- Online learning platform Udemy will add more than 700 of its courses to Talent Exchange, developed by vendor Eightfold.ai, in an effort to improve access to training resources for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the companies said in a June 11 statement.
- Eightfold.ai's "deep learning AI" will guide Talent Exchange users to Udemy courses that best support their job goals, the company said. The Udemy courses are free to those who sign up for Talent Exchange.
- The topics covered in the courses range from career skills like working effectively while remote, leadership and time management to more technical courses in areas like HTML5 and CSS3 fundamentals.
Though the latest economic figures indicate the U.S. job market may be beginning to recover from the pandemic, many workers are still concerned about their place in the post-pandemic world. More than a quarter of respondents to a Prudential Financial survey last month said they worry they lack skills that will be in-demand once the country's economy improves, and half said they had increased their use of online learning programs during the pandemic.
"Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the workforce was already facing a massive need for reskilling, and with tens of millions unemployed in the United States in just the last two months, we are facing the largest job upheaval in modern history," Ashutosh Garg, co-founder and CEO of Eightfold.ai, said in the statement. "The massive impact on jobs and the economy means we have people who need new jobs, and in many cases new skills, to get the jobs they want most."
Learning vendors were quick to respond to the increased demand. Udemy previously said in April that it saw large jumps in usage rates for training modules focused on soft skills and technical training, including its growth mindset course and mastery class. Coursera, after similarly reporting increased usage on its platform, moved to offer enterprise customers and their employees free access to some courses.
Overall, the pandemic has heightened the profile of learning and development generally, according to a LinkedIn Learning report earlier this month. The company found in a survey that 64% of L&D professionals believed training was more of a priority for employers at present than before the pandemic. And 68% of respondents said the level of urgency around launching training programs had risen significantly.
Some observers point to remote work as a boon to online learning rather than a hindrance. In April, LinkedIn Learning said its users consumed more than 7.7. million hours of courses, which was double the amount for March and triple the amount consumed in February. Executives at PwC touted the benefits of having an online learning platform in place ahead of the pandemic in previous interviews with HR Dive, saying that digital upskilling has allowed the company to transition to the new business climate more easily.