Colleges classes used to be the gatekeepers of learning—but no longer. We live in the internet age, where you can get information on anything with a simple click of a button. Want to know the capital of Austria? Google it. Want a recipe for chocolate cookies? Pinterest has it. Want to see videos of cute cats? YouTube it is.
But what if your questions and video watching did more than just fill up your boredom? What if they could grow you as a person? What if they could help you get a better job?
That’s what online course sites aim to do. With how-to and teaching videos galore, they want to equip you with skills for the real world—skills that will make you a more marketable employee, and maybe let you land that job you’ve always wanted. But anyone can create an online course and say they’re teaching a class—how do you know if it’s actually reliable? Which of these sites can you trust? And are they actually worth the money?
We’re diving into one of these online-course sites, originally named Lynda.com, but now known as LinkedIn Learning, to see if it’s right for you. Let’s take a closer look with this LinkedIn Learning review.
What Is LinkedIn Learning?
Lynda was founded in 1995, and was acquired by LinkedIn in 2015. They strive to help “anyone learn business, software, technology, and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals.” They are a subscription-based library of learning videos, taught by recognized experts in each field. They serve over 10,000 organizations, and have tutorials in 5 languages: English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. It is now part of LinkedIn’s larger organization, which strives to “create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”
How LinkedIn Learning Works
To begin using LinkedIn Learning, you need to create an account. While there is a free trial month, you still need to input some payment info, as well as create a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn accounts do require phone verification—but even that is a simple and quick process.
Once you create an account, you can flesh out your profile by entering the skills you want to learn, so that LinkedIn Learning can instantly begin recommending courses and lessons for you. Alternatively, you can go straight to browsing, looking through topics such as data analysis, graphic design, and leadership skills.
As you’re looking for courses which interest you, you can filter them by level (Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced), as well as by length. Once you find a lesson which interests you, you can see the author, length, and how many people are watching a certain video in its description. You can click on the lesson title to begin learning right away, or click through the entire course to see a preview, the structure, and any downloadable files.
Once you’re ready to begin learning, you can settle into your chair, couch, or wherever else you’d like, as LinkedIn Learning has an app for almost every device—Apple, iOS, and even ones that will work on your television screen. As you watch, you have the option to speed up the playback, or to skip back 10 seconds to hear anything you might have missed. There are continuous playback options, to simply continue through all the lessons in a course, as well as closed captioning. You can also download a single lesson or an entire course onto your device, so you can continue learning on the go.
Once you complete a course, and any homework it may have had with it, you can earn a certificate, which is then displayed on your LinkedIn profile.
Is LinkedIn Learning Cheap?
Is LinkedIn Learning cheap? The simple answer is, no—but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the price. A monthly subscription costs $29.99 each month, or if you register for a year it costs 19.99 a month. However, your first month is free, so that first year will ultimately costs you about $220. This is more expensive than other video-course sites, and some of those sites charge you per video, rather than monthly. However, taking multiple courses on those sites may end up costing you more than a monthly subscription to LinkedIn Learning—and LinkedIn Learning’s subscription gives you access to all their courses.
There are also many ways to access LinkedIn Learning for free. Many libraries offer it as a free resource, and some colleges do as well. While you might have to search a bit to find out if your library offers it (Googling your library’s name and Lynda.com together, or searching through the library’s resource page), often all it requires to access is your library card’s number. Once you’ve logged in using that, you can access all of LinkedIn Learning’s library on any of your devices. College accounts work much the same way—simply sign in using your university’s name in the organization segment of LinkedIn Learning’s page.
Is LinkedIn Learning Reliable?
One question you always face in using an online-course platform is if the information being taught is reliable and up to date. Fortunately, LinkedIn Learning updates their materials regularly, and releases new videos weekly. This ensures that you are learning the newest information—which is important if you’re using a software like Adobe or Bootstrap that might have just released a completely new version that is formatted differently from the previous ones.
The site’s connection also allows you to check the reliability of the instructors. Each video displays its author’s name—a name which you can click to instantly see their LinkedIn profile. This allows you to judge whether the instructor is actually reputable in this field, and whether you want to learn from him and his methods. You’re also enabled to see the profiles of those who are watching each course, which gives you insight into how helpful each video is—a huge help in deciding which videos to watch in their library of over 300,000.
As far as the reliability of the company, they are trusted by large companies like Patagonia and NBC to train their employees. They have an active customer service, and a large, searchable help page that answers most questions that users may have.
What Can I Learn On LinkedIn Learning?
LinkedIn Learning focuses on business-related skills. There are some that deviate from this norm, such as photography course, or ones that focus on critical thinking—but even those are not huge stretches from their core content. Because you can easily search for a specific skill to learn, or chose a broad course, users can learn about an individual issue, or gain a deep understanding of an entire topic.
LinkedIn’s Learning’s Learning Paths serves as a unique way to get that wide understanding. These are a series of different courses that have the same focus, such as an entire path on creating a blog. Though it would have different courses, such as how to design a site on WordPress, or use WooCommerce, they’d all lead you to that desired destination of having a beautiful, polished site.
While there’s much to learn on LinkedIn Learning, it’s easily digestible. Some of the courses are over 5 hours long—but the instructors break them down into 5-10-minute lessons. There is also exercises provided with many of the courses, so that you can work alongside the instructor. This is incredibly helpful for courses in coding or Photoshop.
The main drive behind LinkedIn learning is the flexible learning that it allows. You don’t have to commit to a single course or program, but instead can jump about to ones that interest you. They also offer resources like Monday productivity pointers, offering tips for how to use apps like Wunderlist to help you accomplish more.
LinkedIn Learning is suited well for organizations too, as they have group memberships for training teams, and their classes are used by several universities.
LinkedIn Learning vs Udemy
Udemy is another video-course learning site—but unlike LinkedIn Learning, you pay per course, rather than having a monthly subscription. These courses usually cost about $10-$15, which is cheaper—unless you choose to do more than 3. Udemy does have a larger selection of topics to learn about, even baking if you so choose. However, certificates you earn from completing courses with Udemy are not posted anywhere else, and often cannot be transferred over to your resume.
As for the user experience, Udemy has ratings and reviews on all of their courses, which allows you to easily which courses are higher quality—a useful feature, since anyone can upload. However, there is no learning path for users to follow, and unlike LinkedIn Learning, you can’t download the courses to use on the go.
LinkedIn Learning Vs Coursera
While LinkedIn Learning is more flexible, Coursera is much more academic. Most of the courses there are taught by actual professors from colleges like Yale or Harvard—but because of that, there is a timeline for how quickly you have to complete a course.
To sign up for Coursera is free, and there are also some courses you can take for free. However, if you want to receive a certificate or have assessments to ensure you’re actually learning the material, then the price rises. Most of the useful courses do cost as well, ranging from $40 to $80 a month.
Conclusion: LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Learning may be a little pricey, but it’s very useful for those who want to learn a lot on different topics. The courses are on subjects that are practical for our modern age, and the ability to earn certificates that show up on your LinkedIn profile ensures that you actually get credit for the work you’ve done. For those who want to always be learning and improving themselves, LinkedIn Learning is a wonderful opportunity to do that.