LinkedIn Learning Review: Is It Worth It?

Today, my LinkedIn Learning review will help you decide if this site is worth the subscription and what you can learn.

LinkedIn Learning is an online education portal that – you guessed it – is created and managed by LinkedIn, the business-oriented social network.

But does that mean it’s worth your time, or are you better off seeking a different learning solution? I signed up and took a thorough look for this LinkedIn Learning review.

What is LinkedIn Learning?

LinkedIn Learning is an online education or learning platform featuring online high-quality videos from industry experts. They host online tutorials about a range of subjects including digital marketing, design and business.

Now owned by Microsoft via LinkedIn, it was previously known as Lynda or Lynda.com.

LinkedIn learning
Get access to online videos from experts around the world

Everything on this elearning platform is video-oriented, so there’s no text to learn or memorize.

While LinkedIn Learning is connected to the LinkedIn social network, you don't need one to use the other.

Currently, the platform offers more than 16,000 different courses available in seven different languages, and more courses are added all the time. They are all subscription-based, which means you have to pay to view them (except for preview snippets).

However, everything is on equal footing, so you don’t have to pay more for higher tiers of videos: A single fee gives you access to everything.

The LinkedIn Learning videos may be learning-oriented and often structured as lectures or classes, but they aren’t classes in the traditional sense.

There is no required homework, no tests, no grading or requirements (although some videos may be tied to lessons where such coursework is present, it’s just not needed to actually watch and learn from the video, and not offered on the Learning site)

Over time, LinkedIn Learning has updated its site in some truly remarkable ways, which I’ll touch on below, but at its core it’s designed to help you browse through large numbers of videos to find those useful to you, much in the same way that YouTube or other video platforms work.

Quality: 5 out 5 Stars

Education and Writing Tools

What sorts of courses does Learning actually offer?

There are a lot, and you can spend a great deal of time simply browsing through your options and finding things to try later. But while that can be enjoyable, it doesn’t mean much if you can’t find what you are looking for, or if the videos are low-quality and not really worth spending the time to watch.

Fortunately, LinkedIn is well aware of this challenge and does serious quality control for all videos published on Learning. These are top-notch productions that can range from around 30 minutes to several hours worth of instruction.

When users start browsing, there are three different primary categories to choose from:

  • Business: Business includes training on various subjects and departments like marketing or accounting, training for specific software related to business (Excel, Office 365, etc.), and “learning paths” that teach people how to fulfil a particular role, like small business ownership, entrepreneurship, or an expert in SEO. Learning paths in particular tend to be longer courses designed for beginners in these areas.
  • Creative: Like Business, Creative is also divided into subjects, software, and learning paths. It deals with topics like animation, photography, graphic design, how to make videos, and so on. It’s also a great place to learn specific design software like Photoshop or Revit. It’s great for web designers and artists of all kinds.
  • Technology: Here, the subjects are things like data science, cloud computing, and IT work, with lessons for all kinds of software from very basic courses on Microsoft Word to tackling more complicated coding languages. The learning paths focus on coder and IT positions.

The videos employee different tactics, but they can all roughly be divided into two broad types. The first is a visual type of course that uses plenty of graphs and walks the viewer through processes (how to add media on WordPress, for example) or a tool (like how to use Photoshop in 2020/1).

You really need to be paying attention to these courses to absorb the information, so it’s important that they stay on your primary screen or at least a nearby secondary screen you can consult for information.

The second type is a more audio-oriented course that usually takes the form of a lecture and has relatively few visual materials.

They tend to deal with more abstract concepts and are useful because I found you can easily listen to them as you would a podcast, without the need to always have a screen in front of your eyes – ideal for more casual use.

But what about courses specifically made for writers and writing projects? If that’s your main focus, then you’ll be glad to know that there are many courses available for writing subjects as well, especially in the Creative section.

LinkedIn learning 2020
There are many writing courses available

It would take too long to go over all the available options, but you will find that writing and publication categories include courses such as:

  • Learning to Write for the Web
  • Editing Mastery: How to Edit Writing to Perfection
  • Writing Personas (a technique helpful to many marketers)
  • Grammar Foundations
  • Writing with Flair: How to Become an Exceptional Writer
  • Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
  • Sell Your Novel to a Major Publisher (a particularly long course over five hours)
  • Publishing an eBook
  • ….and much more

Note that Learning does have a basic search system that allows you to search for tags that will bring up any related videos, which does make it easier to find what you need.

