Once upon a time, there was Lynda.com—an excellent course-driven learning platform (which you can read more about in our full guide).
LinkedIn swooped in to buy it, and then Microsoft swooped in to buy LinkedIn, so now big poppa Bill Gates is running the show.
How has the integration gone, what was lost, and what was gained?
Overall, how does LinkedIn Learning work as an online education platform? There’s a lot to cover here.
In our comprehensive LinkedIn Learning review, we’ll discuss why it both serves a tremendous purpose, and why it fails some specific industries. For the types of jobs with constantly changing information, practices, and methods, LinkedIn learning is great. Hobbyists? Not so much.
What is LinkedIn Learning?
LinkedIn Learning is an online education platform designed to help you learn new skills, advance your current skills, and become better at the job you have or the job you want. It’s all about building work-friendly skills that help bring you to a new level.
Formerly Lynda.com, LinkedIn Learning carried over a lot of their courses and information, but with Microsoft being the owners of LinkedIn, you can expect to see changes if you were previously a Lynda.com member or user.
At the end of the day, LinkedIn Learning is an intuitive platform that’s easy to navigate (especially if you’re already used to using LinkedIn), and helps you directly connect with jobs and career paths through solid, credit-worthy certifications.
Why Use LinkedIn Learning?
Do you want unbridled access to some of the best educational minds on the internet?
LinkedIn Learning isn’t user-generated content—it’s developed by professionals, and proven to be effective in teaching you skills without being boring or mind-numbing.
There are over 16,000 online courses with more being added on a constant basis—up to fifty every single week—and above all else, LinkedIn Learning is with you wherever you go.
Tablet, laptop, phone, PC, you name it—you don’t ever have to stop learning. Unplug the tablet that you’re using as an extra monitor and bring it with you on-the-go during your morning commute. The power to learn quickly and effectively is in your hands.
Last but not least, the pricing for LinkedIn Learning is one of the most budget-friendly packages out there for this level of educational content. You’re not just subscribing to one course that hasn’t been updated in years; you’re getting a fresh batch of courses all the time.
LinkedIn Learning Ease of Use
If you want to learn something online, anything at all, LinkedIn learning would be the ideal palec to do it.
If you’re already familiar with the way that LinkedIn looks and feels, it’s going to take maybe one afternoon to get used to the way LinkedIn Learning is designed. Even if you’re completely new to it, you won’t encounter many issues.
LinkedIn Learning boasts a simple UI, and an easy way to navigate the 16,000+ online courses to find exactly what you want. When you locate that course that catches your eye, becoming a student is simple. You’ll see one or two prompts telling you to proceed to become a student of that class.
Could there be a few improvements? Yes. Everything can alway be optimized just a little bit better, but as far as first impressions go, LinkedIn Learning is easy to navigate. When it comes to actually taking your courses, things can get a little complicated depending on the specific course.
When a course has a lot of information and modules, even when it’s displayed in a primarily linear format, you can still run into a bit of congestion.
Courses that include a lot of informational material in PDFs, PNGs, and other attachments can begin to feel overwhelming. The site itself is easy to use, but some courses aren’t optimized for the best ease-of-use experience.
LinkedIn Learning Pricing
It’s a very no-BS, no-frills pricing package, which you don’t often run into with a lot of online education platforms.
There’s a single price point, so you either pay $29.99 per month on an ongoing basis, or you can pay $299.99 for the year, and save yourself sixty bucks along the way.
That’s it; you don’t have to jump through hoops. Your LinkedIn Learning subscription starts from when you pay, not on the first day of the month or on some weird cycle. You can pick it up and put it down as needed.
When it comes to pricing for LinkedIn Premium accounts, it’s a different story. This is through LinkedIn’s primary site, where you can choose to either upgrade to Career or Business, each of which have their own perks. There’s also just the Premium Essentials plan, but it doesn’t really cover our needs for learning.
When you sign up with a LinkedIn Premium account, you can get access to LinkedIn Learning at no additional charge. Now, the thing is, you can get access to LinkedIn Learning through any of their premium plans, of which there are four. They range from $29.99 per month to $119.99 per month.
If you plan on using LinkedIn to hunt down jobs or internships to expedite your learning, you can benefit from a premium account. You don’t have to exclusively sign up with a learning account, because the other benefits you get for job-seeking alone are invaluable.
What Types of Courses Does LinkedIn Learning Offer?
Not sure what skill you want to train? You have tons to choose from, so why not start with a random one and just hit the ground running?
There are courses such as:
- Microsoft Excel Mastery: It’s a Microsoft program on a Microsoft-owned site, so you know the course has to be good.
- Programming Foundations: Learn the basics of computer programming from some of the most gifted minds.
- Digital Marketing: Want to know how the biggest brands stay relevant online and make money? This is the ticket.
