Review of Linkedin Learning

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“If you have complaints or concerns, maybe you should write a blog.”

I never knew that it was possible. That I’d be honored with such a retort as the one above, from a salesperson at a booth at ATDTK17.  At the “Linkedin Learning” booth no less.

Prior to that, another interesting quote was presented to me.

“We believe the future of learning is AICC.”

  • When asked why the system does not support SCORM. Once the individual found out that I wrote a blog, the wanted to clarify that it was not “Linkedin’s view’ the future of learning is AICC, rather it was their own personal view.

Had I not stated that I wrote a blog, would the individual have stipulated it was their own opinion?

Because when the future of learning was presented to me, I never said I wrote a blog prior to or after the statement.

I focus only on this, because how many other folks were told the same thing, without the mentioning of the salesperson’s own view on the topic?

I’m not blaming the salesperson for making this statement. If this is what Linkedin believes, so be it. 

If the salesperson was misinformed by whomever provided her this information, than that individual should provide their employees with what is the actual reason (if AICC is not the future of learning).

And honestly, it shouldn’t be. Because AICC is not. 

Unless, it is 2000.

Linkedin Learning

 Early Takeaways

a. You can go from the “learner” side to the “admin side” by clicking the “Admin” link on the learner side BUT to go back, you need to keep open the learner page, while you are in the admin page.   Thus, best to use a browser that has tabs.  

And yes, you read that right, you have to keep open the learner page (I had a browser with tabs) in one tab, and click back and forth with your admin tab.

b.  When you added a “new group” in order to see it on the “group page”, you have to refresh your browser.  Otherwise it won’t appear. 

c. When wanting to add users to a group, and you have the group window open, in order to see the listing of the groups, you have a couple of choices, “by letter, like ‘a’ and everything that has ‘a’ in it appears, or by the group name.”

I wished I could see the entire group list in that pop-up window, rather than trying to remember the “group name”.  My group never showed up in the group pop-up window.  I had forgot to refresh my screen.

d. Some of the courses had times like nine minutes in the catalog search, but when you went into the course, it’s various modules – which in the one I was looking at was chapters, were all over the place. 

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One chapter had pages that were 3 minutes for one topic or area, 5 minutes for another, seven minutes for this one and so forth.

In other words, non one chapter in that course was only nine minutes in length.  On top of that, total run time was something like 40 minutes.

I found several courses that were over an hour in running time.  One random selection was two hours and 40 minutes. Another was over four hours. .

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One of the marketing angles that Linkedin Learning makes is the pitch of micr0-learning.  I’m sorry, a course that is an hour or more in length is not a micro-learning course. 

The UI/UX on each side was funky.  The admin side really was challenging.

The adding a new course, was more of editing and adding sections angle.  It is hard to explain, but in the basics, you have sections of the course. 

You go into the course, and add your own sections to it, which becomes a new chapter if you will and thus you go from there.

I saw where you could add text, but never saw where you could actually add your own video pieces. 

And my inquiry about how it worked, while provided back to me and shown, just increased the confusion.  Yes, I was told it is a built-in authoring tool, but no, you cannot build your own course from the ground-up.

Analytics

If you are expecting some decent analytical data, expect to be dismayed.  I have seen a few vendors go with the histogram angle, but unless I can click the “dot” for further info, I really so zero benefit is just showing me the “dots”.  I should be able to drill down. 

With Linkedin Learning you cannot, nor does it dive in.  Why would I care about unique logins?  I can’t even see that as a plus for external B2B/B2C. 

For B2B/B2C what are people buying, where are they going and blah blah. 

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I’m all about who is using the system, how often, how long  (I’m sorry, just showing the dates and hours viewed – says what?).

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I want what chapters they are going into/pages, and so forth – give me the gritty of it all – that way I can assess what is working, what is not, what do I need to create as an additional course(s), where are the gaps in my learning and on and no.

Courses viewed are just the number of courses viewed and by date.  Again, what does that really tell me as someone running training and or learning?

Heck, even HR overseeing training or L&D?   ZERO.  I cannot extract anything from that to help my learners or customers and especially my training.   Gap what exactly?

