Learning Digital Skills online with Google Activate

December 11, 2014

Posted by Michel Benard, University Relations Manager and Cova Soto, Product Marketing Manager, Business Marketing Madrid

According to Eurostat data, over 5 million people under age 25 are currently out of work in Europe, in contrast to an increasing demand for people with digital skills such as Digital Marketing, Big Data, Ecommerce, Mobile App Development and Cloud Computing. In particular, Spanish employers are finding it difficult to find individuals with the right skills, due to the lack of the digital education available.

In an effort to make contributions towards solving Spain’s unemployment in this sector, Google Spain, the Spanish Ministry of Industry through their business school EOI, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) are collaborating to build Google Activate, a series of massive open online courses (MOOCs) dedicated to teach digital skills to the young unemployed people in Spain. This is an example of how online education can be scaled to address educational and economic issues.

The inspiration for Google Activate began with the summer 2012 launch of Course Builder, an experimental platform developed on Google technologies designed to provide the capability for anyone to create an online environment that can be used for a wide variety of education-related activities. In September of that same year, Course Builder was made available in Europe, as part of the Google Faculty Summit in London.

Among the early adopters of Course Builder in Europe was a partnership that included the University of Alicante, who in October 2012 launched Unimooc Aemprende, a MOOC for entrepreneurs. This is just one example of the use of Course Builder to build a MOOC designed to solve a broad problem, in this case the acquisition of skills for launching a small business. More than 30,000 people have participated in Unimooc since its launch.

As of today, more than 148,000 people have registered for Activate with 13% of participants earning a certificate, which is obtained after 13 exams certified by either the EOI, Universidad Complutense de Madrid or or the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau). Such certificates are being used by the awardees in their LinkedIn profile to position themselves for a job in the digital economy, where many jobs are being created. More than 19,000 students are already certified in one of the 5 digital areas.

Google Activate has plans to increase the number of students with digital skills reaching 160,000 with plans to expand further to other countries in the world.