Tech

Technically HR: Coursera launches new AI academy

New tool for L&D pros just dropped.
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Francis Scialabba

3 min read

On Thursday, the online learning platform Coursera launched a new collection of courses designed to help businesses equip both their employees and leaders with the tools and knowledge needed to leverage AI at work for optimum productivity gains.

Coursera’s GenAI Academy is rolling out foundational courses for the everyday generative AI user, as well as an entire executive education track for leaders. The platform is partnering with companies and institutions like DeepLearning.AI, Stanford Online, AWS, Vanderbilt University, and Google Cloud in designing the courses.

“[We] started to hear from our clients and our learners that there was a big need for understanding this [AI] space. Lots of talk; lots of hype, but how do I do it?” said Coursera’s chief learning officer, Trena Minudri. “Our sweet spot is trusted content…from the best university and industry partners, and we realized that content coming from our partners with the Coursera brand…was exactly what our clients needed.”

Minudri said Coursera began working with its partners to create content that addressed considerations for every type of user when using the tech, such as prompt engineering basics.

“This is really building a general understanding for all workers of what are gen AI core principles, the applications, the innovation, how does it impact our day to day jobs,” she said. “It also includes these guided projects so that people can do hands-on practice…in a really safe learning environment, versus doing it for real, when that might feel intimidating.”

Coursera’s GenAI Academy for Executives is designed to help company leaders make strategic and ethical decisions around generative AI. The company plans to roll out more courses and tracks with role-based learning programs in the coming months.

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Zoom out. A United Nations International Labor Organization study of the technology found that generative AI will likely have an augmenting effect on most jobs (rather than replacing them, phew), leaving large swaths of employees in need of familiarity and skills utilizing the tools.

“One of the first risks is people getting left behind,” Minudri said. “The fear is that as other people are adopting gen AI and they’re getting better at it and they’re improving their work and becoming so much more productive by using it, that population is going to get left behind.”

Microsoft’s Work Trend Index report on AI released in May found that 82% of leaders say their employees will need new skills to be prepared for the growth of AI.

This year is set to be a marquee year for generative AI at work. HR pros predict more companies will ask their L&D teams to create ways to develop and upskill employees to best use the rapidly evolving technology at work.

Minudri said learning AI skills isn’t just the job of the L&D department, but an organization-wide opportunity

“The last thing [any] CEO wants to do is send it over to the CLO and say this is a learning initiative, because it won’t work,” she said. “This is an overall company initiative [with] a learning as a piece of it.”

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.