LinkedIn launches educational portal “LinkedIn learning”

LinkedIn Learning, a new educational site, was launched in Linkedin’s offices in San Fransisco today. LinkedIn is finally bringing, the online education company it bought 18 months ago for $1.5 billion into its news feed. This is being done in an effort to go beyond job hunting and recruitment, it’s two mainstays.

LinkedIn, the social network for the working world now has some 450 million members. It’s primary role is as a site where people create and maintain their professional profile publicly. Building up on that as a place to also enhance one’s professional skills is this new site.

LinkedIn Learning, is an ambitious e-learning portal tailored to individuals. It will also cater to businesses looking to keep training their employees.

A large part of LinkedIn Learning is based on Lynda content, and goes live with some 9,000 courses on offer. Subjects on offer are related to business, technology and creative topics, with courses running right from from programming skills to writing and accounting.

Courses can be selected by employees themselves. They can also be recommended by employers. HR managers can use LinkedIn’s analytics products to monitor employees progress. They can also look at the wider range of what is being studied as a point of reference.

Companies will also be able to create their own “learning paths”—bundles of courses around a particular topic—to train employees. A chief learning officer, for instance, might compile a package of courses in product management and ask 10 employees to complete the assignments over the course of a few months.

“The useful shelf-life of skills has shrunk to less than five years. Organisations need to continually skill and retrain employees to be competitive and retain top talent.”

The new offering is included in a LinkedIn Premium subscription, or users can pay for it as a standalone feature for $29.99 per month ($300 for an annual subscription). LinkedIn Learning will also offer free courses from “influencers”—industry and thought leaders selected by the company.

LinkedIn Premium subscribers will get 25 new courses every week based on information on the site. LinkedIn says it will soon be releasing an enterprise tier so that large companies can take subscriptions for their entire employee base.

LinkedIn is also targeting higher-education institutions with the new offering. The new professional development tool can help faculty how to use classroom tools such as Moodle, Adobe Captivate and learning management systems.

LinkedIn started out opening up special, verified profile pages to universities and colleges a few years ago. It encouraged younger users (as young as 13) to start building LinkedIn profiles to get started.

In a presentation on the new site LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner described how education has become “one of our most important priorities.”

“Increasingly predictions of tech displacing workers are coming to fruition,” he added. “The idea that you can study a skill once and have a job for the rest of your life—those days are over.”

He noted that the World Economic Forum expects 5 million jobs to be displaced by the introduction of new technologies, and that 78% of CFOs surveyed believe that up to 25% of their work forces could be displaced by 2020.

In other words, apart from it’s ideology to charter the world’s “economic graph”, LinkedIn also sees education as a business opportunity, with a “just in time” experience training as a key way of meeting that demand.

LinkedIn Learning is available in English today, with French, Japanese, German and Spanish versions forthcoming.

Alongside today’s launch of LinkedIn Learning, LinkedIn also announced that it would soon include a new desktop experience, a “smarter” content newsfeed, and additions to its messaging service, including the introduction of bots. None of these, it seems, are live yet but are coming soon, the company says.

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