MIT & Esme Learning Launches Courses in AI-Based Data Strategy
MIT & Esme Learning Launches Courses in AI-Based Data Strategy
The executive education courses will upskill professionals in smart transportation technologies and data-driven decision making

The executive education courses will upskill professionals in smart transportation technologies and data-driven decision making

Esme Learning and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have expanded their collaboration in online executive education with two new six-week courses: Data Strategy: Leverage AI for Business and Smart Mobility: The Future of Transportation Tech & Sustainable Cities.

Successful course participants for both courses will receive a certificate issued by the MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P).

“The next 50 years will bring about profound change in many fields, and working professionals will need to reskill and upskill to prepare for jobs of the future,” said Beth Porter, co-founder and managing director at Esme Learning. “Esme Learning and MIT identified two key industries – mobility and data – as the next to face rapid growth. Our collaboration ensures that working professionals in these industries can easily upskill with help from industry-leading guest speakers in an immersive learning environment.”

“Esme Learning’s courses are grounded in research and applied AI, borrowing principles from cognition, social science, and experiential learning in order to provide the very best in professional development,” said faculty director for several MIT and Esme Learning courses, Professor Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland. “MIT works with Esme Learning in order to advance education technology innovation with experiences that have the ability to transform how people learn together online.”

The university and the AI-powered digital learning platform launched their first courses together, AI Leadership and Leading Health Tech Innovation, in June.


AI adoption has dramatically increased during the pandemic. In a 2021 KPMG survey of US business executives, 85 percent want their organization to accelerate AI adoption, and 82 percent agreed that AI has been helpful to their organization during the pandemic.

AI has been especially valuable in conjunction with data: an MIT Technology Review Insights report found that the 13 percent of surveyed organizations that have a successful data strategy also cited AI as a core technology that helped them democratize their data and deliver measurable results across the enterprise.

The Data Strategy course arms change-makers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists with a toolkit to build an AI and data practice with the hard skills to accelerate business performance. While many organizations believe they need to integrate AI to automate data and minimize laborious processes, they fail to appreciate the strategic opportunity it presents.

Unlike other courses that solely focus on AI modeling, this course will teach learners the strategy to identify the organizational data they should be collecting, and how to access it. Learners will apply AI and data best practices to existing business frameworks, including integrating AI into their own organization.

The course instructor is Professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland, a pioneering AI researcher that Forbes named “one of the seven most powerful data scientists in the world.” Pentland also instructs AI Leadership from MIT. Hundreds of companies have harnessed his ideas and research to support their own organizational productivity.


Recent years have seen a groundswell of interest in the future of smart mobility beyond a traditional transportation mold: while many may still view the industry strictly involving roads and cars, urban mobility is introducing vast new opportunities related to commerce and the future of work. In fact, the global shared mobility market will reach an expected $238 billion by 2026, which is a more than 200 percent increase from an estimated $99 billion in 2019.

The mobility sector is evolving quickly and creating myriad new business opportunities. Anyone who hopes to participate in emerging mobility economies must shift their thinking away from traditional transportation models. To prepare business leaders with foundations in design, policy and technology, the Smart Mobility course takes a case-based approach each week focused on a singular “big idea.” Instructors will guide learners – consultants, entrepreneurs, regulators, and anyone interested in going beyond industry basics – to understand the impact of AI on the private and public mobility sectors, societal forces affecting smart cities, and how to explore and identify new mobility opportunities.

The course’s faculty directors include Professor Jinhua Zhao, who directs the JTL Urban Mobility Lab and Transit Lab at MIT. Prof. Zhao leads long-term research collaborations with major transportation authorities and operators worldwide, including London, Chicago, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Annie Hudson, urban mobility researcher at the Urban Mobility Lab, joins Prof. Zhao as faculty director. Professor Pentland will also instruct learners in how smart mobility organizations can leverage data and build trust networks for success.

Courses powered by Esme Learning

Both courses, produced by Esme Learning in collaboration with MIT faculty and staff, feature high-quality video instruction from esteemed MIT faculty; interactive, timely media such as podcasts and articles; and correlating formative assessments that test knowledge retention.

Courses on Esme Learning are thoughtfully crafted with learning design principles that emphasize measurement and feedback. Learners have numerous opportunities to immediately apply course knowledge via live simulations and small group exercises that emulate work scenarios. Esme Learning’s AI coach leverages 15 years of cognitive science research to intelligently analyze small group peer interactions and suggest individual feedback per learner to ensure productive and rewarding group collaboration.

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