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Coursera introduces LevelSets proficiency tests

The online learning platform is rolling out quick skill assessment tests to help learners and their employers better understand how prepared they are for specific roles.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Coursera on Wednesday began introducing LevelSets, a new collection of proficiency tests to help learners and their employers better understand how prepared they are for specific roles. Coursera is starting off by launching around 20 LevelSets for high-demand skills, including data analysis, cloud computing, machine learning, Python and SQL.

"Digital transformation is creating a big sense of urgency at companies and universities to develop high-demand technical skills," Leah Belsky, Coursera's chief enterprise officer, said to ZDNet. "Now in the context of the Great Resignation, it's even more important companies are able to assess the technical skills proficiency and to identify skill gaps within their workforces."

LevelSets start with a skills assessment test that takes just about 15 minutes. Based on the results, it offers the learner customized content recommendations. It allows learners to skip content they've already mastered, and it leaves out any content too advanced. 

LevelSets were developed, Belsky said, to help organizations get a better sense of the skills that existed within their workforces and drive more accurate content recommendations. An unexpected benefit of the new tool is that it serves as a source of motivation, she said.

In a beta run with customers including Fidelity, Ikea and Pfizer, Coursera found that learners were 3x more likely to enroll in a recommended course within 24 hours after taking a LevelSet. Additionally, course completion rates improved 66%.

Meanwhile, employers can use the Coursera dashboard to review the overall skills distribution in their workforce based on LevelSet results. "It's a way for companies to have an objective assessment of employee skill levels, so they can drive internal mobility and upskill teams," Belsky said. 

LevelSets builds on the SkillSets Coursera introduced earlier this year -- job-based learning programs that help people develop skills for specific roles. 

Both LevelSets and SkillSets are targeted at Coursera's business customers within its enterprise segment. The enterprise segment serves three markets: businesses, educational institutions and governments.  

The past quarter has been a rocky one for online education companies, as individuals reconsider the value of their educational investments. However, Coursera's enterprise segment was a bright spot in its third quarter. 

Coursera's third-quarter results showed that the company narrowly beat market expectations with 33% year-over-year revenue growth. Enterprise revenue was up 75%. The company increased the total number of paid enterprise customers to 711, a 124% bump year-over-year.

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