What is LinkedIn Learning?
LinkedIn Learning is a for-profit video based learning platform focused on teaching professionals the skills they need to succeed in their careers. It provides courses on a variety of career-related topics such as leadership, public speaking, Excel, personal branding, and more.
Who owns LinkedIn Learning?
LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft in 2016. As a subsidiary of LinkedIn, LinkedIn Learning is also owned by Microsoft.
Are LinkedIn Learning and Lynda the same?
How does LinkedIn Learning Work?
LinkedIn Learning delivers instructional content through video and audio presentations. It does so by utilizing slideshows, software navigation, and high quality visual demonstrations. LinkedIn Learning offers video courses on a variety of work-related material. But, above all else, they focus on the following three topic categories:
The wide range of topics and materials means that almost any topic could be covered on the platform. Here are some examples of more specific courses covered on LinkedIn Learning:
- Becoming a Manager
- Learning Photoshop
- Network and System Administration
- Higher Education
The content on LinkedIn Learning comes in seven languages. This includes English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Portuguese. At its launch, LinkedIn Learning already provided 9,000 courses. And, even more content is added on a weekly basis. This LinkedIn Learning review will cover its English language offerings.
There are a couple of ways of filtering through content on LinkedIn Learning. Firstly, learners can select content from a browse drop-down menu. Or, they can follow suggested videos on the home page:
Learners can begin absorbing information as if they are participating in an in-person seminar on the topic. Yet, unlike a conference presentation, they are able to pause and rewind material. Note taking will help connect viewers to relevant bits to explore in the future. LinkedIn Learning provides a “notebook” functionality below videos that lets the learners take notes on the material covered. Not only that, but a full transcript of the video is also available.
Review of LinkedIn Learning Pricing & Costs
The pricing of LinkedIn Learning is fully subscription-based, unlike some other MOOC platforms such as edX or Coursera. This means that you are not paying for individual courses. Instead, you pay for a subscription that gives you access to absolutely all of the courses on the platform.
It’s also important to note that LinkedIn Learning is accessible for free through a one month free trial. After the trial period, however, LinkedIn Learning is no longer free.
To use LinkedIn Learning after the trial period finishes, members have two options:
- Monthly fee: A monthly payment will currently run you $29.99 per month.
- Yearly fee: Yearly payments come at a discounted price of $239.88 per year. Users save $10 per month under the yearly subscription model.
Learners with a library subscription may also be able to access content for free.
What is a LinkedIn Learning subscription?
A LinkedIn Learning subscription provides unlimited access to all 11,000 + educational videos on the LinkedIn Learning platform. LinkedIn Learning also comes with a premium subscription to LinkedIn. After a one month free trial, users are billed $29.99 per month or pay a yearly subscription of $239.88.
With this price comes unlimited access to any material provided. This is handy, since other online courses often charge per course. Perhaps you want to learn how to create your personal brand, or become a more resilient leader. You could begin dabbling in data science while also gaining insight into the neuroscience of sales.
In other words, there is so much content to explore here, that it is an excellent chance to have access to it all for one price. At least that is the case for active learners who make full use of such subscriptions. With LinkedIn Learning, dedicated students can pursue professional development in a myriad of ways beyond the scope of what they may have initially signed up for in the first place. Inactive learners who take 1-2 courses per year, on the other hand, might find that they are not getting their money’s worth.
Review of LinkedIn Learning Courses
Searching for & filtering courses
With so much material to cover, here is a snapshot of the way LinkedIn Learning organizes their offerings:
To bring an example, a search for “Project Management” returns 5,943 results. These results can be further organized by Best Match, View Count, or Newest. Users can also filter results based on content length, difficulty level, and taught software. In addition, users can filter searches based on whether continuing education whether units are offered, and whether the material is a course, a learning path, or a video. Filter functionality is also robust enough such that users can select a video within an existing course in order to learn bits of information without participating in an entire course.
Learning Paths are sets of courses grouped together to provide how-to information from top to bottom on a given topic. These types of interconnected course series are common on large MOOC sites, and they are generally called “micro-credential programs”. Coursera’s MasterTracks, edX’s MicroMasters, and Udacity’s Nanodegrees are some competing examples of these types of programs.
To bring an example from LinkedIn Learning, the “Become a Project Manager” Learning Path is nearly 27 hours long and consists of 17 courses. At the end of this Learning Path, LinkedIn Learning provides the user with a certificate of completion which appears on their LinkedIn profile. These LinkedIn Learning certifications can benefit job seekers or simply employees who want to showcase their proactive pursuit of professional growth.
