Sunday, July 14, 2024

How we created our Google AI Essentials course

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“We designed AI Essentials with knowledge workers in mind — people who are creating, managing and sharing information,” Anoop says. “That’s a very large part of the economy, over 1 billion people globally. Many of those workers rely on our tools, from Search to Docs. With AI, roles are going to evolve, as is the workplace, and we want to empower as wide a group as possible to work with these shifts — and to thrive.”

To that end, we announced the course in tandem with a $75 million AI Opportunity Fund from, which will support workforce development and educational organizations across the U.S. as they teach more than 1 million Americans AI skills.

AI Essentials’ journey from proposal to reality was a cross-functional effort. Subject matter experts from multiple organizations within Google contributed to writing and designing course materials, from Google DeepMind, Education for Social Impact, Technology & Society, Google Research and beyond.

When it was time to beta test, testers took all five modules and provided feedback, like identifying sections that felt too theoretical.

In response to that feedback, the team decided to add more practical elements to the course, says Grow with Google Program Manager Yasmin Sanders Fathi, who led the development of AI Essentials. They created, for example, a five-point “Checklist for Responsible AI Use.” It includes action items like evaluating content before sharing it. “We thought this was a useful and hands-on approach to teaching a pretty theoretical concept,” Yasmin says.

Partners in the nonprofit, educational, commercial and government sectors also tested the course. “During the development stage, we put together a Content Advisory Group of top partners, and I had calls with them to ask about the challenges they are facing and how they want to incorporate AI in the workplace,” Yasmin says. “Then, when the syllabus was ready, they reviewed it and encouraged their workers and faculty members to beta test.”

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