UAE: Covid-19 contact tracing course most popular in 2021

The data was based on the content choices of over 560,000 registered UAE learners.

Reuters file
Reuters file

Nandini Sircar

Published: Wed 12 Jan 2022, 1:40 PM

Covid-19 Contact Tracing of Johns Hopkins University has been the top course in the UAE as per Coursera’s 2021 learner trends study.

Coursera, Inc., one of the largest online learning platforms in the world, recently released its annual study of learner trends across the 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.

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.

This trend also reflects the UAE’s world-leading Business skills proficiency rating, as the country ranked second globally in this domain in the 2021 Coursera Global Skills Report.

Anthony Tattersall, Vice-President of EMEA, Coursera, opined, “of Coursera’s 92 million learners worldwide, more than five million live in the Middle East, making up 412,000 new enrolments in the past quarter alone. Over 560,000 of these are UAE learners. 2021’s learner trends suggest that the UAE is in a strong position to consolidate its world-leading status for business skills proficiency. 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.”

Other areas of interest identified include negotiation, professional English-language competency, apart from the obvious inclination towards understanding of financial markets.

“While for some, such as full-time students, online learning is a supplement to a broader educational experience, the course enrollment data suggests that for many, particularly busy professionals, it is an indispensable part of their professional development. We expect this trend to accelerate as more organisations discover the value of online learning,” Tattersall added.

Some other top courses aimed at improving business skills taken by UAE learners in 2021 included University of Pennsylvania’s English for Career Development that ranked fourth in 2021. University of Michigan’s Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills was at the eighth most sought after course in 2021 while Yale University’s Financial Markets was the tenth most liked course in the same year.

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.

The course titled, Foundations: Data, Data Everywhere, joined in the UAE top-ten and Stanford University’s Machine Learning was third up from fifth in 2020.

These speak of a growing desire among UAE learners to adapt to a workplace increasingly defined by AI-driven automation.


Tattersall added, “we are also expanding our Arabic-language offerings. Learners can now access over 2,000 courses on Coursera in Arabic. These include world-class courses from leading universities and industry leaders, including Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) by the University of Michigan, English for Career Development by the University of Pennsylvania, and Introduction to Machine Learning by Duke University. As we scale up our efforts to serve the region’s learners, we intend to provide even more translated learning content to improve access and skills proficiency.

We have also transformed the learner experience for our enterprise learners over the past year by implementing right to left functionality. By displaying Arabic onscreen text consistent with the written structure of the language, learners on the platform can easily navigate Coursera, from our homepage, through our search and browse facilities, to enrollment, assessment, grading, notes, transcripts, and emails.”

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