Technology has changed the way we learn and teach. Any type of class, prior to the digital era was restricted to brick and mortar, professional lectures, and in-person discussions. Today, there are various ways of delivering information, learning and even engaging with other students. Classes no longer have to be designed in the same manner, and students have a wide range of learning platforms to choose from online. Today, teachers and students have a digital toolbox which has changed the way we deliver and process information around the globe.
According to Online College Plan, over the past decade, online education has become a critical resource for students who are returning to school and those who are just beginning their college education. Today, close to 30% of Americans currently in school take at least some distance education classes, and close to 15% of students take online courses to obtain their degree.
Also, adult learners and corporations are using online learning tools for professional development, personal learning growth, and further certification and certifications. Many of these learning platforms provide free or low cost learning services. For example, the online learning platform Khan Academy has been translated into dozens of languages, and every year 100 million people sign on to learn, acquire test prep tools, and find answers to various problems and questions.
Today, we’re beginning to see online education as a critical resource in almost every home for personal growth, within the academic field, through nonprofit organizations and the corporate world.
Given these stats, there is still a lack of content and training in critical areas that can help learners take what they’ve cultivated, and apply those skills to the real world.
To accommodate the rapid changes we’re seeing within in the workforce, it is imperative that every person who is either entering the workforce, runs a business, or has been working for decades takes time to become a life-long learner.
Whether someone wants to work for a company, make a career change, or become an entrepreneur, learning and growth must always be at the forefront.
At the end of 2018, Facebook announced their new platform-Learn With Facebook, which is a career development site that focuses on learning the hard and soft skills people need to advance in today’s digital workforce.
I had the chance to talk with Fatima Saliu, who is the Head of Social Impact Marketing at Facebook. In this interview which has been edited and condensed, we talk about the new platform, the courses, partnerships, and the goal of helping a vast amount of people by 2020.
Robyn Shulman: Can you give me a high-level overview of Learn with Facebook?
Fatima Saliu: Learn with Facebook is a career development site, which provides an introductory understanding of the skills that people need to get ahead in the evolving digital workforce, and suggests jobs that are relevant to those skills.
Shulman: What does the program offer right now?
Saliu: The program offers a range of free online courses in digital marketing hard skills and job preparation and career-focused soft skills.
Shulman: Who can benefit from the program?
Saliu: Learn with Facebook is for anyone looking for an introductory set of skills to help them find a new job, make a career change, return to the workforce or improve in their current role.
The courses teach skills that are applicable to a range of jobs in the digital economy including digital marketing, customer service, and data analyst roles, among others.
Shulman: What was the motivation behind creating the free education and training resource?
Saliu: In June of 2018, Facebook made a pledge to train 1 million people and small businesses in the US in digital skills by 2020.
We want to give individuals and companies the tools they need to flourish in an increasingly digital economy. One of the ways we are fulfilling this training pledge is through online initiatives, which includes Learn with Facebook.
Shulman: When and where did you first launch the program, and how many users are taking advantage of the tools?
Saliu: Learn with Facebook launched in the US in November 2018 after launching in India (November 2017), France (May 2018) and Germany(May 2018). We’re seeing great results so far in these four global markets.
Shulman: What are the types of classes you offer right now, and what do you plan on delivering or possibly adding in the future?
Saliu: We launched Learn with Facebook in the US with 13 courses that include “The Power of Coding,” “Ace Your Interview,” “Maximize Your Marketing with Analytics,” and Manage Your Content Marketing.”
Shulman: What do these classes highlight?
Saliu: The courses feature case studies, insider tips and resources from industry experts – and are completely free to access. We created these first lessons based on the knowledge of our own internal experts and industry experts that helped us prepare for launch.
We will continue to invest in Learn with Facebook and have plans to update the site with new lessons and product experiences based on feedback from our community of learners.
Shulman: How many online classes do you offer at the moment in the US?
Saliu: 13 courses.
