What Are the Chances Online Education Will Help You Successfully Change Careers? HSE Researchers Measure the Effectiveness of Yandex.Practicum
Experts from the Institute of Education of HSE University examined the effectiveness of five courses of one of the largest Russian online education services, Yandex.Practicum. The study showed that 71.1% of graduates found employment, and more than half of them became employed within two months after graduation.
The study looked at graduates who gained employment in the IT sector: data analysts, web developers, front-end developers, testers, and data science specialists. The researchers focused on the correlation between respondents’ academic plans and their actual achievement.
The study took an unorthodox approach, says Evgeniy Terentev, Director of the HSE Centre of Sociology of Higher Education and head of the study.
Usually, studies that assess educational quality are limited to measuring students’ acquired skills and competencies. Adults, however, study with different motivations, and this has to be taken into account.
It turns out that the majority of Yandex.Practicum graduates achieve their goals. Two thirds of the respondents started their studies in order to change careers. 71.1% found a job in a new area of specialization, and a third of them started new jobs will still completing their coursework. 61.7% saw an increase in their wages.
The results of the study contradict the stereotypes that surround adult education—particularly the stereotype that it is impossible to find a job in IT if you don’t have an educational background in tech or are older. According to the data obtained, 78% of graduates without a technical education found employment, as well as 70% of those who had no experience in IT and 61% of those over 40.
Lifelong learning is gaining popularity all over the world, but it has yet to catch on in Russia. According to HSE data, continuous professional development programmes in Russia cover about 12% of the working-age population. Distrust is partially to blame for this. People are poorly informed about the real effects of education in adulthood. The topic remains uncharted territory also because private companies are not always open to independent expertise. Yandex.Practicum provided the data to the HSE Institute of Education without any conditions or obligations, and a team of researchers developed a methodology for monitoring graduates and agreed to make it open access. Now every online education company can join regular monitoring sessions that HSE specialists will conduct twice a year.
‘We have made our data openly accessible: it includes 1,000 employed graduates within two years, and 69.3% of students who complete the paid programmes of the Practicum. For the professional online education market, this disclosure of results can become the starting point for joint work on the transparency of the online education market,’ said Ilya Zalessky, Head of Educational Services at Yandex.
The respondents included graduates who completed their studies on Practicum from January 1 to June 30, 2020, which makes it possible to fully assess their post-graduation employment. HSE researchers categorized the respondents in accordance with their learning objectives—i.e., whether they intended to change careers of not. The data was collected from March 5 to March 31, 2021 and included three stages: a mass email with an invitation to participate in the survey, telephone calls, and SMS messages.
Oleg Leshukov, Head, Laboratory for University Development, HSE University
Research on the effectiveness of learning formats is essential for evidence-based education policy. The idea of micro-degrees is developing in the world. They allow students to build their own academic profile out of different faculties and universities. Online career programmes can be integrated into Master's and Bachelor's programmes in order to bring university programmes closer to specific professions.