Texas A&M moved from Lynda.com to LinkedIn Learning to provide students with access to more online courses with additional features.
Kyle Page, director of technology services for the provost’s IT office, said Lynda.com’s learning resources have been purchased by LinkedIn and will no longer be used at the university.
“Lynda.com was purchased a few years ago by LinkedIn, who then developed their own learning platform which they called LinkedIn Learning,” Page said. “Subsequently, all Lynda.com customers had to migrate to the new platform.”
Page also said there are several advantages to using LinkedIn Learning over its predecessor.
“The biggest difference is there’s more content, and it’s easier to navigate, and it has better integration with LMS platforms, which are learning management systems,” Page said. . “Currently it’s not attached to the current Blackboard system, eCampus, because it’s too old, but as we move to the next LMS next year, LinkedIn will be integrated so faculty can better assign courses.”
LinkedIn Learning now offers 13,000 free online courses, according to A&M’s IT division. The online content is aimed at students and teachers, with courses such as technology and software training as well as courses more focused on creativity, such as drawing.
Jocelyn Widmer, deputy provost of the Department of Academic Innovation, said one of the features of the new system is “badging”. This means that there will be proof of accreditation for having taken the courses, which could help students in the future.
“The cool thing about connecting LinkedIn Learning to LinkedIn is that badges earned from courses taken translate to your LinkedIn profile, which will hopefully inspire students to create LinkedIn profiles,” said Widmer said. “As students enter the professional arena, these skill badges become a kind of currency.”
Widmer said students have already started using LinkedIn Learning to build new skills with the courses offered.
“When I was in graduate school, I taught myself Photoshop on my own,” Widmer said. “There was no Lynda.com, so it was just trial and error. Now I know some of the student workers we have in the Office of Academic Innovation frequently use LinkedIn Learning.”
Widmer said A&M faculty should also take advantage of the resources available to them. LinkedIn Learning offers courses that can be useful for both staff and students.
“As we continue to amplify LinkedIn Learning and try to drive adoption, what we need to make sure we don’t forget is all staff who can also benefit from LinkedIn Learning by gaining professional development through the platform,” Widmer said.
Page was in the cybersecurity engineering program at A&M and heard a lot of feedback from engineering students and others. He said many students use this platform to prepare for life after college.
“Bush School cybersecurity students, most of them are in international affairs,” Page said. “They’re using it to prepare for some of the certifications they can get to help them when they graduate, so they’ll have those in place.”
Widmer said the Office for Academic Innovation is working to combine LinkedIn Learning with other online tools such as Zoom, an online video conferencing service, to improve the system.
“The time saved by a faculty member teaching some of the most rote skills covered by LinkedIn Learning to enable faculty to have more engaging and insightful conversations through tools like real-time Zoom, which are synchronous and interactive,” Widmer said.
Page said one of the main issues is lack of knowledge. He said too few people knew about the system’s availability and that it could get more publicity. To combat this, they added LinkedIn Learning to the Howdy portal.
“It’s a great tool for teachers and students alike,” Page said. “The adoption rate is low. One of the reasons Dr. Widmer’s office took on this is to champion it.
Page said he expects the platform to grow in popularity in the future.
“It’s a great platform,” Page said. “Over the next few years, especially when we get to the new LMS, the adoption rate will really start to take off.”