Elements of AI has introduced one million people to the basics of artificial intelligence

The online course designed by the University of Helsinki and a learning company MinnaLearn is free and open for everyone. It provides easy-to-understand information and practical examples on the topic of artificial intelligence.

Over one million people from 170 different countries have learned the basics of AI through Elements of AI, making it one of the most popular online courses in the world to date. The course has been translated into 26 languages.

The University of Helsinki and the Finnish learning company MinnaLearn launched Elements of AI in 2018 to provide access to easy-to-understand AI knowledge for free.

“Artificial intelligence has become an integral part of our lives since the course was planned five years ago. Today, many AI applications, such as text generation, have become commonplace for many. It is crucial to both understand the potential of AI and learn to approach it critically,” says Teemu Roos, the lead instructor and professor at the University of Helsinki and the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence FCAI.

Localization expands access to AI knowledge to a broader audience

Elements of AI was first launched with a mission to educate one percent of the Finnish population about the basics of artificial intelligence.

During its EU Presidency in December 2019, Finland decided to invest in the future skills of Europeans and to offer the Elements of AI online course to all Member States for free. To date, the course has been successfully translated into 26 languages and localized in 30 different countries in partnership with local universities and businesses.

“When we have information available in different languages, more people can participate in the change brought by artificial intelligence. Learning concepts in one's own language makes it easier to discuss and comprehend artificial intelligence. We are constantly having discussions about launching the course in new countries,” says Ville Valtonen, founder and CEO of MinnaLearn.

“It’s also important to improve the level of AI skills in Europe in order to maintain digital independence and remain competitive in this field. Finland, in particular, has become a hub of top-class AI expertise and companies. We have every opportunity to be at the forefront of global AI development,” says Teemu Roos.

A diverse group of users

Elements of AI continues to provide education on the fundamentals of artificial intelligence and to develop the course further to cater to the needs of businesses. In Finland alone, already 250 companies have trained their employees in the basics of artificial intelligence with the help of the course.

The course has attracted a diverse group of users. Women make up 40% of the course participants, and over 25% of the users are over 45 years old.

In addition to Elements of AI, the University of Helsinki provides several MOOCs (Massive open online course) on AI. Ethics of AI suits for those interested in the ethical aspects of artificial intelligence. Building AI explains the algorithms behind AI.


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Elements of AI in brief
  • Elements of AI is a free online course that offers easy-to-understand information and practical exercises on the basics of artificial intelligence.
  • The course includes self-study resources, interactive content, and tasks that require approximately 30 hours of work. Students learn about artificial intelligence concepts, usage methods, and limitations.
  • The course is suitable for anyone interested in learning the basics of AI regardless of their coding skills.
  • In 2019, Elements of AI was selected as the best computer science online course in the world, when it took first place among Class Central's 1167 online courses.