How Harvard Online Learners Succeed

Published February 14, 2023


While it's true that Harvard Online courses are taught by renowned faculty who are experts in their field and address today's most urgent questions, our strength lies in our global community of learners. 

Harvard Online learners don’t just take our courses, they are active participants in their own learning endeavors and engage with a broad community along the way. Our online community is made up of 25 million people from more than 150 countries who have come together to discover how to be successful online learners—and their online success is reflected in the real world. 

Just as our students set the standard for what it means to be successful online learners, Harvard Online sets the standard for online learning experiences. We’ve identified four unifying characteristics that make a Harvard Online learner stand out among the rest. 


1. Become a lifelong learner with a growth mindset

“I have truly enjoyed this course, and I never thought that I would learn this much from an online course. The critical thinking has been awesome and really improved how I approach privacy issues at work and in my private life. The mix of short lectures, cases, discussions, and having to author responses as well as review and grade others (and having your responses graded) was excellent. I have already recommended this course to my colleagues.”

—Sofia S., Principal Data Privacy Specialist
Harvard Online Learner, Data Privacy and Technology



Harvard Online learners know that to reach their professional and personal goals, they need to continuously develop new skills and gain new insights. They ask questions of themselves, their peers, and the world around them so that they can become more aware, engaged, and in control of their own learning journey—just like Jéssica:



Our learners embody a growth mindset and are committed to lifelong learning. They approach coursework with curiosity and enthusiasm, and they never tire of discovering and implementing new information that will help them reach their full potential. 


2. Invite collaboration and focus on community

“This is now my fourth course that I have taken. I love the format that lets me learn asynchronously when I have time in my busy schedule. The courses do a wonderful job encouraging interaction with peer learners which amplifies the learning. The courses foster this peer engagement much more effectively than I have found in other online courses that I have taken.

—Denver Sallee III, MD, Chief Financial Officer, Sibley Heart Center Cardiology 
Harvard Online Learner, Health Care Economics



Harvard Online is a global community of learners who are committed to creating a collaborative learning environment and supporting each other. Our students generously share their own experiences and wisdom with others and see the value in learning from people who have different perspectives to offer.


“This course was worth my time and I thoroughly enjoyed communicating and learning with innovative thinkers from around the world. This was a great experience, and I am grateful my administration invested in me in this way to continue learning and growing so I could better do my job and help more humans.”

—Dr. Lindsey Keith-Vincent, Associate Dean for Research, Outreach, and Innovation in the College of Education, Louisiana Tech University
Harvard Online Learner, Open Innovation



Our community members take Harvard Online courses not just to build upon their own knowledge and skills, but to become better colleagues, peers, and leaders in their workplaces and communities. They are thoughtful team members who apply their findings in ways that positively impact the whole team. 


3. Embrace and celebrate diversity

“This course had an amazing instructor, examples, and user interface that made it easy for me to grasp the material and learn simultaneously with others around the world.”

Shawn Carrington, Jr., Senior Executive Officer, Perspecta, Inc.
Harvard Online Learner, Data Science for Business



Harvard Online learners live and work all around the world. They represent a wide variety of ages, levels of work experience, backgrounds, ethnicities, and more! Meet one of our Canadian learners, Gerald:



They may have different goals but they come together in our virtual learning spaces to create a respectful and inclusive global community of learners who are eager to connect with each other. Our learners embrace their differences and seek to develop them as strengths. 


4. Lead from any position

“This course was impactful, especially using case studies of real-life situations to solve complex and confusing problems. The results of this will help improve my managerial decisions within and outside the organizations to minimize risks and increase profits.”.”

—Bamidele Ajisogun, Manager, Product Development Insurance, UPMC Workpartners
Harvard Online Learner (Data Science for Business)



Just like our Harvard Online community members, leaders come in many different forms. But the signature quality of a leader at any level is a commitment to continued education and growth. In this respect, no matter their job rank or status, Harvard Online students are leaders in their professional and personal lives because they embody this core principle of leadership. Their peers look to them for guidance and creative solutions to challenging problems. Our learners are the innovators who have a vision for the future and keep their communities moving forward. 



“Such a great course for a person like me who works in sales and has limited understanding of data. I feel I can now have a meaningful conversation with our data team and I almost want to say this should be a required course for all managers at my level in my company.”

—Morne Bam, Bertelsmann
Harvard Online Learner (Data Science Principles)

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