How LinkedIn Became A Powerhouse in Corporate Learning: And What Could Be Next
Since the acquisition of Lynda.com in 2015, LinkedIn has become a tidal wave in corporate learning. It feels like they’re going everywhere, and you don’t want to get in the way.
If you go back only a few years (June of 2016 when LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft), LinkedIn was primarily a professional social network with a heavy focus on recruiting. In the 2015 annual report, the company reported $3 Billion in revenues. Since Lynda.com was approximately a $100M company when it was acquired, it was a negligible part of the business.
Well over the last three years all that has changed. As I discuss in the article LinkedIn Learning: A Bold Success, the company has expanded the library, deeply integrated Lynda.com into the platform, and is now applying its massive database of jobs, skills, and professions to develop one of the most powerful AI-based corporate learning solutions in the market. The company as more than 17 million LinkedIn Learning users, making it one of the top 10 vendors in the market.
Next LinkedIn is opening up the platform. This week I’m at an HR technology conference in India and last night at my Masterclass several large companies asked me “what should I do with my corporate LMS?” Well as I’ve written about extensively, companies are desperately looking for next-generation platform to facilitate skills development, training, and formal certification throughout their company. LinkedIn, through the introduction of LinkedIn Learning Pro, is now in that business (competing directly with Degreed, Edcast, Percipio, Fuse, and others).
Third, LinkedIn may already be the market leader in machine-driven learning recommendations. All the major players (Cornerstone, Degreed, EdCast, SkillSoft, Workday, SAP) want to make their platforms smarter and more relevant to users. LinkedIn, with more than 550 million professional members, can recommend content better than almost anyone else. In today’s job market, where required skills keep changing and new technologies emerge almost weekly, LinkedIn can start to recommend precisely the skills, training, and experiences you need to personally stay ahead.
The strategy to acquire Lynda.com was bold, and the company is executing on that strategy well. One can only guess what will happen next as LinkedIn spends more time integrating its content with Microsoft.
If you want to understand what LinkedIn is doing, read the detailed article. It’s a fascinating story of business innovation at work, and one we can all watch over the coming years.