My first encounter with open long distance learning was during my childhood and most of it seemed to be from Bible Correspondence Institutes miles away. Quite often I would read of one in the newspaper or witness a minister of the gospel engage with one. Interestingly enough such learning seemed to have a great impact to the learners, improving their livelihood, both economically and socially.
It was during my stay in the US that I first witnessed Engineering, IT, and business courses that could be done or taken remotely. Having grown up on the African soil, I wasn’t too sure of the quality of the courses. My upbringing had customized my thinking that quality education in such subjects and many others required one to be physically present in an institute of higher learning with big buildings, many staff members and students you could physically see and cross each other as everyone hurried to beat a deadline. Such an institute would have the government’s seal of approval in addition to a bell or a version of it.
So it came with no surprise the many questions I initially received from young men and women hungry and eager to learn but not so sure of the online courses I was advocating for. Having had first hand experience with Udemy I had no doubt to the quality of it. My first encounter with Udemy was at a time I was engaging with Jack Welch Management Institute as soon as Jack Welch started it. In 2012 Udemy had become the MOOC platform for the institute’s Welch Way courseware. Jack Welch’s approval was good enough for me. He was the quintessential standard. Having led GE as its CEO from a market value of $12 billion in 1981 to $410 billion when he retired I had no doubt in his approvals.
P4CDA’s (Programme for Capacity Development in Africa) partnership with Commonwealth of Learning to facilitate fully paid for unlimited Udemy courses to Kenyan’s during the pandemic and I becoming its driver was simply destiny at work. The impact the courses have had in people’s lives both young and old and organisations both private and public is remarkable. Udemy courses adoption by many Fortune 500 companies for professional development of its employees is a testament to its quality and effective system of learning.