Coursera Launch Skills Benchmarking Tool

I’ve written numerous times about the potential for Coursera to provide the bite sized learning opportunities that might help people and organizations adapt their skillsets to the changing requirements of the modern economy.  Whilst the courses are generally of a high quality at a very low cost, it can sometimes be challenging understanding which courses to take, if for no other reason than organizations lack an understanding of what skills they have, and don’t have, in their workforce.

MOOC platform Coursera are attempting to overcome this challenge with the release of a Skills Benchmarking tool that they believe will help managers measure not only the skills they have in their workforce, but how those skills compare with peers in their industry.  It will provide managers with access to a full dataset on the competencies within their business, and by comparing them with others, help to identify where gaps are.

Building a skills graph

The new benchmarking tool is built on top of the skills graph provided by Coursera to map the skills honed by the courses available on the platform.  The graph also maps these skills to career, companies and industries that require them.

The benchmarking tool then utilizes machine learning algorithms that have been trained using learning and assessment performance data from the Coursera ‘student body’ to construct an aggregate view of the core capabilities of any employer, together with how they compare to their peers.

“As advancing technologies continue to change the way businesses operate, organizations need to assess and benchmark their talent continuously in order to compete,” Coursera say. “We’re thrilled to equip businesses across industries with top quality learning content to drive deep reskilling, and organizations can now leverage actionable data to improve their strategic workforce transformation agenda.”

The company hope that the tool will help HR managers make better hiring, training and talent deployment decisions.  The early adopters of the tool have already found it especially valuable in giving them a contextual understanding of how their own workforce compares with their peers, and also in highlighting key skills for competitive advantage in their sector.

“Having quantifiable insights into Adobe’s technical talent helps us understand not only which technology domains we have talent within, but also the level of expertise within those technologies. These insights will give us a distinct advantage as we look to deploy our best talent against our most important technology priorities. We’ll also use these insights to inform our technical training objectives and support Adobe Sensei, particularly focusing on AI and machine learning,” said Seth Martinez, Program Manager for Technical Talent Development at Adobe.

The new feature is gradually being rolled out, and the company expect to offer to all customers in the coming months.