LinkedIn Learning courses are primarily a video-based experience. This means that the learner watches experts discuss the topic at hand, with slide shows and relevant content shown on screen. Learners are also provided with a section to ask additional questions of the presenters. Presenters will often swing by after their videos to respond to their audience– just as they would in an in-person seminar format.
Since material is provided without limit for subscribers, some viewers may want to begin the learning process while multitasking: say, performing routine household tasks, such as making dinner or gardening. That’s what the dedicated LinkedIn Learning smartphone app is very useful for. With it, learners can absorb material while multitasking or riding public transportation. Then, learners can watch material again in a more focused manner in order to connect with main points and apply their own experiences.
But, the largely video-based style of the courses on LinkedIn learning is not for everyone. Many learners connect with this audio/visual approach, but some may find this limits their learning. Some learners prefer to read information rather than have it spoken. After all, it is difficult to scan through videos, whereas it is possible to use the CTRL-F functionality in written online documents to locate the verbiage you are looking for.
Additionally, some just do not have the time to watch videos, as they read much faster than presenters speak. They may also not have speaker hardware in their office with which to watch educational materials. Still, others may prefer to read books or attend in-person seminars. But, the availability of transcripts for most videos does provide additional help for those who prefer reading the course content.
Quality of the course content
With so much content, users will need to research the credentials of the presenter to make sure they are learning from an expert in the field they wish to explore. It is possible to simply trust LinkedIn to determine who can speak credibly on a topic. But, there are some fields in which a title doesn’t convey expertise. For example, what is a “career coach” or “pioneer in influencer marketing”? Do these titles indicate that the speaker has something valuable to contribute? Possibly, but learners should be aware that LinkedIn Learning is not a credentialed educational source such as a university or community college.
Although learners can obtain continuing education units (CEUs) through LinkedIn Learning, they will not receive accredited certificates or degrees through these offerings. However, LinkedIn Learning Badges can be obtained and displayed on LinkedIn profiles, which are desirable for professional development in some cases.
Still, many of the skill-based courses at LinkedIn Learning provide practical, rather than academic educational opportunities. So long as learners keep a critical eye to the source of the materials, educational quality can be assessed and any concerns about quality can be mitigated.
Viewers may find aspects of videos to be redundant or overused, such as introductory content or tired metaphors. With so much content, there is bound to be some variety in quality.
What about advanced content?
LinkedIn Learning provides thousands of videos on all sorts of business topics. But, will the advanced learner get his or her money’s worth out of this content provider?
In some cases, the answer to this question is an easy “yes”. For example, when it comes to learning specific software on an advanced level, LinkedIn Learning has some fantastic advanced content.
However, in other areas, advanced topics may not provide what the learner is really looking for. And, for some topics, it is difficult to cover advanced material in a video-based format. If an organization is looking to make major changes, advanced videos on various topics are a good starting off point, but it is possible the content will not be a sufficient source of information. Your organization may need to connect with a professional consultant in order to uproot existing poor practices and manifest change, rather than watching videos on the relevant topics.
It’s possible that a course may be listed as advanced while in fact, its content is merely intermediate. This is because it can be difficult to provide advanced content on a broad topic such as management. For example, “De-Escalating Intense Situations” is a video presentation listed as Advanced. However, this is a vital part of training front-line staff. In my view, an advanced program on this topic would also cover how to train one’s team on de-escalation tactics.
Are LinkedIn Learning courses recognized & accredited?
No. LinkedIn Learning courses are educational and valuable, but not accredited. Certificates can be acquired and displayed on the learner’s professional profile, but credits will not transfer. But, LinkedIn Learning does provide continuing educational units (CEUs) for some of their offerings.
Are LinkedIn Learning courses good?
Yes, many of the courses on LinkedIn Learning are superb. They cover a large amount of content, and can provide learners with a rich knowledge base. But, users should research the expertise level of presenters before placing full trust in the content.
Advantages (Pros) of LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Learning is a strong MOOC site for developing new job skills and there are many reasons to use it as a learning tool.
These are some of the biggest advantages of LinkedIn Learning:
Simple to use interface
LinkedIn Learning provides an intuitive learning space with well-built filters and easy navigation. Another unique benefit of the LinkedIn Learning interface is that the front page highlights customized topics to the learners based on their LinkedIn profile.
