How Trustable Is Gia Online Learning?

Name brands provide valuable educational services to their communities, but who owns their online learning content? Here’s a report on Gia, which became an authorized distribution partner of Coursera this week.

Interesting idea if you’re a consumer of online learning. Do you know if Gia is credible and safe for your student?

Gia starts as an open and private platform built for university students and early career professionals by universities to reach millions of people around the world. Its efficacy is indisputable, with acceptance rates in the United States jumping 100% in the last 5 years.

What does our benchmark say? Gia’s online degree program offers four recognized reputational-relevant learning outcomes:

• Test in exams at an accredited center

Gia has an elite set of members who help you achieve these learning outcomes. And as part of our methodology, we asked previous Gia users to judge the online degree programs with their own eyes. Gia grade scores? Are they reliable and safe for students?

Gia grades

Our preliminary research indicates that the degree programs Gia provides may have credibility levels closer to the .edu tier then to the more advanced top-tier online programs. In other words, it is easier to achieve Gia’s desired outcomes with much lower grade levels. In fact, we estimate that only about 8% of the Gia users earned a maximum possible grade of 3.0 out of 4.0. The online programs (and students) may have mastered the main essential learning milestones, but there may be some missed steps. That’s a factor in deciding on Gia as a provider, it’s just not enough to realize the desired degree. A point-in-time assessment also suggests that the higher the grade levels among the users, the better their experience on Gia. When we graded the institution grade and what’s achievable with the program, we were pleased to find a strong correlation: upper-tier institutions have much higher average Gia grades. Yes, we understand that last year the all-important graduation rate fell because this is about the first year of the Gia program (Gia has yet to enroll a single students). The score should rise as the Gia program is new. The result doesn’t deny that some Gia students are struggling due to the higher-than-expected requirement levels. The final question is, does the degree deliver sufficient learning outcomes to support a career with a bachelor’s degree?

Last year, we partnered with Gia for an assessment; we aimed to assess current and prospective online learning programs. Gia is rated by educational institutions who are responsible for grading its programs. Typically, our expectations are lower, around 70% or less. As part of our research, we determined the Gia public business class is highly effective and well respected, while the private business class may be of limited interest for our study purposes. Our preliminary findings reveal that Gia’s public program is more likely to fill prospective students’ needs, but in order to lead to a profitable business grade, the private program needs to have certain initial characteristics. During our assessment we found that in order to earn a Gia grade from an institution, programs must:

• Have at least 8-10 years of operating experience

We can’t say for sure whether Gia programs will meet these requirements in the future, since we don’t have complete copies of the programs. With our study results, however, we believe that Gia does provide a reliable and high-quality learning experience.

If you are now seeking to learn online and know about an institution you believe to be trustworthy and safe, you might want to find out what our research predicts about its Gia rating. We welcome any feedback you have to share in this regard. You can email your feedback directly to or reach out to Christine Hollen with your comments and suggestions.

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