The first mobile professional skills Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform is to deliver free access to internationally-recognised training for millions of job-seekers.
Mobile courses from Qualt are based on courses developed by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), Google, the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) and other professional bodies.
The new platform aims to open up access to qualifications for school-leavers, university graduates, young professionals and career changers. Uniquely, each course is fully contained within a free downloadable app allowing users to learn anywhere on their Android or iOS phone.
Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock MP said: "As global demand for highly skilled workers grows, we need to harness the latest technology to enable people to develop the professional skills they need. Fresh approaches to education and training are vital and technology in particular has a key role to play. This free MOOC offered by Qualt embraces the opportunities offered by technology in order to bring education and training to those otherwise excluded.
”Through using mobile technology, companies like Qualt are enabling anyone with a smart phone to gain a free introduction to a professional career."
A series of courses are lined up, covering the core business disciplines of accounting, digital marketing and human resources with more to follow. The first, ‘Intro to Accounting’, provides a grounding in business and finance and is based on the same syllabus as the AAT Access course, the first level of study for Accounting Technicians. The apps use 'm-learning' modules to deliver teaching, alongside practical tests that measure the user’s understanding and ability to undertake actual day-to-day professional tasks.
Michael Curry, the founder of Qualt, has a background in online learning and technology-led start-ups, and has teamed up with mobile development expertise from the finance and gaming industries.
"At a time when people are struggling to get their foot in the door, professional study is an important way of demonstrating commitment. Qualt provides entry level courses as mobile apps, which can lead directly into more formal qualifications and a professional career.
"The Qualt approach fits into our attachment to mobile devices for knowledge, interaction and access to our online communities - and the need for flexibility. Instead of flat content delivery, the app uses 'leader boards' that allow users to track their performance and skills against their peers, work together, share experiences and motivate each other," he said.