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Read the latest news and blogs from The Data Lab and Scotland’s data science community.

We created our first MOOC and people liked it

Our Executive Education Advisor Craig Paterson talks about our new free online learning course, Driving Value from Data. This is the perfect opportunity to try this course while we’re all staying at home! 

Sign up now for the current course run.

(For some helpful advice from Craig about designing your own online learning course, check out his Guide to Creating a Successful Online Learning Course.)

For over 3 years we have been running face-to-face workshops on the value of data. Everyone we have worked with has said they enjoyed the sessions as they gave them clarification on:

  1. what they could do – the art of the possible;
  2. what they should do – identifying the right first project;
  3. how to do it – based upon advice from seasoned.


We ran an all-day executive education workshop with senior stakeholders and influencers so that they could see for themselves the opportunity that data provides to drive greater business value. They left feeling enthused, informed, engaged and actively supporting our work to drive business value from data and develop a data science capability in Heineken.

– Ged Wells, Head of Data Science, Heineken

Our challenge was “how can we scale this capability to reach more people across the globe?”. We decided that a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) was the best way to achieve that goal. So in January 2020, the 1st cohort of “Driving Value From Data” on FutureLearn was created, and they really seemed to enjoy themselves.

Maybe the course will be useful for you too?


We had people from across all sectors

Data opportunities are not industry or sector specific, so we hoped that we would get a broad range of participants. And we did.

It was great to see so many people taking the time to introduce themselves and openly share their experiences. As the 1st cohort of the MOOC they demonstrated a broad range of skills, and scars, for everyone to learn from. The learners certainly weren’t shy about commenting on posts and connecting with each other when they could offer insight and support.



This course has been a real eye opener

– Anonymous

By doing our MOOC you don’t just learn from The Data Lab and the practitioner we interview, you have access to the power of your learner-network which will increase your confidence in your ability to overcome challenges and use data to add value.


These people had many different roles, some of which were surprising

Our learners also had a wide range of roles and responsibilities. The majority were on the hook for leading the data change within an organisation, but we also had freshly qualified students, Human Resources specialists, consultants and start-ups, to name but a few.


An excellent course, not what I expected but certainly got me alert and thinking differently, already put this into practice daily.

– Zebunisa Ahmed, Virgin Money


We also had a surprisingly large number of experienced data professionals. What they were interested in was how the data skills they had could be translated into business results i.e., to see what the data leaders’ needs were and how they could help. They were also looking for ways to express data value in business language. All of which we cover in the course.


The breadth of our content and the practical tools really resonated

We set out to create a course that gave practical advice. Two thing that went down well with learners were:

  1. we gave them a workbook to capture their challenges and encourage discussion so that our key messages were explained in terms that resonated with their specific opportunities.
  1. We included the voice of experience through interviews with recognised data professionals who shared their insider knowledge and tips for success. This even included what they would do if they were to start again.


…I have finished the course. It was excellent and I particularly liked the use of the workbook. The interviewees were an impressive bunch

– David Ross, Managing Partner at Dram Communications


Only last week, we had a follow-up call with an individual who had completed the course. They presented their organisation’s opportunity and approach using templates from the workbook. It was a beautiful moment.


So we are running it for a second time

As a result of the enthusiastic reaction we received, we are running the course again. Maybe now is the time for you to think about signing up and learning to:

  1. Understand how organisations use data to drive value;
  2. Identify opportunities within your own organisation;
  3. and identify what to do to increase your data maturity in line with your ambitions;
  4. Summarise the main challenges organisations face and how to overcome them.


Awesome course –
VERY helpful – really well designed…

– Ian Myles, Area51 Asia


If you are interested, sign up now for our Driving Value from Data course on FutureLearn. Enjoy!

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