It’s Like Comparing Apple Pie To Apples.


NCLab’s in-depth career training programs are fundamentally different from online courses offered by Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs ) such as Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, Linkedin Learning (formerly Let’s compare training approaches and the results they produce.

Active Learning-By-Doing versus Independent Learning

NCLab provides comprehensive bite-sized interactive learning and doing. NCLab coaches and instructional support personnel are helped by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) teaching platform which provides real time in-context help, hints, and templates to trainees; and they love it. As a result, well over 70% of NCLab trainees complete their training. 

MOOCs, on the other hand, provide trainees with lengthy recorded lectures that assume prior knowledge that is often not there, and they follow the lectures with work assignments in which assistance is very limited and difficult to reach. Is it any wonder why less than 15% of the MOOC trainees complete their training?

Skills Training Versus Knowledge Training

Well over 95% of job openings require practical skill, so if your objective is to get you a job at the end of your training, it’s the SKILL that you acquire during your training that is key. As an example, employers hire programmers for their ability to write code (SKILL), not their understanding of how a computer program works (KNOWLEDGE). 

NCLab’s training is unique in the way it makes trainees acquire SKILL, by requiring them to successfully complete hundreds of AI-tutored mini projects that demonstrate SKILL in applying the knowledge that they have acquired, very much along the lines of an unpaid apprenticeship. That makes NCLab very different than MOOC training.

More About NCLab’s Training

NCLab’s primary goal is to get people who have the ability and desire to grow into great careers. To meet that goal, NCLab needs to:

  • Make sure applicants can learn and apply new knowledge.
  • Provide foundational training, when needed, before trainees start their career training.
  • Provide trainees with enough hands-on practical skill to make them job ready.
  • Prepare trainees to take industry-recognized certifications.
  • Provide trainees with important soft skills.
  • Help trainees get noticed, succeed in their job interviews, and get hired. 

MOOCs don’t concern themselves with any of these trainee needs.

Let’s look closer at each of NCLab’s activities separately.

Applicant Screening

NCLab uses a proprietary detailed Career Readiness Asssessment that measures applicants’ ability to absorb new knowledge and make use of it to solve problems while also measuring their passion for learning and their perseverance. This helps explains NCLab’s outstanding completion rate.  

MOOCs, on the other hand, don’t screen incoming students; rather, they enroll anybody, using the “add to cart” method. 

Foundational Skills

Enrollees all have different backgrounds and, despite their level of formal education, they often have to take some remedial training. After all, training is much like scaffolding and without a solid foundation, even learning basic concepts is difficult or not possible.

At NCLab, we offer trainees’ foundational training (e.g. workplace math), when it is needed, at no additional cost, so as to ensure that they will be able to successfully complete their career training.

Competency-Based Training

NCLab uses a competency-based learn-by-doing approach to teaching and trainees love it. Competency-based training (CBT) is an incremental learning approach in which trainees must confirm a mastery of each topic before moving forward and it is only possible if a trainee has access to instructional resources at all times.

Let’s look closer at how competency-based training is accomplished at NCLab:

  • Trainees have to practice using each new concept to confirm their ability to apply it before going on to the next concept.
  • The primary instructor role is performed by an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based teaching platform that covers every subject, not just those that an instructor chooses to or remembers to cover.
  • The AI-based teaching platform helps trainees with each assignment, overseeing all of their work and helping them in real time with context-specific help, hints, and templates.
  • Individually-assigned coaches and instructional support staff assist the AI-based teaching platform in overseeing, guiding, and helping each trainee.
  • When trainees complete their training, they know it all without the need for a final exam.
Industry-Recognized Certifications

While employers place significant value on industry-recognized certifications and we at NCLab prepare trainees for them (including ACT’s Workkeys Applied Math and NCRC, TOSA, CompTIA Data+, and The Python Institute’s PCEP and PCAP), passing a certification exam should not be a goal in itself since taking an exam is quite different from being job ready. Job readiness can only take place with practical skill.

MOOCs typically ignore industry-recognized certifications and issue their own certificates, which have questionable value:

“A Coursera certificate alone is unlikely to land you a job.” 

Soft Skills

In contrast to MOOCs who don’t address soft skills, NCLab provides 1:1 weekly coaching throughout training. While coaching is a necessity for trainees to stay on track and to complete their training, it is also essential in teaching the trainees important soft skills expected by employers, including independent problem solving, critical and logical thinking, perseverance, professional communication, time management, and adaptability, among others. 

Job Placement

In contrast to MOOCs, NCLab makes sure that trainees get noticed, succeed in their job interview, and get hired. This includes, among other things, creating a strong resume, building trainees’ portfolio with capstone projects, and leveraging the web in various ways to attract the interest of employers.

In Summary

The expression “You get what you pay for.” definitely applies when you’re selecting a career training program; if someone is offering their training for free, it’s likely to be exactly what you’ll get out of it.

“Without supervision, a large proportion of students get little or no benefit from work assignments and only a handful of the most persevering ones complete their MOOC courses.” 

“The MOOC pivot”, published in the journal Science in 2019

If you’re serious about changing your life for the better, you can count on NCLab to be by your side all the way to the finish line. Ask the MOOC you may be considering if they are willing to make the same commitment.


Our Trainees Love To Learn By Doing

Perfect teaching method

“As an adult with a busy schedule and the need to work around banking business hours etc.: this method of teaching is perfect for me and I would recommend it for basically anyone on any subject.” F. V.

Superb way to learn

“I really enjoyed the self-paced format of this training program. The material was presented clearly and concisely and allowed me to focus longer on concepts that were difficult, while glancing over concepts I was already familiar with.” A.C.

This is how I like to learn

“This is how I like to learn, at my own pace. I like the bite-sized tutorials and I feel a real sense of accomplishment when I complete the exercises that follow them.” M.J.

Great training!

“I watched videos, read short tutorials, viewed examples, ran demo programs, and then performed exercises that demonstrated my comprehension of the subject matter.” S.L.

The training is really great!

“Not easy but really informative. Practical experience was what I wanted and I feel that I got it.” F. Z.

The program is great

“I cannot compliment enough any training that involves students actually working on the problems rather than just listening.” A. S.

Compliments to the NCLab team

“Please extend my compliments to the NCLab team if you can, and keep advocating for this type of learning, if at the very least as an option for people like me who learn well this way.” F. A.

You do a great job explaining the concepts

“So far I’m enjoying the course. You do a great job explaining the concepts and the logic behind each step (the explanation for the difference between WHERE and HAVING comes to mind)!” R. C.


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