12 weeks, 26 lessons, 52 quizzes, classic Machine Learning for all

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Machine Learning for Beginners - A Curriculum

🌍 Travel around the world as we explore Machine Learning by means of world cultures 🌍

Azure Cloud Advocates at Microsoft are pleased to offer a 12-week, 26-lesson curriculum all about Machine Learning. In this curriculum, you will learn about what is sometimes called classic machine learning, using primarily Scikit-learn as a library and avoiding deep learning, which is covered in our forthcoming 'AI for Beginners' curriculum. Pair these lessons with our 'Data Science for Beginners' curriculum, as well!

Travel with us around the world as we apply these classic techniques to data from many areas of the world. Each lesson includes pre- and post-lesson quizzes, written instructions to complete the lesson, a solution, an assignment, and more. Our project-based pedagogy allows you to learn while building, a proven way for new skills to 'stick'.

✍️ Hearty thanks to our authors Jen Looper, Stephen Howell, Francesca Lazzeri, Tomomi Imura, Cassie Breviu, Dmitry Soshnikov, Chris Noring, Anirban Mukherjee, Ornella Altunyan, Ruth Yakubu and Amy Boyd

🎨 Thanks as well to our illustrators Tomomi Imura, Dasani Madipalli, and Jen Looper

🙏 Special thanks 🙏 to our Microsoft Student Ambassador authors, reviewers, and content contributors, notably Rishit Dagli, Muhammad Sakib Khan Inan, Rohan Raj, Alexandru Petrescu, Abhishek Jaiswal, Nawrin Tabassum, Ioan Samuila, and Snigdha Agarwal

🤩 Extra gratitude to Microsoft Student Ambassadors Eric Wanjau, Jasleen Sondhi, and Vidushi Gupta for our R lessons!

Announcement - New Curriculum on Generative AI was just released!

We just released a 12 lesson curriculum on generative AI. Come learn things like:

  • prompting and prompt engineering
  • text and image app generation
  • search apps

As usual, there's a lesson, assignments to complete, knowledge checks and challenges.

Check it out:


Getting Started

Students, to use this curriculum, fork the entire repo to your own GitHub account and complete the exercises on your own or with a group:

  • Start with a pre-lecture quiz.
  • Read the lecture and complete the activities, pausing and reflecting at each knowledge check.
  • Try to create the projects by comprehending the lessons rather than running the solution code; however that code is available in the /solution folders in each project-oriented lesson.
  • Take the post-lecture quiz.
  • Complete the challenge.
  • Complete the assignment.
  • After completing a lesson group, visit the Discussion Board and "learn out loud" by filling out the appropriate PAT rubric. A 'PAT' is a Progress Assessment Tool that is a rubric you fill out to further your learning. You can also react to other PATs so we can learn together.

For further study, we recommend following these Microsoft Learn modules and learning paths.

Teachers, we have included some suggestions on how to use this curriculum.

Video walkthroughs

Some of the lessons are available as short form video. You can find all these in-line in the lessons, or on the ML for Beginners playlist on the Microsoft Developer YouTube channel by clicking the image below.

ML for beginners banner

Meet the Team

Promo video

Gif by Mohit Jaisal

🎥 Click the image above for a video about the project and the folks who created it!


We have chosen two pedagogical tenets while building this curriculum: ensuring that it is hands-on project-based and that it includes frequent quizzes. In addition, this curriculum has a common theme to give it cohesion.

By ensuring that the content aligns with projects, the process is made more engaging for students and retention of concepts will be augmented. In addition, a low-stakes quiz before a class sets the intention of the student towards learning a topic, while a second quiz after class ensures further retention. This curriculum was designed to be flexible and fun and can be taken in whole or in part. The projects start small and become increasingly complex by the end of the 12-week cycle. This curriculum also includes a postscript on real-world applications of ML, which can be used as extra credit or as a basis for discussion.

Find our Code of Conduct, Contributing, and Translation guidelines. We welcome your constructive feedback!

Each lesson includes:

  • optional sketchnote
  • optional supplemental video
  • video walkthrough (some lessons only)
  • pre-lecture warmup quiz
  • written lesson
  • for project-based lessons, step-by-step guides on how to build the project
  • knowledge checks
  • a challenge
  • supplemental reading
  • assignment
  • post-lecture quiz

A note about languages: These lessons are primarily written in Python, but many are also available in R. To complete an R lesson, go to the /solution folder and look for R lessons. They include an .rmd extension that represents an R Markdown file which can be simply defined as an embedding of code chunks (of R or other languages) and a YAML header (that guides how to format outputs such as PDF) in a Markdown document. As such, it serves as an exemplary authoring framework for data science since it allows you to combine your code, its output, and your thoughts by allowing you to write them down in Markdown. Moreover, R Markdown documents can be rendered to output formats such as PDF, HTML, or Word.

