The rankings are based on feedback from 560,000 registered learners from the UAE. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: While business courses remain eternally popular, a COVID-19 related course was the top choice for UAE-based learners last year, according to a survey by the online learning platform Coursera.

The pandemic-related course – named ‘COVID-19 Contact Tracing’ – was provided by Johns Hopkins University, and reached its No. 1 ranking among UAE’s online learners after being No. 3 in 2020. In second and third places were tech skills enhancement courses, with Google’s course on data and Stanford University’s one on ‘machine learning’ proving quite popular. (The Google data programme forms part of its Data Analytics Professional Certificate.)

The rankings are based on feedback from 560,000 registered learners from the UAE. Business courses, however, still make up the majority of the choices. “2021’s learner trends suggest that the UAE is in a strong position to consolidate its world-leading status for business skills proficiency,” said Anthony Tattersall, Vice-President of EMEA, Coursera. “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.”

Popular courses aimed at improving business skills taken by UAE learners in 2021 included: University of Pennsylvania’s English for Career Development (4th in 2021 and 2020); University of Michigan’s Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills (8th in 2021, 6th in 2020), and Yale University’s Financial Markets (10th in 2021, 7th in 2020).

Interestingly, among last year’s top course picks, there was a prominent place for the ‘science of well-being’ offered by Yale. Clearly, UAE’s learners were covering all bases in the new skills they were picking up.

92m learners
The online learning platform Coursera was launched by two Stanford computer science professors, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. It had 92 million registered learners as of end September last