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Coursera President Daphne Koller: Your old college diploma isn’t good enough for the 21st century economy

“The things you learned in college 15 years ago are no longer the skills that you need for your next job.”

Michael Short for Recode

A college degree, per the old conventional wisdom, was your ticket to a career of better work and higher pay.

That may still be true, but the digital economy demands ever more, Coursera President and co-founder Daphne Koller said on the newest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. Coursera’s pitch to students is that education should last a lifetime and that it’s too big a risk for them to stop learning new skills in their 20s.

"The things you learned in college 15 years ago are no longer the skills that you need for your next job," Koller said. "Millennials today are expected to change jobs something like every three years. The job that they need next is going to have a completely different skill set than the job that they previously had."

Koller stressed, however, that Coursera is not the organization actually teaching those skills. It partners with more than 100 colleges and universities around the world to distribute a selection of their classes. Prospective students can browse videos and discussions from those courses for free and pay a fee for graded assignments and certificates.

Rather than trying to put those schools out of business, she said the goal is to increase their reach and protect them from being disrupted by less savory sources of free information online.

On the new podcast, she also talked about why old-fashioned college lectures are going to go extinct and how new technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality will shape the future of higher ed.

"I think you can learn something from a bot, but I don't think you can be inspired by a bot," Koller said.

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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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