LinkedIn Learning, which is owned by Microsoft, purchased Lynda.com for $1.5 billion dollars (U.S.) in 2015. Online learning continues to grow in popularity and will continue to do so in the future. According to LinkedIn's press release for 2020 Q4 profits:
People will increasingly need to move beyond current domain expertise to learn new skills, and they are turning to LinkedIn. Professionals watched nearly 4x the amount of LinkedIn Learning content in June 2020 than they did a year ago. (Source: LinkedIn Business Highlights from Microsoft’s FY20 Q4 Earnings)
LinkedIn Learning has over 5,000 courses to choose among. A subscription costs $29.99 when paid monthly or $19.99 when paid annually. It is bundled with the Job Seeker and Business Premium subscriptions, which deliver a much higher ROI. Therefore, if you're looking for more LinkedIn features, consider the LinkedIn Learning a bonus with those subscriptions. While many of the courses are formatted into lectures, they demonstrate high-quality production. I have yet to find a course that hasn't provided me new insights and starting points for new skills. I have completed over 15 courses and I am working sporadically on 30 others.
Some organizations, businesses, and universities have contracts with LinkedIn, so you may have free access to the content. As an instructor, the value of your university having LinkedIn Learning is immeasurable. I teach an Advanced Business Communication course every two years at Elmhurst University. EU has a subscription to LinkedIn learning, which links directly to the learning management system (LMS).
I use the LinkedIn Learning courses like I would books or other course materials. I guide students through the main points, offer summary lectures and additional materials, and so on. In short, you still have to teach. Two of the courses I include in this course are listed below: UX Foundations and Information Management. If you have questions about this, just ask. You can access the course outline on this page.
UX Foundations: Accessibility
The first course I would recommend is "Accessibility for Web Design": Accessibility for Web Design Online Class | LinkedIn Learning. The course is led by Derek Featherstone, has 1,108 likes and 133 five-star reviews. My favorite part of the course is the real world explanations and demonstrations of what it is like for visually impaired site visitors to experience poorly designed content. His course helped me appreciate the value of alternative text and content hierarchy.
Since 2013, I have embraced the model of COPE--Create Once, Publish Everywhere. This is an idea I learned from a book on social media marketing. Unfortunately, I do not recall which one. I believe it is a strategy used by NPR. The premise is to create content that can be repurposed everywhere. In practice, this translates to doing minor things like using the word "learners" and not "students" in course materials, especially videos, so that I can re-use the videos in my teaching and in my trainings. However, a major concept or approach that I bring to COPE is universal design for user experience (UX).
The idea behind universal design UX is to create materials that can be delivered to any audience, including the blind, deaf, or disabled. There are many benefits to doing this but let me list two. First, providing all learners with more ways to experience content gives them choice and control over their learning preferences. Some learners will prefer to have captions turned on videos. Second, content can be more easily repurposed across platforms. For example, if I have subtitles for a video, the script can become a handout, the handout can become a presentation, and so on.
Information Management: Document Security
There are several courses on content management and document security. In the Advanced Business Communication course in which I use LinkedIn Learning, I require students to complete a variety of courses on organizing files in OneDrive and organizing email. Because instructional designers field a lot of communication from various stakeholders and manage a lot of content, it is important to develop a content management system to track files well. However, learning how to balance the need for cloud-based collaboration with document security best practices and designing an approach for content retention is important. This is why I recommend to you the following course:
Information Management: Document Security Online Class | LinkedIn
This one-hour course by Phil Gold, which was recently updated in 2021, has 17 five-star reviews and over 12 likes. It has been saved by nearly 2K learners. I especially like the section on compliance vs. best practices section. While the course is aimed more at general IT security, the recommendations suit a learning environment well, especially one that may by pulling data from multiple SaaS systems within a larger organization.
Become an Instructional Developer (Certificate)
Become an Instructional Developer Learning Path | LinkedIn Learning is actually not a single course but an entire learning path. It is over 11 hours of content. It was updated in 2019. I completed "Become an Instructional Designer" in 2017 and immediately started getting emails from recruiters once I attached the certificate to my profile. Many of the courses in this updated version are the same, but the content on applications like Camtasia have been updated. I would recommend the entire Learning Path, but I am confident you'll find any single course in the sequence worthwhile. I can say that while it is labeled as a beginner course, I have over 10 years of instructional design experience and still learned a great deal from the course. It is also a good refresher when one doesn't find themselves using all of the tool or techniques in their specific workplace.
LinkedIn Learning offers a one-month free trial. So, if you're an instructional designer, try the courses listed above (and more) and let me know what you think. I hope that you find them as valuable as I have. If you've already taken some LinkedIn Learning courses that you've found valuable, let me and others know by leaving a comment.
Dr. Craig Engstrom is an associate professor of business communication at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and founder/chief consultant of Communication@Work LLC.
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I am an instructor of business communication at SIUC. Connect with me on LinkedIn.