitled “Make It Happen: Empowering Women for Success” celebrates the commonalities, diversities and strengths of women globally. The lectures tap into the depth and breadth of Udemy instructor expertise to arm women with skills for success in many aspects of life including self confidence, career advancement, entrepreneurship, meditation and relaxation.

The team at Udemy is continually inspired and empowered by the strength of our Udemy community. This course is truly a virtual group effort and underscores the power of virtual collaboration. Special thanks to the amazing women of Udemy Women Rock for their contributions large and small in bringing this course to life. Happy International Women’s Day to all!

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New Free Course to Help Public School Parents Navigate School System

For many parents living in California, grappling with the public school system can be anxiety-inducing. Parents simply want the best educations for their children, but navigating the complexities of the system – and becoming an active and productive member of it – can be confusing and fraught. To alleviate those concerns, the nonprofit Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco has published a free Udemy course on the state’s School Governance structure. The course covers how parents can become involved in groups where they can provide input on their school’s priorities and how money is being spent.

The course focuses on several key areas:

  • What school governance is, how it works and why it is important for any parent with a child in the public school system
  • The overarching concepts of how school is governed in California – School Site Councils and English Learner Advisory committees
  • The role parents and caregivers can play in the public school system to enable academic success and enhanced school governance

The course, which was made possible through a grant from Udemy’s Social Innovation program, is designed to foster community involvement in the state school system and empower parents and caregivers to become active participants. It’s available through the Udemy website as well as on mobile devices, which is ideal for busy parents. The course is approximately 1.5 hours long and is free for anyone. It is also available in Spanish and Chinese. To take the course, visit Udemy’s website.

 

Interviewing at Udemy

We’re a quickly growing team of diverse movers and shakers. We’re looking for great candidates to join us on our mission to help anyone learn anything.

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At Udemy, we place a high degree of importance on our interview process. We do this for a few reasons – not only because our people make Udemy what it is, but also because interviews are one of the few ways candidates can get an insight into how awesome it is to work here. We’re proud of our team, business and culture so we want to make sure we shine! Our candidates are also our customers – they are students learning on Udemy and/or instructors teaching on Udemy. We rarely talk with candidates who haven’t at least checked out one of our 25,000 courses. Additionally, an interview has become a very public process due to social media and sites like Glassdoor. So what are we doing to ensure a positive experience?

First of all, we try to make sure that the interview fits with candidates’ schedules. We know many candidates currently have jobs and it’s uncomfortable for them to have to take off multiple days to interview. Therefore, we try to have candidates come onsite once, or twice at maximum, and remain flexible with schedules throughout the entire process.

During the interview, we deliberately structure the discussion or coding exercise (and sometimes restructure on the fly) to make the candidate succeed. This doesn’t mean we always make an offer, but we always want candidates to leave feeling like they had an opportunity to do their best and that the outcome (either way) is fair. For example, we pay attention to candidates’ emotional states during the interviews and work to help them relax if they seem nervous (nobody can interview well if they’re a ball of nerves!). We train our interviewers to be cognizant of emotional states that may cause candidates to underperform, and remind them to put themselves in the interviewees’ shoes and remember how it feels to be interviewed.

Lastly, we know time is of the essence when it comes to getting back to candidates with a decision once the interview is complete. We believe that “candidates are like a fruit that may perish.” We’ve even been known to make offers on the spot to exceptional candidates (pending background and reference checks), and make sure we let everyone know whether it’s a pass or offer within 24-48 hours. Even if it isn’t a fit at the moment, we do keep many candidates in mind for potential future positions. Last year, we had six employees who we declined for the role they originally applied for, but then joined the team in different roles later on.

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We find that by following these steps, we are able to evaluate candidates at their best, attract more employee referrals, and give an overall positive interviewing experience. Interested in interviewing to join the Udemy team? Check out all of our open positions here.

 

Udemy for Business Announces New Customers and Platform Growth

It is clear that online training is vital for successful company growth and scaling. Today Udemy for Business, Udemy’s corporate learning platform, announced some major momentum, including signing on new customers Esri, Lyft and Mixpanel. Our Udemy for Business customer count has quadrupled in the past year, and has grown an average of 172 percent quarter-over-quarter since inception.

But that’s not all! To date, the Udemy for Business subscription has tripled its course library to 1,000 total courses. We’ve added a significant bundle of new courses necessary for sales, technology and management skills development. Additionally, the team launched the HR Innovators event series, which has brought together more than 600 HR leaders around the Bay Area.

We’re excited to see this momentum continue as more companies realize the critical need to provide their employees with access to skills training to stay up-to-speed and competitive!

You can read the full news release here. Please email business@udemy.com for more information on the Udemy for Business offering or HR Innovators events.