Now that LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, has acquired online learning content company Lynda.com, the organization is launching LinkedIn Learning, an ambitious initiative that connects with their core business in more ways than one.
By now, millions of users have deposited years of detailed professional history into their LinkedIn profiles. It was time for LinkedIn’s data crunchers put this treasure trove of data to good use. When you log into LinkedIn and visit linkedin.com/learning, a series of recommended courses show on top. Clicking on “Add Skills” reveals a list of skills already associated with the profile, as well as a field to add those of interest. The ability to let users add the skills they’re interested in is a brilliant way to identify content trends and gaps. LinkedIn can invest at a low risk to serve a captive audience.
Hundreds of courses are already available in English, Spanish, French, German, and Chinese. In English, courses are divided into three categories: business, creative, and technology. There are already at least 200 courses in education and instructional design. Leadership courses feature prominent instructors such as Bloomberg’s Betty Liu and HBS’ Bill George.
At least for now, rather than go the way of the MOOC and create bundles or “micromasters,” LinkedIn Learning’s model appears to be focused on quick-take lessons. The bulk of the offerings take the shape of 1- to 3-hour courses, with a few under 10 minutes or above 180. Users, however, can save courses and create collections. Users can share videos from courses they are taking in their LinkedIn feed, visible for their first-degree connections.
Interested instructors are also welcome to fill out an application. It requires a sample video submission.
LinkedIn Learning follows a 1-month freemium model with full access to both content and the recommendation engine. After the trial, it offers one full access tier at $29.99 USD a month, with a 17% discount for annual purchase. Subscription to LinkedIn Learning unlocks LinkedIn’s Premium networking services, like the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature. Organization subscriptions are available and include “Learning Admin” roles who can recommend and assign courses and have access to several reporting analytics.
Lynda.com’s offer is similar. It offers the same content through multiple tiers: Basic at $20 USD; Premium at $30 USD, and a 10-day free trial. It does not offer integration with the LinkedIn social network, but reportedly works on Apple TV whereas LinkedIn Learning does not, at least for now.