A note about quizzes: All quizzes are contained in this app, for 52 total quizzes of three questions each. They are linked from within the lessons but the quiz app can be run locally; follow the instruction in the quiz-app folder.

Lesson Number Topic Lesson Grouping Learning Objectives Linked Lesson Author
01 Introduction to machine learning Introduction Learn the basic concepts behind machine learning Lesson Muhammad
02 The History of machine learning Introduction Learn the history underlying this field Lesson Jen and Amy
03 Fairness and machine learning Introduction What are the important philosophical issues around fairness that students should consider when building and applying ML models? Lesson Tomomi
04 Techniques for machine learning Introduction What techniques do ML researchers use to build ML models? Lesson Chris and Jen
05 Introduction to regression Regression Get started with Python and Scikit-learn for regression models
  • Jen
  • Eric Wanjau
06 North American pumpkin prices 🎃 Regression Visualize and clean data in preparation for ML
  • Jen
  • Eric Wanjau
07 North American pumpkin prices 🎃 Regression Build linear and polynomial regression models
  • Jen and Dmitry
  • Eric Wanjau
08 North American pumpkin prices 🎃 Regression Build a logistic regression model
  • Jen
  • Eric Wanjau
09 A Web App 🔌 Web App Build a web app to use your trained model Python Jen
10 Introduction to classification Classification Clean, prep, and visualize your data; introduction to classification
  • Jen and Cassie
  • Eric Wanjau
11 Delicious Asian and Indian cuisines 🍜 Classification Introduction to classifiers
  • Jen and Cassie
  • Eric Wanjau
12 Delicious Asian and Indian cuisines 🍜 Classification More classifiers
  • Jen and Cassie
  • Eric Wanjau
13 Delicious Asian and Indian cuisines 🍜 Classification Build a recommender web app using your model Python Jen
14 Introduction to clustering Clustering Clean, prep, and visualize your data; Introduction to clustering
  • Jen
  • Eric Wanjau
15 Exploring Nigerian Musical Tastes 🎧 Clustering Explore the K-Means clustering method
  • Jen
  • Eric Wanjau
16 Introduction to natural language processing ☕️ Natural language processing Learn the basics about NLP by building a simple bot Python Stephen
17 Common NLP Tasks ☕️ Natural language processing Deepen your NLP knowledge by understanding common tasks required when dealing with language structures Python Stephen
18 Translation and sentiment analysis ♥️ Natural language processing Translation and sentiment analysis with Jane Austen Python Stephen
19 Romantic hotels of Europe ♥️ Natural language processing Sentiment analysis with hotel reviews 1 Python Stephen
20 Romantic hotels of Europe ♥️ Natural language processing Sentiment analysis with hotel reviews 2 Python Stephen
21 Introduction to time series forecasting Time series Introduction to time series forecasting Python Francesca
22 ⚡️ World Power Usage ⚡️ - time series forecasting with ARIMA Time series Time series forecasting with ARIMA Python Francesca
23 ⚡️ World Power Usage ⚡️ - time series forecasting with SVR Time series Time series forecasting with Support Vector Regressor Python Anirban
24 Introduction to reinforcement learning Reinforcement learning Introduction to reinforcement learning with Q-Learning Python Dmitry
25 Help Peter avoid the wolf! 🐺 Reinforcement learning Reinforcement learning Gym Python Dmitry
Postscript Real-World ML scenarios and applications ML in the Wild Interesting and revealing real-world applications of classical ML Lesson Team
Postscript Model Debugging in ML using RAI dashboard ML in the Wild Model Debugging in Machine Learning using Responsible AI dashboard components Lesson Ruth Yakubu

Offline access

You can run this documentation offline by using Docsify. Fork this repo, install Docsify on your local machine, and then in the root folder of this repo, type docsify serve. The website will be served on port 3000 on your localhost: localhost:3000.


Find a pdf of the curriculum with links here.

Help Wanted!

Would you like to contribute a translation? Please read our translation guidelines and add a templated issue to manage the workload here.

Other Curricula

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