By Kyle Shiells, Coursera Data Scientist
We’re always looking for patterns in what people are interested in learning – understanding trends in topic interests helps us better serve our learners, and it’s fun!
Previously, we’ve shared data on how topic interests vary by country; this time, we wanted to look more closely at course enrollments among the 5 million learners in our largest market, the United States. Just as job opportunities, age demographics, and political views vary across states, we found that the subjects people study vary geographically, as well.
Although we found business and computer science to be the two most popular topics in every state in absolute terms, other patterns emerged when we looked at trends in relative topic interest. Based on those trends, we identified 12 Coursera learning regions, from the Tech Trail on the West Coast to the Business Basin in the East.
Some highlights from our analysis include:
- California and Washington are the top two states in every subtopic within computer science. Other states that show up high on the list for computer science include New Jersey, Virginia, and Oregon.
- The District of Columbia leads the country in interest in a number of government-related topics, including governance and society, economics, and law. The neighboring states of Virginia and Maryland are close behind.
- Relative to other states, Alaska shows the most interest in physical science and engineering; like many rural states, Alaska also shows high relative interest in environmental sciences and veterinary science.
- Mississippi shows the highest relative interest in education. Many of the surrounding southern states show a similar trend, and are also highly relatively interested in common elementary and secondary school subjects like history and chemistry.
- Compared to other states, a region in the middle of the country — best represented by Tennessee — shows a high level of interest in bioinformatics.
- The far Northeast, particularly Maine and Vermont, has an exceptional interest in visual and liberal arts, including a number of subject areas across the arts and humanities.
To learn more about the learning regions, check out the video above – and spend some time with our interactive map to can see the five most popular categories of online courses in your state and the specific topics of interest that make your state unique!3