LinkedIn Learning

Texas A&M has made the switch from Lynda.com to LinkedIn Learning to give students access to more online courses with some additional features.

Kyle Page, director of Technology Services in the Provost IT Office, said the learning resources from Lynda.com were purchased by LinkedIn and will no longer be used at the university.

“Lynda.com was purchased a couple years ago by LinkedIn, which then developed its own platform for learning which they called LinkedIn Learning,” Page said. “Subsequently, all of the Lynda.com customers had to migrate to the new platform.”

Page also said there are multiple benefits to using LinkedIn Learning rather than its predecessor.

“The biggest difference is that there is more content, and navigation is easier, and it has better integration with LMS platforms, which are Learning Management Systems,” Page said. “Currently, it is not attached to the current Blackboard system, the eCampus, because it’s too old, but as we move to the next LMS next year, LinkedIn will be integrated in such a way that faculty can better assign courses.”

LinkedIn Learning now offers 13,000 online courses free of charge, according to A&M’s Division of lT. The online content is catered to students and faculty, with classes such as technology and software training as well as more creativity-based lessons, like drawing.

Jocelyn Widmer, assistant provost of the Department of Academic Innovation, said one feature of the new system is “badging”. This means there will be proof of credentials from taking the classes, which could help students in the future.

“What is neat about the connection of LinkedIn Learning to LinkedIn is that badges earned through courses completed translate into your LinkedIn profile, which hopefully drives students to create LinkedIn profiles,” Widmer said. “As students move into the professional arena, these badges for skills become a kind of currency.”

Widmer said students have already taken to using LinkedIn Learning to develop new skills with the courses that it offers.

“When I was in graduate school, I taught myself to use Photoshop,” Widmer said. “There was no Lynda.com, so it was just trial and error. Now I know that some of the student workers that we have in the Office for Academic Innovation are frequently using LinkedIn Learning.”

Widmer said the faculty at A&M should also take advantage of the resources available to them. LinkedIn Learning offers courses that can be useful to staff as well as students.

“As we continue to amplify LinkedIn Learning and try to drive adoption, what we need to make sure we are not forgetting about is all of the 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 has heard a lot of feedback from engineering students and others. He said many of the students use this platform to help themselves become more prepared for life after college.

“The Bush School students in cybersecurity, most of them are in international affairs,” Page said. “They are using it to prepare themselves 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 pair 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 more rote skills that LinkedIn Learning covers to allow faculty to have more engaging, insightful conversations through tools such as Zoom in real time, that are synchronous and interactive,” Widmer said.

Page said one main problem is lack of knowledge. He said not enough people know about the availability of the system, and it could be advertised more. To combat this, they have added LinkedIn Learning to the Howdy portal.

“It’s an awesome tool for both faculty and students,” Page said. “The adoption rate is low. One of the reasons why Dr. Widmer’s office has taken it on is to sort of champion it.”

Page said he expects the platform to gain popularity in the future.

“It’s a great platform,” Page said. “Over the coming years, especially when we get to the new LMS, the adoption rate will truly start to take off.”

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