The system shows the “most popular courses” – but the unique viewers is again, worthless.  On the flip side, I do like the “visual” showing of the course. But, the duration of the course isn’t relevant. 

 

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Again, how is that supposed to help my training or L&D at my place of business?

That five folks viewed the course that is 10 min and 33 seconds, means what?  Did they all watch the entire course?  You can’t tell with this snippet of high level info.  Better to skip duration and give me better extraction of info – which you can do at a high level.

3rd party authoring tools and third party content providers.

The system does not accept third party authoring tools (i.e. courses built in those tools) nor any third party content – from another vendor. 

Thus if you have Skillsoft courses and want to upload into Linkedin Learning you are out of luck. 

Or if you desire to upload that awesome video course you built in Studio, sorry it is not happening.

Certificates

Only the learner can add them to the course/content/whatever they completed.  The administrator cannot do this, nor create them or edit them or upload them and so forth.

Reports

No ad-hoc.  See below for the reports available in the system.

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Logs

There has been a slight uptick in the number of vendors in the industry that have started to include “logs”.  I have mixed feelings about that, but this log is a listing of the reports you downloaded, the period, among other items.

The better word to use here is ‘Report Activity’ rather than “previous downloads”.  Semantics make all the difference in the world.

Multilingual

If you want multilingual it can be done, but it is not out of the box for free.

You have to let them know what language you want and they will add it to the system, prior to go-live.  The learning platform does not have a lot of languages to select from, as I recall, not even some staples like Latin American Spanish.

Feature wise, I was surprised how poor the system was in the area.  

I couldn’t figure out if it was just the Lynda.com site re-branded or if Linkedin Learning had overhauled this thing or it was built from ground-up with the Lynda.com content just pressed in there.

In the speaker’s lounge, there was a person who had worked at Lynda.com and gave me the impression that it was the Lynda.com platform just re-branded.  

I didn’t delve into details, since the pronouncement came unsolicited.  

What I did like

The admin home page providing some help on the page.  The rest of it, uh overhaul would be the appropriate word here.  A dashboard is a dashboard – high level for the administrator. That is not the case here.

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Course Catalog

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I like the visual look on it.  I couldn’t figure out what is the difference between a video which is covering information that enables people to extract knowledge and thus learn versus a course, which is uh, a video too (at least the ones I looked at).

Course Transcript with the course being shown

While the course is playing there is a transcript below the video.  You can highlight any of the text and it will go right to where that sentence, phrase is in the course. 

I liked that, but what I felt was missing was the ability to move over those various pieces on the side (two column approach) and then allow the user to go back and pick any of those phrases, or paragraphs afterward.

Secondly, the course I tested it with, the “video” was on the player without any navigation. In other words, you just went to the area in the video following a linear approach.

Sure, you could go from far to the right in the video, back to the left start of the video, but I would get super bored with it.

Thus, the two column approach makes more sense – it just flows better.  

Number of courses

I was told by one of the salespeople that there are over 9,000 courses in the platform.  When I asked whether or not, Linkedin culled (i.e. went thru each course ) and cleaned up – i.e. removed the ones that were poor, outdated, and so forth, I was told in no uncertain terms that yes, the content development team does do that.

Based on what I saw, again random selections, it did not seem to be the case.

Bottom Line

I never understood the value or reasons why LinkedIn would pay 1.5 billion dollars to buy a 3rd party content provider (i.e. Lynda.com). 

I mean, I got the reason why, but LinkedIn IMO hasn’t maximized what they could and should have done out of the gate. 

That is part of the problem.

The other, and the one which this review is focused upon, is the Linkedin Learning solution itself.

I went in expecting to be stunned in a plus way.

What I got was something else.

And it wasn’t good

More of a minus.

E-Learning 24/7

Note:  You can also interface Linkedin Learning into your own LMS.

 

 

 

 

11 comments

  1. Thanks for the heads-up! I haven’t tried the new systems for myself yet, just signed up for a demo. In LinkedIn’s defense, it’s never easy to diversify, so let’s give them some leeway. The acquisition of Lynda.com was a smart move with crystal clear business goals: connecting potential job candidates with educational/upskilling materials. You have to factor that in when comparing with academia-focused LMSs.

