The ‘Age of Data’ continues to thrive, with data being produced from all industries at a phenomenal rate that introduces numerous challenges regarding the collection, storage and analysis of this data. To address this problem, the European Data Science Academy (EDSA) has established a virtuous learning production cycle for Data Science, and has:
- Analysed the sector specific skillsets for data analysts across Europe’s main industrial sectors;
- Developed modular and adaptable curricula to meet these Data Science needs; and
- Delivered training supported by multiplatform and multilingual learning resources based on these curricula.
Throughout the project, the curricula and learning resources have been guided and evaluated by experts in both Data Science and pedagogy to ensure they meet the needs of the Data Science community. The sections below outline some of the activities that have been carried out to help meet these goals.
EDSA has been monitoring trends across the EU to assess the demands for particular Data Science skills and expertise. We have leveraged a vast network of European data providers, consumers and intermediaries to “track the pulse” of the European data landscape. This has allowed us to align our criteria with the latest demands of the community.
Using interviews with Data Science practitioners, an industry advisory board representing a mix of sectors and automated tools for extracting data about job posts and news articles, we have built an interactive dashboard to present the current state of the European Data Science landscape, with the data feeding into our curricula development.
EDSA has developed a core Data Science curriculum based on topics extracted from the demand analysis. We have produced training materials to cover these topics, utilising existing resources available in the public domain and the internal expertise of the EDSA consortium. All learning resources produced by the project adhere to the EDSA values and have been made available via the EDSA courses portal. The curricula design has arranged these resources into pathways that can be customised to suit the different needs of individuals, and the requirements of self-study and tutor-led training formats.
Training Delivery and Learning Analytics
Key parts of our curricula have been delivered through eBooks, MOOCs, webinars, video lectures and face-to-face training. We have primarily used VideoLectures.NET and FutureLearn – the largest European MOOC platform, founded by The Open University – to maximise outreach and uptake of our materials. Engagement with learners and Big Data stakeholders has been key to our training, and therefore monitoring and analysis tools have been utilised to assess learner progress – rather than by simply listening to academics or technology evangelists.