LinkedIn is again expanding its professional learning options by integrating content into LinkedIn Learning from outside companies that are focused on education.
On Friday, Microsoft-owned LinkedIn announced that Harvard Business Publishing and four other well-known names in college and workforce education will make their content available through the LinkedIn Learning platform. The outside materials will be able to exist alongside what LinkedIn says are now more than 13,000 expert-led courses. Those types of courses had been the focus of Lynda.com before LinkedIn acquired Lynda in 2015, and which LinkedIn then built upon the following year to create LinkedIn Learning.
LinkedIn says the integrations will allow organizations to offer their employees all types of learning materials — LinkedIn’s courses, third-party content, and an enterprise’s own custom content — in a single place. In addition, companies that use LinkedIn Learning will be able to create custom learning paths that blend all three types of materials.
The first integrations, due sometime in 2019, include Harvard ManageMentor (leadership development), getAbstract (book summaries and TED talks), Big Think (video lessons), Treehouse (coding and product design), and Creative Live (creative professional content). LinkedIn will not sell the partners’ content, but if an individual or organization has paid access, they will be able to get to the materials through LinkedIn Learning.
“The purpose of these integration partnerships is to help companies provide a central place to access, search, and discover all of their organization’s content,” Tanya Staples, LinkedIn Learning vice president of content, told GeekWire. “By doing so this will help increase usage and learner engagement.”
LinkedIn is also rolling out a new “Q&A” feature to let learners ask questions and receive responses directly from an instructor or others taking a course.
While positioned by LinkedIn as “peer-to-peer learning,” it’s a type of feature more common in dedicated online instructional platforms and learning management systems. Those generally are used in higher education, as part of corporate training, or for MOOCs (massively open online courses), and include Blackboard Learn, Moodle, Coursera, Udacity, edX and others. LinkedIn says learners will also be able to see notes and tips from others taking the same course.
LinkedIn said the changes reflect the deepening role of LinkedIn’s learning platform within an enterprise context, and also opens up another method for third parties like colleges and education material providers to distribute educational content.
As to Lynda, Staples says they are in the process of migrating all of their customers from Lynda.com to LinkedIn Learning. “Once that is complete, Lynda.com will no longer exist as a separate site,” she said.
“We see a need to give organizations the tools to create a single destination for learning, which allows them to combine the professional, up-to-date content we offer, with their own organizations’ content, and with other paid content sources in a single, personalized, social learning experience platform that employees will engage with,” Staples said.