Why LinkedIn buying Lynda is good for mobile, but scary for L&D

by WorkLearnMobile


LinkedIn surprised us all this morning by announcing they have bought the popular video learning company,, for $1.5bn.

Both parties sound ecstatic about the deal, but old-school L&D departments ought to be shaking in their shoes. They risk being left behind in the stampede of engaged employees, looking to the web to help them improve their skills, and grow their careers.

We’re enthusiastic users of Lynda content at Qualcomm. Every employee in the company already has access to their learning content, and apparently, we have a higher number of mobile users than any other Lynda client. (well over half our users do Lynda courses from a mobile device. Often out of hours. Nothing here is compulsory)

So why should L&D sit up and take notice? I’d definitely recommend listening to Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn CEO) talking about the acquisition, then step through the following trends. Is your company L&D department supporting these? If not, they risk losing the smartest, and most motivated employees to somewhere else that does:

1: Learning = Career progression. And it is happening outside work!

One of the biggest challenges for businesses is retention of their best staff. Their internal L&D department ought to be seen as the first place for them to go, to improve skills, and progress their careers. But sadly, this does not always seem to be the case. LinkedIn is where you go to get a new job. And now they will even help you build the skills to get there.

2: Learning continues to move towards a Self Serve model.

Smart employees are taking ownership of their own learning needs. At Qualcomm, we talk about these employees as guerilla learners, given their motivation to succeed, and ability to work round the organizational barriers that may be placed before them.

3: The cloud is winning the race to own skills profiles, and career paths

Back to Jeff Weiner’s announcement. His vision is for an economic graph, mapping skills and jobs to a way deeper level than even the most successful dating sites. This is serious stuff, and built on dramatically more data than most companies can ever hope to control by their own.

And the best bit:

4: Every part of this is mobile.

Lynda. LinkedIn. Your learning and skills profile. Very mobile. Whatever time of the day you want to be thinking about your future career, and improving your skills – your phone, and mobile learning is there! This is what learners want. And can get (just not at work)

So how should traditional L&D departments react? I’d encourage you to start moving, fast. You are in a race to compete for relevance to your employees. You are starting from a good position of trust with your learners. You are close to them, and know lots about them. But if you don’t start running soon, the race will leave without you, and employees will stop seeing L&D as relevant to their long term career.

Here at WorkLearnMobile we are strong advocates of constant exploration, iteration, and creative use of learning technologies. We believe that mobile learning is a critical component of any future-gazing L&D, and that organizations should be using technology to re-invent learning.

Join us in re-inventing enterprise learning. We’re having great success at Qualcomm, and are eager to share what we know. Hit the “subscribe” button up top if you want occasional updates from us, or follow me at @geoffstead

Forget old-school courses – lets make enterprise learning about helping the business and employees to succeed as we race together into an uncertain future.

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