‘This is beyond my imagination’, told Engr. Noel Ajoc, DOST-Coursera grant Administrator, last Thursday on the overwhelming performance of the 75,000 Coursera scholarship grantees in the country.

Since #DOSTCourseragrant started in April 2020, Filipino online learners pursued lessons and blew up the number of completed courses from 13,729 in September 2020 to 134,489 as of writing. During the Top-performer Grantees Awarding Ceremony on January 20, 2021, Engr. Noel announced via Facebook Live that the enrolled courses passed 2 million with more than 1 million learning hours spent on the platform.

[Watch the full recorded live video here: https://www.facebook.com/DOST.Caraga/videos/201654645006545 ]

Grantees from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao were able to enjoy free online courses with certificates from different universities and organizations such as Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, Google, and IBM. More than half of the grantees are employees followed by students, unemployed learners, and part-time workers.

CREAM OF THE CROP. Grantees with over 200 certificates received from the DOST-Coursera Learning Program. [From top left to right] – Mr. James Colongan, Jr., Ms. Ivy C. Leonardo, Mr. Mark Anthony S. Elcarte, Down – Ms. Alexandra Mari Leal, Mr. Klarenz Kristoffer M. Quiñones, Mr. Bernard A. Rosario.

Who’s the best performer?

Top-performing DOST-Coursera grantees received recognition and certificate for completing 25 to more than 200 courses under the program. Greetings and congratulations flooded the live feed when names of awardees were flashed along with the number of courses completed.

Mr. James Colongan, Jr., an electrical engineering graduate, data scientist, and entrepreneur ranked first with 923 courses and 165 specializations completed under the program. He took courses and specializations in Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Machine Learning, Python Data Products, Advanced Data Science, and more to help him develop his startup in General Santos City.

DOST-Caraga Regional Director Dominga Mallonga applauded the awardees on her message. ‘Although we face challenges with internet connectivity, you still manage to complete several courses in a short period of time’, said RD Mallonga.

SKILLS MASTERY. The graph on grantee’s mastery of skills over time. Graph from DOST-Coursera Database ℅ Engr. Noel Ajoc.

Grantees’ online learning profile

In the first Coursera Online Orientation on May 2020, Engr. Ajoc encouraged the applicants to make quarantine more productive by upgrading skills through taking online courses. After eight months, as he cited insights into the scholars’ interests, he found out that ‘Filipinos are passionate to learn if given a chance’.

Almost half of the grantees completed business-related courses. Scholars were also keen on language learning, health, information technology, computer science, and data science. As of January 2021, 25,708 enrolled to improve their ‘Business Communication Skills’ in several universities and companies around the world.

INDUSTRY BENCHMARK. Graph on learners test scores and industry average from June 2020 to January 2021. Graph from DOST-Coursera Database ℅ Engr. Noel Ajoc

Given the industry benchmark, data shows a dramatic increase in learners’ performance from June 2020 to January 2021 based on test scores. From 60%, scholars hit an average score of 100% reaching the industry average based on Coursera’s benchmark.

TOP 5 IN LEARNER GROWTH. Graph of Top 5 countries in terms of learner growth. Courtesy of Coursera Impact Report 2020

In fact, the Philippines ranked 5th in the Coursera’s Index in Learner Growth with a 107% increase from September 2019 to September 2020 based on the Coursera Impact Report last year. Engr. Ajoc pointed out that online learning can be used to leapfrog our skills in the 4th Industrial revolution.

Inspire, upskill

Dr. Diana Ignacio, DOST Assistant Secretary for Human Resources Management, Management Services, and Special Concerns, reminded the scholars that the platform is not only for collecting certificates. ‘You savor the lessons and put it into practice’, she said in her message during the awarding ceremony.

Along with the success of the learning program, Engr. Noel advised other agencies and institutions to venture into online learning platforms to train employees. ‘I think a legislation on using virtual learning platforms maybe passed to help us upskill more Filipinos’, he added.

Before the free certificates of the program ends on February 15, DOST-Caraga hopes to see more Filipinos inspired to learn new things online and offline.

Written by: Dionard Mendova

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