As an entrepreneur, consultant and daily practitioner of online learning, it makes perfect sense to me.
At one point, before the acquisition was publicly announced, I had even conducted a theoretical research exercise considering the value of online education to a professional platform like LinkedIn.
Made sense to me then, and still does now.
The Lynda acquisition will eventually be an absolute goldmine for LinkedIn for three reasons:
- The Internet increasingly encourages remote, independent contracting and project work.
- The lines between a traditional education and other types of education are increasingly blurred. Conventional paths in education were once universally accepted, but are now questioned as prohibitively expensive or potentially disastrous to young people if going into debt is a prerequisite.
- LinkedIn is a professional network focused on skills, improvement and personal growth. Training is a perfect compliment to this.
I signed up for a trial with Lynda to check it out… I am not sure I would have done this if it wasn’t tied to LinkedIn. There are course offerings for almost any professional interests you could have.
LinkedIn is already much more useful to me than any other social network because it is not a 100% time waster.
The addition of Lynda makes it even more potentially helpful... Unlike with Facebook or Twitter, with LinkedIn there is at least a PROMISE of gaining business insight, making a helpful connection or learning something of value.
Lynda is also a genius move when you think of it as a focused (premium), curated YouTube.
By contrast, YouTube has a “made you look!” quality that reminds me of Taboola or Outbrain, which I loathe for trying to pull me down a visceral rathole through tempting me with sensational images and click on them.
As a LinkedIn user, instead of seeking an online course on YouTube, where I’d have to sit through a random, irrelevant ad from a pizza flipper, or worse, I may seek to improve myself and my career with a curated non advertised solution with the promise of payback by making me more effective.
I also think that LinkedIn does a better job of offering intrinsic motivation, through seeking a sense of accomplishment through striving for self-improvement and meaningful work.
Other networks, such as Facebook, do not do this. I associate Facebook with pure extrinsic motivation (i.e. a feeling of reward or lack of reward - did someone “like” my photo or post!?)
For instance… My field is green/sustainable building. For those who don’t know, I run a small startup providing green building training for the building, design and construction industry.
For professionals who are in this industry, studying online to earn a professional credential offers the promise of both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards.
Extrinsic in that earning a LEED professional credential looks great on a resume.
Intrinsic, in that the LEED exams are notoriously difficult, and you may genuinely care about the environment or feel strongly about efficiency and want to learn as much as possible to be as effective as possible in your career.
The extrinsic and intrinsic rewards are totally aligned with each other, and work well within a professional context. For all of the above reasons, I think this is a total homerun for LinkedIn long term.