LinkedIn loves to learn. Today the social media site for professionals announced an online learning portal with thousands of courses aimed at helping individuals pivot or pick up new skills for their careers.
If that offering sounds like what one might find on Lynda.com, which LinkedIn acquired 18 months ago for $1.5 billion, that’s because it is. The new product, LinkedIn Learning, includes all 5,000 courses published on Lynda.com, and any new courses created will be published on both platforms.
“Learning and development has become one of our most important priorities,” LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said at a press event in the company’s San Francisco office Thursday morning.
“Increasingly predictions of tech displacing workers are coming to fruition,” he added. “The idea that you can study a skill once and have a job for the rest of your life—those days are over.”
Don’t know what skills to brush up on? LinkedIn boasts it can suggest content from Lynda.com based on data in a user’s LinkedIn profile. A marketing manager might receive recommendations for a course in Google Analytics or HTML, based on her job title and the skills she’s already posted in her profile, for example. Users will see courses in business, technology, creative and leadership skills.
The new offering is included in a LinkedIn Premium subscription, or users can pay for it as a standalone feature for $29.99 per month ($300 for an annual subscription). LinkedIn Learning will also offer free courses from “influencers”—industry and thought leaders selected by the company.
Lynda.com users will have the opportunity to combine their accounts and access courses in both platforms. The company has no plans to force Lynda.com users to use the LinkedIn versions “for the forseeable future,” according to Tanya Staples, senior director of content and production at LinkedIn.
As with most of its offerings, LinkedIn has its eyes on the enterprise for the new learning platform. Companies will be able to purchase licenses for employees and recommend or assign courses to them. Ellie Mae and NBCUniversal are among the early users that have been piloting LinkedIn Learning for the past few months.
Companies will also be able to create their own “learning paths”—bundles of courses around a particular topic—to train employees. A chief learning officer, for instance, might compile a package of courses in product management and ask 10 employees to complete the assignments over the course of a few months.
“The useful shelf-life of skills has shrunk to less than five years,” Staples said. “Organizations need to continually skill and retrain employees to be competitive and retain top talent.”
LinkedIn is also targeting higher-education institutions with the new offering. It is marketing the solution as a professional development tool that can help faculty learn how to use classroom tools such as Moodle, Adobe Captivate and learning management systems.
LinkedIn Learning is available in English today, with French, Japanese, German and Spanish versions forthcoming.
In addition to its e-learning debut, LinkedIn also announced an overhaul of its news feed and messaging features. The company, which is in the midst of being acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion, is building an “economic graph” to match talent with job opportunities across the globe.
Weiner says the learning platform is the last building block in its ambitious effort to close the skills gap. “For years we believed the learning component was part of completing the economic graph. We ultimately wanted to be in position where we could provide coursework—not just recommend it.”