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  2. Thanks for the heads-up! I haven’t tried the new systems for myself yet, just signed up for a demo. In LinkedIn’s defense, it’s never easy to diversify, so let’s give them some leeway. The acquisition of Lynda.com was a smart move with crystal clear business goals: connecting potential job candidates with educational/upskilling materials. You have to factor that in when comparing with academia-focused LMSs.

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    1. I wasn’t comparing them to HE or Edu, rather corporate LMSs. And with all due respect, I understand why they bought them, but I do not see how someone will look at your job profile and go, “Hey, she completed a course in Adobe Photoshop 2011, so I’m going to want to bring them into an interview.” – Show me the value add, to someone seeking to hire someone. The only potential would be a certificate needed or completion of courses needed for a special certification, but the value of WBT is the ability for the learner to bounce around the course focusing on what is relevant to them – you want them to go back in the course? This is how it is done. Thus, for the person who is actually utilizing WBT the way it is supposed to work, a “completion” wouldn’t be the value add.

      And no, Linkedin doesn’t get a pass. You drop 1.5B on a company you better have a game plan and understand online learning – personally, I never saw that in their acquisition. Lynda.com is a content provider not an LMS vendor. And on top of that, as noted, I did not see the scrubbing of courses that were outdated or poorly done.

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  3. Hi Craig. Did I miss the section(s) where you critiqued the:

    •quality of instruction?
    •credentials of the instructors?
    •accuracy of the content?
    •relevance of the course offerings?

    Am I right to expect “A Review of Linkedin Learning” to include such?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Instruction? It’s an online learning system, not classroom based. You can do what you want with how you want to use it and BTW, it does not offer classroom management functionality. Again, accuracy of the content is based on their algorithim which is closed, and on everyone in the linkedin learning system i.e. community. I want to have my learners see what is relevant based on the other learners at my company, not what Joe’s Gas and Guzzle’s employees like or do not like. Relevance – again, first off – it is only Lynda.com content (which is a mixed bag, and a lot if like 10 hrs plus content, not culled or vetted i.e. cleaned up), you cannot upload your own courses/content into the system, a major minus.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your reply Craig. I’m confused though: When did instruction stop being instruction just because it’s on-demand video based? Are there instructors? Are they instructing?

        Also, “accuracy is based on their algorithm?” Ok…but have you taken the Classroom Management course? What’s your critique of it? Is the content relevant and accurate? Is the trainer concise and engaging?

        Are the course offerings reflective of skills in demand in the current job market ? Which courses are excellent? Which are not.

        In my opinion your review comes off well articulated, but focused the parsley and potato. Not the ribeye. Thanks again.

        Larry

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      2. Okay, any algorithim in an LMS does not look at classroom management – which is designed for F2F training, not online. Secondly, an instructor can be someone who provides a webinar or seminar. You would not say for the corporate space, an instructor for creating a video or an online WBT course (i.e. e-learning course). The people who build such, actually prefer not to have their name on it – and I concur (assuming they are internal or you hired a 3rd party vendor here).

        The algorithim looks at the courses – the content which can include videos at this point – and only that. It does not yet, to my knowledge consider additional variables such as skill ratings, HRIS variables or ERP related depending on integration. It does not consider viewing articles, PDFs, etc. – again to my knowledge at this point. Even if it did, then again it is another variable.

        But again, and I stress this – an algorithim is not intended to look at every function in an LMS, nor is it designed or used with any vendor tied to classroom management, let alone F2F training.

        An algorithim at this point is not AI – let’s be clear on that. It’s goal is to push our content it sees (based on a set of variables) as relevant to the viewer (i.e. learner).

        As for the course offerings – I think there are – there is a lot of content out there in the global 3rd party providers, but it depends on what skills etc. And, for me the course has to be engaging and interactive. Watching a video of a screen record of software isn’t interactive to me, unless I can follow the show me, let me do it.

        Thus, I believe I did present the ribeye. With extra sauce.

        Cheers,

        Craig

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