David Goldberg wants to make America more competitive by boosting the skill levels of the 180 million American workers–and doing it fast.
Goldberg was a academic molecular biologist, with degrees from Yale and Caltech, and post-graduate work from Harvard and Cambridge. David left biology to start a geophysics company and, after selling this, returned to academia as a postdoc in artificial intelligence at CU Boulder. He’s been a founder of more than a dozen companies but for the last 8 years David, his wife and their children, have devoted most of their time to building an adaptive learning system, Core Skills Mastery.
CSM delivers, according to Goldberg, literacy, problem solving and work skills at levels better than the skills and dispositions of most college graduates.
The system measures persistence, efficacy, and self management and provide continuous feedback to learners. It takes 10 to 60 hours to complete depending on initial skills.
The program is free but they recently began charging $45 for a completion certificate which claims to demonstrate, “Not only what you know, but also your ability to learn, your performance traits (persistence, self-reliance, focus, conscientiousness) and your problem-solving skills.” CSM uses biometric security measures rather than proctored assessments.
Goldberg says the course is appropriate for individuals that have not completed a high school or college–anyone interested in a better job.
A second cohort of 100 students in Rwanda just completed CSM demonstrating its efficacy with limited English speaking populations.
If learning is supported by local facilitators, CSM offers a teacher toolkit and free professional development. The facilitators do not provide instruction but they do create a positive learning environment. Facilitators receive progress reports that allow them to provide positive feedback to learners.
Since the launch in late 2013, 4,000 learners, including high school students and adults learners in college and in the workforce, have taken the CSM course.
The decision to make the program free is a sign of Goldberg’s audacious vision to skill up the workforce.