- Time Management: An often-undervalued skill in the age of efficiency and technology. Managing your time will ironically help you study more effectively.
- Charisma and Communication: If public speaking or team-leading isn’t your thing, you can learn it here.
- AWS Training: As arguably the biggest cloud platform out there, this teaches you how to work with them (and can help you get a job there).
That’s just a bite-sized morsel of the different types of courses LinkedIn Learning offers. While this isn’t a site designed for hobbyists as everything pertains to career-building or work in general, you can learn a ton of awesome skills here.
When you use modules in any online platform, you’re on a learning path that helps you acquire the important parts of a lesson and learn them more effectively.
Learning paths or learning pathways are specific digital learning patterns, and as one of the leading job sites in the world, LinkedIn Learning knows how to teach you in a way that makes you more appealing to employers.
LinkedIn Learning Certification
This is where they dropped the ball. You can get certified, but it’s just a little add-on that gets tacked onto your profile.
It’s nothing prolific. You could bring the credentials of you completing one of these courses with you to another platform or to apply for a position somewhere, but it’s not accredited, so you may run into some roadblocks.
What Makes LinkedIn Learning Stand Out From the Competition?
It’s cheap, it’s plentiful, it’s professional, and it works. That may sound incredibly simple, but that’s the beauty of it—LinkedIn Learning is a collective of highly-trained professionals, afforded to you at a budget-friendly price.
What you learn helps you morvein your career or start a new one. It helps you grow immediately. The only reason this isn’t too good to be true is because companies like Microsoft can price things low without worrying about losing money right away.
They have cash to burn, so they want to make the most attractive, competitive learning platform out there to hook you in, but you get to benefit from it.
LinkedIn Learning Analytics
In terms of analytics, there isn’t much here. You can see your course progress, but that’s about it.
There’s no tracker for how many minutes you’ve spent in a course. That can be frustrating if you know it’s a four-hour course, and you want to track your progress through it to see how well you’ve done on a minute-to-minute basis.
LinkedIn Learning Customer Service
It’s a Microsoft company. I’m not trying to use that as the entire argument here, but Lynda.com used to have top-notch customer service, and now it simply doesn’t.
The bureaucracy of business has definitely left an impression on LinkedIn Learning, because while customer service gets back to you quickly at first, responses can take a while.
The experience of contacting customer support takes a while overall. It feels like customer service agents are looking up a big thesaurus of problems and trying to direct you in the best way they can, so kudos to them, but it’s far from perfect. That being said, the billing department is on-point with their customer care.
Pros and Cons of LinkedIn Learning
We’ve tooted LinkedIn Learning, and while it’s been out for years and by the time of writing this they’ve had plenty of opportunities to enhance their site, nobody can get everything right.
Let’s shoot down a list of the benefits and setbacks of LinkedIn learning before you go.
- Budget-Friendly Pricing: Cancel Netflix and shave off three frappuccinos per month, and you can pay for LinkedIn Learning. Joking aside, the budget-friendly price is something a lot of us can afford, and many times you can have learning a new job-related skill subsidized by your workplace, so that’s worth checking out.
- Endless Options: I say endless because there’s no way you’re going to go through all fifty new courses every week (I’m pretty sure it averages out to be more than 168 hours of new content, so it’s literally impossible to stay ahead). There’s so much to learn; everyone can find something to sink their teeth into on LinkedIn Learning.
- Light on Features: While some may say this is a negative, when you actually experience LinkedIn Learning, it’s a benefit to you. With a simple and easy to navigate UI, you don’t get lost or stray off-course. Yes, other platforms have more features for learning, but are you ever going to use every single one of them?
- No Accreditation: While you can get a certificate for completing a course, there’s no accreditation. Because this is done through LinkedIn’s entire network, you can display your completion/certificate on your LinkedIn profile, and that can help you out in some ways, but it’s nothing you can take with you. For some of us, LinkedIn works for finding a new position or freelance gigs, and for some of us it doesn’t. You should be able to take that certificate with you and have it mean the same no matter where you go.
- Content is Similar: There’s not a lot of hands-on content. You’re viewing videos, reading PDFs, or viewing attachments, but in careers like coding, programming, copywriting and more, you’re not getting hands-on experience despite being taught by a leading expert.
Is LinkedIn Learning the Ultimate Job Skill Learning Center Online?
LinkedIn Learning is great to develop skills for a field transfer, or to increase your current job knowledge so that you can seek an internal promotion. LinkedIn Learning has its place, but it’s not designed for hobbyists.
There are other platforms that you should use if you’re trying to develop a skill for personal enjoyment, such as photography or drawing.
That being said, LinkedIn Learning can help you get a job by giving you high-quality education in a digestible, easy-to-understand manner. They’ve done a phenomenal job at making the entire platform very intuitive and helpful, so you won’t have to seek many external resources to get a solid, quality education on a variety of subjects.