Breadth of materials covered
One of the many benefits of LinkedIn Learning is the vast amount of material covered. LinkedIn Learning covers a wealth of topics, including creative topics and tech-related topics. The inclusion of Learning Paths is an added bonus that provides many hours of instruction. It sets a course for newbies to tear into concepts they want to know more about. These professional development opportunities let the user tap into new jobs skills. Power BI, SQL, and Python are some examples of the more technical topics available.
Q&As with field experts
LinkedIn Learning provides opportunities to ask and answer questions with and from experts. Users can ask about further areas to follow up on, or about the next steps for learning. To answer these inquiries, presenters pop by to address these learner-generated queries.
Technical topics for advanced learners
Nitty gritty in-the-weeds instruction on advanced level topics can be hard to come by. But, LinkedIn Learning has the goods when it comes to taking your knowledge base to the next level– particularly for technical topics. We have covered some of the platform’s tech-courses in our review of Excel courses, for example. The selection of technical topics is nearly limitless, and anyone interested in tech subjects will find much to learn.
Badges and certificates
Learners can display their professional development achievements with certifications and badges. These are both motivating and desirable to current and future employers. While we don’t place huge emphasis on certificates or badges in our reviews, they are still an added bonus worth considering. If nothing else, they are always a nice extra motivational “push” to keep learning. With self-paced online learning, any extra push is more than welcome in my book.
Dedicated LinkedIn Learning app
LinkedIn Learning is available for both Android and iPhone users. Thus, learners can access material on their commute, while exercising, or while getting ready for work. Or, heck, why not even take courses DURING work – if you are doing tasks that don’t require deep concentration. Having a dedicated smartphone app is always an aspect we look for in our reviews. That’s why we were very glad to see that LinkedIn Learning has a well-functioning app. Learning on the go is one of the most fun parts of e-learning, and apps make it that much more comfortable.
Disadvantages (Cons) of LinkedIn Learning
While LinkedIn learning has many benefits over its competitors, it’s also important to bring attention to some of its flaws. But, it’s worth noting that none of these flaws are major deal-breakers.
These are the main disadvantages of LinkedIn Learning:
Difficulty levels are not always accurate
LinkedIn Learning offers content for all experience levels, which is a positive. But, the classification of difficulty levels is not always as accurate as it could be. Some course offerings are listed at an advanced level when in reality they are intermediate or even beginner. Thus, learners taking an advanced course might find that they need to supplement material with books or seminars. It’s not a major flaw by any means, but it’s an aspect worth considering when shopping around for a new course to take.
LinkedIn Learning does not provide accredited educational material. While some presenters are authors and professors, learners will not be able to transfer credits towards university certificates or degrees, the only exception being continuing educational units (CEUs) from a limited amount of courses. LinkedIn Learning is not unique in this regard, though. Many of our favorite e-learning platforms such as Udacity and DataCamp are also unaccredited. As such, it’s not a major disadvantage.
No variety in content delivery methods
The majority of materials on LinkedIn Learning are either video or audio-based. These types of contents are passive, and many learners, including myself, prefer more active content. After all, some of the main advantages of e-learning are customization and interactivity. Videos are static resources and cannot be changed according to student preferences. Seeing more usage of practical tasks and quizzes would have helped make the learning experience more engaging. But, it is worth mentioning that a few videos did indeed offer quizzes to recap finished units. Therefore, there is some variety in the content delivery methods – perhaps the courses could use some more of it, though.
Conclusion: Is LinkedIn Learning Worth it?
LinkedIn Learning provides a broad spectrum of content through video, audio-based learning. At $29.99 per month, it’s not exactly cheap. But, it’s also not the most expensive we’ve seen. To make the cost worth it, learners should be sure to set aside enough time to truly engage with the content. Researching courses and instructors beforehand ensures that learners get their money’s worth.
While the content on LinkedIn learning is not accredited, it’s not a major deal-breaker for us. After all, a lack of accreditation holds true for the vast majority of MOOC providers. It only means that the courses are not university-backed. That’s it. If you want university-level MOOCs, you’ll be better off with something like Coursera. LinkedIn Learning is more aimed at corporate learners rather than academics.
All in all, LinkedIn Learning is definitely worth it for the serious learner. It’s a superb choice for learners who want to develop strong job skills, but don’t want to pursue certificates or degrees at a university. For the most casual and curious learners, though, the cost of LinkedIn Learning may be a bit steep.