The rise of accelerated learning programs

M otivation is the most important factor when it comes to learning. Studies suggest that the number one reason people graduate from college is “to be able to get a better job”. Since accelerated learning programs (ALPs) are focusing on this need, they are rising in popularity and getting their market share of the education sector.

What is an Accelerated Learning program (ALP)?

ALPs are trainings offered by companies like Product School , General Assembly , Dev boot camp and Hackreactor .These ALPs offer a 4-12 weeks training program, and in return almost guarantees their students a job. The main priority is to help you get the job you want before you signed up for the training , and success is measured on placement rate and average salary. Through partnerships and close follow up with companies, ALPs make sure that student’s qualifications are fitted to what companies really look for. Courses can be found both online or offline and prices range from 2,000$ to 20,000$.To get a better idea, look at this offline schedule for Project management from General Assembly:

Accelerated learning program

General assembly project management schedule

The ALPs phenomenon

There are three variables that make ALPs successful.

  1. Cost of current education is extremely high and students are becoming more reluctant in getting loans. ALPs are cheaper than traditional education methods  due to their reduced price and shorter time (No need to  pay years of accommodation costs.
  2. The job market has become more difficult since the financial crisis. ALPs are focusing on what students wants: Getting a better job.
  3. You get what you pay for. APLs are very specific in their offerings. Jobs require more specialized competences and APLs fill the gaps where companies are currently lacking talent. Typical courses offered currently include Web development & design, Project management, User experience, Sales & business development.

Redefining the industry

Employment as a main focus

Course and education providers are starting to realize this trend and are acting upon it. For example, Udacity recently changed their mission statement from “Higher education for free.” to “Standout, get that ideal job, grab that promotion” . Maybe it might be an idea for MOOCs and other education providers to redefine their mission statement to become more specific and start offering what both users and companies really want…

Hybrid model: Offline/Online

Codecademy and Coursera were mainly online, but are now also turning offline to complete their learning environment.

On the other hand, ALPs like Hack Reactor and General Assembly that were only offering offline courses and are now starting to offer online courses. It seems that personal coaching and tutoring students remain key for students learning curve.

Future of ALPs

ALPs have been focusing on a job market that does not seem to be filled by traditional education, and this is where they can make the biggest impact.

The question we should be asking is whether APIs will manage to grab a bigger piece of the education sector by adding more courses and covering other sectors. As Shawn Drost puts it “If you thought it was dramatic when taxis became tech companies, just wait until it happens to colleges.”

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ALPs Field
Udacity Programming and technology courses
General assembly Assembly Technology, design and business skills
Deb Boot Camp Web Developer
Hack Reactor Programming
Product school Software engineers


1) Studies: The American freshman. 2012.[ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 25 December 2014].

2) A Wave Crests: Silicon Valley, Postsecondary Education And A Half-Trillion Dollars | TechCrunch. 2014. A Wave Crests: Silicon Valley, Postsecondary Education And A Half-Trillion Dollars | TechCrunch . [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 25 December 2014].


3) General Assembly. 2014. Learn Programming, Web Design, Business | General Assembly . [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 25 December 2014].

4) Learn by Doing – Code School. 2014. Learn by Doing – Code School . [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 25 December 2014].

5) Dev Bootcamp. 2014. Dev Bootcamp . [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 25 December 2014].

6) Advance Your Career Through Project-Based Online Classes – Udacity. 2014. Advance Your Career Through Project-Based Online Classes – Udacity . [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 25 December 2014].