Can LinkedIn Learning Help You Train Your Employees?



A month after LinkedIn launched its e-learning platform in partnership with Lynda.com, companies say they are using courses to teach employees programming, writing and leadership skills.

Image: LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s e-learning platform launched a month ago, and several companies have indicated that they are encouraging employees to take advantage of the opportunity to learn new technology and business skills.

LinkedIn Learning combines content from Lynda.com with professional data and network from LinkedIn. LinkedIn now has over 450 million member profiles and has gathered information on how jobs, industries, organizations, and skills have changed over time. Classes are available for free with a LinkedIn Premium subscription for individuals. An enterprise version will also be available soon, the company said.

“From there, we can identify the skills you need and offer expert-led courses to help you learn those skills,” a LinkedIn spokesperson told TechRepublic. “We take the guesswork out of learning.”

This was the natural direction for the company, following the acquisition of Lynda in 2015, said Elliott Masie, president of the Learning Consortium, a coalition of 230 global organizations working on the evolution of learning strategies. The move also comes after Microsoft’s takeover of LinkedIn earlier this year.

“There is a huge desire for two things that often seem contradictory: How do we make our employees intelligent and in-depth learners, and how do we do it with as little disruption as possible? Masie said. “A lot of groups do this stuff, but LinkedIn can have the advantage that people look to them not just for today’s work but for tomorrow’s work. It has potential employee appeal. which could encourage participation. ”

SEE: 5 Things CIOs Need to Lead Digital Transformation

The company’s library includes more than 9,000 digital courses taught by industry experts, covering a range of business, creative and technical topics, including soft leadership skills, design principles and programming. LinkedIn adds at least 25 new courses per week, the spokesperson said.

Managers can customize multi-course “learning paths” for employees and review analytics to measure employee progress. The company does not currently share the number of people who have taken courses through the platform.

The best skills required

Last week, LinkedIn released a list of the skills most in demand among global employers and employers in the United States and 17 other countries, after analyzing all recruiting activity on the platform since January. Cloud and distributed computing topped the list, followed by statistical analysis and data mining, mobile development, storage systems and management, user interface design and network and information security.

From October 24 to 30, LinkedIn is hosting a “Learning Week,” offering more than 5,000 courses, including those that teach these top skills, free to professionals. You can find out more here.

Masie said he expects many companies to encourage participation in these courses, rather than requiring them. The platform differs from MOOCs or other online courses in that companies can track employee progress, he said.

“We are seeing more and more organizations accepting and adopting tailor-made training,” Masie said. “If the learner is motivated, this is a great opportunity.”

Who uses LinkedIn Learning?

Here’s how four companies became the early adopters of LinkedIn Learning:

  • Expertsure.com, a British green energy company

Expertsure.com CEO Ollie Smith doesn’t require employees to attend LinkedIn Learning courses, but strongly encourages it by offering incentives to take certain courses.

“The reason is simple: if you think you’ve reached a point in your career where you don’t have anything new to learn, you are wrong and you are likely to fail,” Smith said. “We don’t want our employees to fail, not only for our good but for theirs as well.”

Each week, the management team collectively selects a course that it deems interesting for the employees. If workers take enough classes over a period of time, they are entitled to bonuses, extra power take-off, vacations and other benefits, Smith said. “It’s our way of letting them know that we appreciate the fact that they want to improve,” he said. “Each of us should want it, which is why I participate in our LinkedIn Learning program as well.”

The most popular courses so far have been in SEO, Project Management, Marketing / Sales, and Writing Skills. “What I love about LinkedIn is learning from the experts in the field,” Smith said. “These are real and useful things. These are not textbooks that you will read and forget. ”

  • Ace Work Gear, an American e-commerce site

Max Robinson, owner of Ace Work Gear, had previously outsourced website maintenance and promotional writing. Today, a few employees are using LinkedIn Learning to learn programming, and if they are successful, they will also take writing classes, Robinson said.

“By developing employee skills, I was able to rely less on outsourcing important work that we need and I was able to reduce costs,” said Robinson.

  • FM Outsource, a UK digital marketing company

At FM Outsource, employees have four hours per week to work on LinkedIn Learning courses. The marketing team recently completed an Adobe Illustrator course, according to marketing executive Abbey Brown. “We have found this to be an incredibly useful resource,” said Brown. “We are a company that massively promotes CPD, with salary structures strongly influenced by individual development and training. ”

The company also rarely hires people for senior positions and prefers to hire recent college graduates and “develop their skills from home” using e-learning materials like LinkedIn Learning in combination with more traditional courses, a. Brown said.

The company pays for premium LinkedIn subscriptions. Many offerings aren’t relevant to the business – for example, some courses on a more general topic like content marketing are too broad, Brown said. But those focused on specific skills, such as Adobe products, are very useful, she added.

“People in the tech industry are sometimes afraid to admit a lack of knowledge and may fear that this will make them inexperienced,” Brown said. “But it shows a passion for learning and growing, which is exactly what a good business needs.”

  • OHM Advisors, an American company with 400 employees in the architecture, engineering and planning industry

OHM Advisors has created a corporate university to provide professional development and training for staff. Known as OHM University, it will use LinkedIn Learning as its central offering.

Most Lynda courses will be optional for employees. A small number of courses on topics such as effective discipline and meeting facilitation will be needed to promote certain career paths, said human resources manager Kelly Jackson.

Some of the company’s technical disciplines require training in specialized AutoDesk software, and the availability of these courses through LinkedIn Learning was one of the main reasons the company chose the platform, Jackson said. .

Advice to technology leaders

For tech leaders, Masie offers the following advice: If you want an employee to learn a certain skill, such as HTML5, through an online course, you should also assign them a project, real or simulated, that requires them to use these new skills in a business capacity.

“Learners want to learn and do better, but generally don’t want to go back to school,” Masie said. “The opportunity with LinkedIn is that they have this larger relationship with a learner around their career, and their offers are seen as positive but don’t require you to put on your school hat, and they are valued by an organization. , it’s a win-win-win. ”

The 3 big points to remember for TechRepublic readers

  1. In September, LinkedIn announced LinkedIn Learning, an online learning platform that makes more than 9,000 courses from Lynda.com available to LinkedIn Premium subscribers.
  2. This offering differs from other online training options in that managers can customize multi-course “learning paths” for employees and review analytics to measure employee progress.
  3. A number of companies are encouraging their employees to take courses on the platform, and an enterprise version is on the way, according to LinkedIn.

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