“Skilling is all about learning the fundamentals correctly”- Mr. Jeffery S. Davidson, Executive Director, Saylor Academy

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Have you learned any new skills recently? Do you have a strong basic foundation of learning? When the entire world is going through a major paradigm shift in digital teaching and learning approach, are you willing to add some arsenal to your learning with various courses which will cost you nothing? 

To help aspiring learners acquire new skills, Saylor Academy, a non-profit organization who believes in building a strong foundation, has been offering free and open online courses to all who want to learn. They offer nearly 100 full-length courses ranging from foundational subjects like Mathematics and Critical Thinking to important 21st Century Skills, including Communication, Decision-Making, Leadership and Software Engineering. 

Saylor Academy has partnered with NSDC to provide skill seekers with various resources. To know more about the partnership, the courses that are being offered at Saylor Academy and other aspects of online skilling, Team NSN interacted with Mr. Jeffery S. Davidson, Executive Director, Saylor Academy.

In this Skill Story, Mr. Davidson talks about the importance of strong basic fundamental learning along with a continuous learning process. He also talks about Saylor Academy’s partnership with NSDC. Read on to know more.

Q: Tell us more about Saylor Academy and the courses that are offered

A: Saylor Academy is a nonprofit initiative headquartered in the United States working since 2008 to offer free and open online courses to all who want to learn. As a non-profit organization, we offer all of our courses and our certificates for free.  Our courses are created and curated by credentialed professors from around the world. So, we offer courses that will help people strengthen critical foundational skills. 

SkillingQ: Saylor Academy had partnered NSDC to support the Skill India mission. How is the response to the courses so far?

A: Our partnership with NSDC aims to provide a wide range of courses to skill seekers. Our relationship with NSDC goes back to 2019 when we first interacted with Dr. Manish Kumar, CEO, NSDC when he was attending one of our conferences in America on “Closing the Global Skills Gap”. The partnership brings us visibility across India. We have thousands of visitors from India every day to our site. We are also in discussion with various universities who are willing to come on board and are willing to share our courses with their students as supplemental Skill Development. We have signed four such MOU agreements including Sage University, GB Pant University, IFCAI University and Baba Institute of Technology and Sciences and have several more pending.

People are in need of more skills, be they 18 years old or 55 years old, the importance of skilling is equal for everyone. It is very important to remember that skill development is now part of required lifelong learning. Everyone has to keep up-skilling themselves to stay current in a fast moving world and you need a strong foundation for that. Saylor Academy provides that foundation.

Students from India explore multiple types of courses on our website like Computer Science courses, Business courses, and English Language courses and so on. These courses are available on eSkillIndia portal.

Q: How do you perceive the ‘new normal’ in skill development and the way forward ?

A: The new normal was coming even before the pandemic. There is tremendous capacity for people to learn many skills in all areas. However, by the year 2025, it will be difficult for universities or academies to have enough resources to accommodate the millions across India and the world in need. Here we are hopeful that more online opportunities can co-exist with traditional universities so that more and more people have access to skill development and fundamental learning. Online delivery learning is a much easier way to reach more people to give them an opportunity to tap into their potential. 

Of course, there are issues that are being faced by many countries when it comes to complete digitalization of learning. The lack of proper internet connection and advanced devices, we know many people are facing issues while leveraging the benefits of online skilling. These issues can only be addressed by combined effort. We appreciate the work that India has been doing to address the issues that are being faced. With many initiatives backed by groups like the NSDC, India is trying its best to reach more people. 

Q: Could you share a few advantages of enrolling in the online courses from Saylor Academy?

A: Our courses are open to all. Whether you are looking for career advancement, degree completion, or professional development, we have a course dedicated to your needs. Along with these free courses, people can earn modern, digital certificates of completion, earn tuition-free college credit through our network of partner schools, or even start a low-cost, convenient degree program. 

In addition, to be free, because our courses are self-paced learners can upskill on their own schedule at times best suited for them. And, because we are online they can do so from their homes, work or wherever they have an internet connection. The skills wave is in full motion and we are pleased to be part of it through our partnership with NSDC and stand ready to welcome even more learners from all across India.

Also read: 3 Ways to overcome challenges in delivering technical training through online platforms https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/3-ways-to-overcome-challenges-in-delivering-technical-training/

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