Shulman: Who do you think can benefit the most from Learn with Facebook?
Saliu: Learn with Facebook is for anyone looking for an introductory set of skills to help them find a new job, make a career change, return to the workforce or improve in their current role. The courses teach skills that benefit people looking for a range of jobs in the digital economy including digital marketing, customer service, and data analyst roles, among others.
Shulman: Any exciting developments you’d like to share as Learn with Facebook takes off?
Saliu: One exciting element of our US launch is our partnership with the Goodwill Community Foundation:
Facebook and the Goodwill Community Foundation are partnering to scale Learn with Facebook’s training across the US. We’ll work closely to curate training resources for individuals of all backgrounds and education levels.
Shulman: What role does Goodwill play in Learn with Facebook?
Saliu: Specifically, Goodwill will serve as a thought partner in the delivery and content development for the new Learn with Facebook platform, and share Learn with Facebook within the Goodwill network. In addition, Learn with Facebook will connect users with the extensive GCF Global online resources.
Through this partnership, the goal is that Goodwill Community Foundation and Facebook will work together to help individuals of all backgrounds and education levels break into the digital economy.
Shulman: You have a significant goal to train 1 million people and small business owners across the US by 2020. How are you scaling such a massive initiative into practice?
Saliu: At Facebook, we are committed to helping reverse the skills gap in America by giving individuals and companies the tools they need to flourish in an increasingly digital economy.
To turn our 1 million trained pledge into a reality, we’re working alongside partners to scale both in-person and online digital skills training.
Shulman: Where can we find more information about these offerings?
Saliu: You can find details on different programs here:
- Expanding in-person training programs: Community Boost, a free event that offers digital skills training to small businesses and job seekers, visited 50 US cities over the course of 2018. We plan to continue hosting these in-person trainings in 2019.
- Creating more local partnerships: To date, Facebook has partnered with 100 local organizations in the U.S to provide continued training for small businesses and job seekers. Together with Pathstream, we’re working with 20 community colleges to create digital marketing certificate programs to prepare graduates for careers in the digital world.
- Building national partnerships: In August of 2018, we announced a new partnership with the National Urban League to offer small businesses trainings at 13 of the League’s largest entrepreneurship hubs. We’re excited to kick off this work with the National Urban League shortly.
- Doubling down on eLearning resources including Facebook Blueprint & Learn with Facebook: We believe in providing educational resources digitally, as well as in-person, to business owners and individuals.
- Blueprint: We are constantly expanding Blueprint, a free eLearning program designed to train small businesses in digital advertising.
Shulman: Can you share an example of a learning pod that is currently running?
Saliu: Absolutely! I’d be happy to tell you more about our work with community colleges including Central New Mexico Community College.
As mentioned above, we are establishing 20 partnerships with community colleges across the US as part of Facebook’s larger training pledge. The first of the 20 colleges we created a partnership with was Central New Mexico Community College (CNM).
We’re developing a new Digital Marketing Certificate program in partnership with the college, which is the largest higher education institution in the state for undergraduate enrollment. The program offers participants the chance to gain knowledge and skills that will prepare them to succeed as professionals in digital marketing and social media strategy.
Shulman: Are Facebook employees teaching the classes or can anyone teach them?
Saliu: For our community college partnerships specifically, professors at those schools teach the courses.
Shulman: What about the Learn with Facebook lessons?
Saliu: For Learn with Facebook, lessons are created by Facebook execs including Amy Hayes our VP, Global Learning & Development, as well as industry experts including Igee Okafaor who is a content-creation wiz and has built his entire career online.
Shulman: Finally, where can we follow updates about the program offerings?
Saliu: You can follow all of our updates tied to Learn with Facebook here. For larger Facebook updates, please check our Newsroom here.
Honored to be named LinkedIn’s #1 Top Voice in Education, 2018. Certified K-9 and ESL teacher, Executive Editor, Influencer Inc and currently run all thought-leadership pieces for 51Talk, China.