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Experiential Learning from The University of Texas at Austin Encourages Professionals to Learn-by-Doing

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Professional Development Center (UT PDC) at The University of Texas at Austin is proud to announce a new offering in "experiential" training in which participants enact real-world workplace scenarios to learn today's most in-demand business skills. Starting in October, UT PDC's Learn By Doing: Experienced Based Learning offers online, cohort style courses that provide training focused on technology and data analysis to professionals in Austin and beyond. In Learn By Doing courses, students participate in realistic business scenarios with other online students to solve workplace problems while learning about such high-demand subjects as financial analytics and web development.

UT PDC's Learn By Doing offers a dynamic selection of courses in data analysis, finance analysis, ecommerce, web development, search optimization and people management. According to a June 10, 2013 article on, data analytics and statistics have become so in demand that hours billed for work in statistical analysis grew by 522 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2011. In the same article, economics professor Susan Athey of Stanford is quoted as saying, "As firms get more and more data-driven, there become fewer and fewer careers that don't require those skills."

"UT PDC's Learn By Doing gives professionals a hands-on learning experience that they can turn around and use immediately in their current positions. Virtual training and collaboration with instructors and professionals from around the country provides students with a real-world learning environment that can help them succeed in their current careers or branch off into new ones," said Liliya Spinazzola, director of UT PDC. "I am very excited that UT PDC has partnered with Experiential Teaching Online, or XTOL, to offer such innovative and engaging courses in the technology and software sectors. If you are the type of person that learns by doing, then these courses are for you!" 

Here is just a small sample of some of the UT PDC Learn By Doing courses beginning in October 2013:

  • Data Analytics: Understanding Customers – Students learn how to install and use the open source WEKA machine learning package to understand the relationship between customer demographics and purchasing behavior and then develop a model for making decisions about sales and marketing activities based on collected data. 
  • Financial Analysis Essentials – Students play the role of financial analyst at a consulting firm that has been asked to help a struggling winery to analyze its past and current financial situation in order to identify issues and problems. Working as part of a team, students will learn more about the winery's day-today business and the wine industry in order to better determine underlying issues and solutions. 
  • Introduction to eCommerce: Technology – Students will learn the technical aspects of taking a business online by creating an eCommerce website architecture, developing basic desktop and mobile websites, integrating a shopping cart and recommending a SSL certificate. 
  • Managing Software Professionals – Students will participate in a fictional scenario in which they hire team members, handle problematic employees, manage confrontation, motivate exceptional employees and develop the general interpersonal skills required to succeed as a manager in a technical environment.
  • Search Engine Optimization – Students learn techniques related to key word selection, key word placement, refactoring web-site content and other optimization methods for search engine optimization. Students will evaluate results by running a "captive search engine" to improve a site's search rankings.
  • Web Application Development in Ruby on Rails: Students use Ruby on Rails to develop an internal "matchmaker" web application to connect projects with specific technical needs to employees with relevant skills or skill goals. In addition to learning Ruby on Rails, students learn (or review) fundamental programming concepts.

More information, including a full listing of courses, scheduling and pricing, is found online at  You may also contact Veronica Phillips at 512-471-2926 or [email protected] for more information.

The Professional Development Center is a department of the Division of Continuing and Innovative Education at The University of Texas at Austin.

Contact: Wayne Wenske, Continuing and Innovative Education, The University of Texas at Austin, 512-232-7392, Email

Read more news from Professional Development Center.


SOURCE The Professional Development Center, The University of Texas at Austin

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