In 2015 LinkedIn purchased Lynda.com, a premier provider in online training. The courses they offer are some of the best around and so are some of their instructors.
It cost LinkedIn a hefty $1.5 billion to take over the platform. After laying low for some time we are now seeing a new major way that LinkedIn plans to use their new asset: integrating it into LinkedIn Learning.
Essentially this integration allows users to integrate their own custom courses into the platform, so whether courses are from Lynda, custom, or developed by third parties, they are all accessible from LinkedIn Learning.
This represents a fundamental shift for LinkedIn. No longer are they simple a content provider but the technology stack makes them a learning management system of sorts. The idea is to help cut the cost of content creation for businesses.
It is reported that the custom content will only be viewable by an organization’s employees. There will be a level of reporting tools as well and the ability to set-up learning paths. Social learning aspects like commenting, liking, and sharing will be there too (leveraging what already exists in LinkedIn).
Does this represent a shift in LinkedIn’s purpose?
This is a fascinating direction for LinkedIn. It appears to piggy-back off of what already existed at Lynda.com, and that’s the ability to hand-pick content that exists on the system already to cut down on the development and technological costs.
It also appears to be the potential beginning of a shift in LinkedIn’s purpose.
The other day I was logged into my own LinkedIn account and found myself questioning its utility. It’s functionality seems a tad dated now compared to other social networks. I also find that I get more spam messages on LinkedIn than anywhere else.
Perhaps leadership was sensing that their product was going stale and that they needed to change focus a bit in a way that is unique to them. Certainly we aren’t going to see a successful Facebook LMS anytime soon.
The bigger question of course is if this is going to work or not?
I think it’s too early to tell. I know that is an easy answer to give but honestly this is still in the very early stages. I think LinkedIn has a heck of a mountain to climb in marketing their LMS. Especially since they won’t be the only ones with custom & informal content libraries (Cornerstone, Skillsoft, and others have had this for years).
Nonetheless, it’s interesting news to follow and something I will be watching closely in the coming months.