"Automating learning, testing and grading on Coding Rooms."
Are traditional four-year colleges the best path to high-paying tech jobs? Multiverse, launched in 2016, is innovating a different approach, at once radical and age-old: Apprenticeships.
Multiverse places and trains professional apprentices in corporations starved for talent in today’s tight job market. Apprentices master high-demand technical skills while they work, and instead of piling on student debt, they get paid from day one.
The approach is resonating: Multiverse apprentices are now training in over 300 major corporations. And last year, the company raised over $170 million in funding.
But to accomplish their ambitious goals, Multiverse realized they had to shake up traditional tech education.
“We’re applying a ‘flipped model’ of instruction,” says Multiverse learning designer Laurel Staab. “So instead of students going to lectures and then doing coursework, the homework comes first.”
What that means, explains Laurel, who develops the company’s coding curriculum, is that apprentices first study assignments, practice coding and answer questions on their own. Then they meet in workshops with their “coaches,” who fill dual roles as both instructors and career guides, to ask questions and follow up on the material.
Sounds good on paper, but how is Multiverse pulling this off in the real world? And accomplishing this at scale with thousands of learners? That’s where Coding Rooms comes in.
“We’re implementing Coding Rooms as a platform for apprentices’ asynchronous study, which is one part of the applied learning experience,” says Laurel. “We use videos on the platform to introduce new concepts, multiple-choice questions to make sure they understand the material, and an embedded IDE to practice coding. Coaches observe the data and monitor progress.”
This gives coaches the flexibility to push forward with new learning during the workshops, or to step back and review material if apprentices are struggling with it. Coding Rooms also supports the live environment. “We add the resources for the workshop as well as extra practice problems on the platform ahead of time,” adds Laurel.
Developing learners through Coding Rooms provides Multiverse another key benefit—the ability to train apprentices at scale.
“Automating learning, testing and grading on Coding Rooms gives our coaches the data to focus and adapt to learners' development and manage more apprentices efficiently. The coaches are really excited about it.”
Multiverse assigned a dedicated internal team to build asynchronous content on Coding Rooms, creating videos and practice problems, and adapting text and slides from existing static material. “It’s been really great for collaboration because everything is updated live,” says Laurel. “And Coding Rooms is developing functionality for us that’s specific to how we’re applying the flipped model, like tracking learner progress for a large number of apprentices.”
Because the apprentices are learning while at work, the team quickly discovered a practical advantage to Coding Rooms, too. “Apprentices can just log into this one platform and do everything, instead of calling up multiple tools,” says Laurel. “Since they’re working at so many different employers we make sure up front that Coding Rooms is okay with all of these players, and save a lot of headache.”
Since Multiverse seeks talent and potential rather than grades, they also needed an innovative way to identify latent tech talent in prospective apprentices. Coding Rooms is helping with this, too.
“We built a fully asynchronous introduction to coding on Coding Rooms that potential apprentices with no tech background complete as part of their application,” says Laurel. “We designed a scaffolded step-by-step on the platform that takes them through the coding experience but also throws some things in that are pretty challenging. It’s partially a baseline and partially about aptitude, but what we’re screening for the most is—do you like this? Is this fun for you?”
The exercise gives applicants a chance to ask themselves these questions as well. And for those who answer affirmatively, Multiverse helps unlock a life-transforming opportunity for them that they might never have realized.
“Learning to code is an incredibly creative process,” says Laurel. “I think a lot of people who don’t respond to traditional education can excel in coding once they’re exposed to it. That’s our aim here at Multiverse.”
It’s a mission that Coding Rooms is proud to be a part of.
Coding Rooms benefits for Multiverse: