I was very excited to open LinkedIn today and see this: LinkedIn Learning launches and is free this week (24-30 October 2016):

LinkedIn Learning

I’ve been an elearning enthusiast for almost a decade now and have been watching this elearning explosion happening in recent years.  I’ve spoken about it at a few events (see my Slideshare deck) and written quite a few articles now (see my elearning posts).  It makes perfect sense to me that LinkedIn is now a part of this.  It surprised me that it snuck up on me this quietly though.  I clicked through from the banner when I logged into LinkedIn but it seems the main portal link is here:

https://www.linkedin.com/learning/

At time of writing this, there is not yet any mention of LinkedIn Learning on the Wikipedia entry for LinkedIn.

LinkedIn learning
From what I can tell, if you have a LinkedIn profile, you will automatically have a LinkedIn learning profile set up:

screenshot-2016-10-24-18-56-46
The beauty of this is that of course LinkedIn has information about your current skills and I suspect you will now be able to do something I have already been interested in researching, and may even end up basing my Masters thesis on – being able to identify and “top up” and/or maintain necessary new skills for your dream career.   I wrote a post last week about How to gain a social media qualification which covers some of these concepts too.

So being marketing/social media orientated, and listed as a Social Media Specialist on LinkedIn, this is the screen I get when first connecting to LinkedIn learning:

LinkedIn Learning
And yes, there you have it – an “add skills” section for what you may be interested in learning, here’s what pops up as suggested for me:
screenshot-2016-10-24-19-10-58
Something that will be interesting is how LinkedIn will identify/address that people will have an interest in a certain field and topics, but their own experience and expertise will vary.  This is an issue I deal with daily as a university lecturer – how do educators measure and cater for widely varying exisiting experiences and skills. I also already teach several of these topics, and have been trying for some time to capture these in my own online courses – but this is very time consuming.  (Side note – I started with the Zestee Social Media School in 2012 but put that on hold after my site was hacked.  I am planning on relaunching as soon as I can though, but in the meanwhile have been watching other platforms explode, and am likely to teach through an established platform myself in the future rather than run it myself.)

Back to LinkedIn Learning though, In terms of the overall offering at the moment, here is a screenshot the drop down menu of topics:

screenshot-2016-10-24-18-56-22
When I look at the actual courses on offer, I’m offered those relating to my job title:
screenshot-2016-10-24-19-15-43

They also have lots of other interesting ways of presenting courses, such as “featured learning paths” which are no doubt a series of courses packaged up: screenshot-2016-10-24-19-16-07

There are also LinkedIn Influencers and thought leaders courses, beautifully branded of course:
screenshot-2016-10-24-19-15-58 And one I particularly like – “learn within 30 minutes” – micro learning is a topic I’m also looking into more and more, especially as our busy lives and shorter attention spans affect the way we learn.  I notice with my university students there is definitely a 20/30 minute mark where attention then starts to wane.screenshot-2016-10-24-19-16-18So overall, as a passionate lifelong learner, with a curious mind and a thirst for quality, flexible education, I feel like a kid in a candy store!

Another initial thought is – if this is the first I’ve heard of LinkedIn Learning, and it did really launch just this week, where did all these courses come from?  And what are they going to cost after the free week ends?

Here is a clue:
screenshot-2016-10-24-19-14-51I’ve been compiling a list of Online Learning Platforms for a while, and Lynda is one I’ve been aware of for some time and interestingly enough, was one that didn’t really capture my attention as some of the others like Skillshare and Udemy.  Here’s the thing though – take a look at the Wikipedia entry for Lynda.com – yes, LinkedIn purchased this platform in May 2015 for 1.5 billion.  Then in June 2016, Microsoft announced a purchase of LinkedIn for 26.2 billion.

So I need to research further, but seems that all the content on LinkedIn Learning is via Lynda.com.  As a marketing/branding lecturer, I also suspect that name may be phased out – LinkedIn Learning is a much stronger brand.  Actually, by mistake I was just typing “LinkedIn Learn” which may be even better and no doubt others will also make that error, but LinkedIn Learning is the official name.

I’ve tried to get a screenshot of Lynda.com where the branding has “by LInkedIn” but this annoying daily deals offer keeps popping up and covering the brand! (top left)

screenshot-2016-10-24-19-38-06

Here is the current pricing for Lynda.com, giving a prediction of what LinkedIn Learning may charge:

lynda pricing
So I’m off to explore more!  Though I was so excited, and see so much potential for this that I wanted to come and share.  Why does it excite me so much?  We now live in a knowledge economy where lifelong learning is already the norm, whether we recognise this or not.  No matter your industry, you need to continually develop and sharpen your skills.  If you add to this the demands of being a Professional Parent like so many of us who balance being in business and raising a family, we need flexible but quality learning solutions, at an affordable price. I also think that learning can simply be fun.  It looks like LinkedIn Learning is positioned to deliver on all these things.

There are definitely some challenges that all online learning platforms face, and motivation levels for us as individuals are influenced but a lot of factors – I certainly have signed up for a lot of courses I’ve never even had the chance to look at.  Some courses I’ve tried to follow are low quality in terms of production value but also didactic (teaching) skills or simply technical challenges.  Many people also just prefer face to face or on the job learning – but this is not always possible and this is where I see elearning filling a big need.

Does online learning excite you as well?  Why/why not?  Would love your comments below.

Renee