Pricing and Availability

LinkedIn Learning offers two basic pricing options. The first is to pay by the month, which means you can stop your subscription whenever you want, and it costs $30 per month to begin. You get unlimited access to all the video courses for this price.

The second is purchasing a year subscription, in which case course content only costs $20 per month.

LinkedIn will email you a receipt at the end of your subscription that you can use to expense the cost of the subscription if that’s something you and an employer discussed.

No matter which payment option you might choose, you can take a free monthly trial first to start learning and see if you really need the service in the long term.

Customization and Social Learning

I already praised the intuitive and speedy interface of LinkedIn Learning, but I wanted to point out that there are also ways to personalize your experience.

The easiest and most effective way is to simply have an active LinkedIn profile that’s updated for with your latest information.

While that account is not required, it does allow LinkedIn to use your skills, job experience, and associated tags to recommend a large number of videos that you may find useful. In my experience, these recommendations were more useful than any single search I tried on my own.

LinkedIn Learning courses also offer Q and A sections. Here, viewers and students can ask questions or request clarification. LinkedIn may occasionally pop up a popular question on the video, which you can click to learn more.

There isn’t a guarantee that the professor or creator will provide an answer, but it does create a space to discuss anything that was confusing or look for answers.

Ease of Use: 4 out of 5 stars

Interface and Design

The design in LinkedIn Learning is incredible in comparison to other learning platforms. The interface is smooth, simplified, and highly focused on the video content itself.

It provides information in a very organic way, showing the basics of a video at a glance (title, length, date, author, what category it belongs too, and more), and then allowing you to mouse over a video to see more information like how many times it has been viewed, what level of expertise it requires, and a summary of the learning experience.

You also have plenty of readily available tools for searching that never become confusing or overwhelming. Every video has a quick option to “Save” it to your account so you can keep on looking and revisit it later.

If you’re searching in a particular category or for a certain topic, LinkedIn provides a set of additional categories for you to narrow down your search even more.

You can also sort by type, level of expertise needed, time to complete, specific software training, or continuing various types of industry education.

In addition to these search tools, LinkedIn Learning also gives a variety of tags to many videos to make searching through them even easier.

The Featured tag is for videos LinkedIn wants to advertise, and the New tag is for videos that only showed within the last week or so.

The Popular tag means lots of people have watched the video. You can also see if a video has been upvoted by registered business owners.

All this would have been clunky and time-consuming on another website, but LinkedIn’s design decisions make everything easy to absorb and use as you go.

They also have remarkable performance, with fast loading times, no slowdowns, and reliable video quality. Captions are available for all videos, and video sections are clearly divided into modules that you can skip between or revisit if necessary.

Watching on Different Devices

I also try to mention if a service works differently on a mobile device compared to a desktop computer, and if there are any noteworthy issues.

Fortunately, LinkedIn is a large platform with the resources to design a mobile app version of the Learning site that works great.

The only downside is that some information-rich videos are a little frustrating to watch on a smaller screen.

Safety and Privacy

When creating a paid online account, it’s always a good idea to consider privacy and if there is anything to worry about, like companies using or selling your personal data.

Unfortunately, LinkedIn (currently owned by Microsoft) doesn’t have the best track record in this department. The company has been known to collect the information of its social media users before for advertising purposes, and while that isn’t exactly uncommon, it’s not a great look.

Even worse, the company is currently being sued because it was taking advantage of an iOS bug that allowed LinkedIn to spy on clipboard data (along with Reddit, TikTok, and others).

However, as a counterpoint I’ll point out that no direct issues with LinkedIn Learning itself appear to have surfaced.

LinkedIn also provides a somewhat limited guide on exactly what Learning information is available to your LinkedIn Network of associates as well as any organization you are taking classes through.

Value for Money: 4 out of 5 Stars (For the Right Users)

This is one of the most important questions for any education platform: Is the content actually worth the price of the monthly subscription?

Do you get something here that you can’t get anywhere else?

LinkedIn Learning is somewhat unique in this respect. There is a lot of generalized online learning content that’s highly condensed and presented by experienced professionals.

You could spend a few hours on your with internet research and find out “How to Write a Thrilling Fiction Plot,” or you could watch the LinkedIn Learning video while brainstorming ideas. In other words, it helps save a lot of time, and that can be important!

However, there’s another aspect to the business-friendly LinkedIn Learning platform, which is studying for specific credits or certifications that can help you qualify for new positions or stay current with what your business role demands.

That adds a lot of value, because many of these opportunities are on courses in LinkedIn Learning (on demand at any time, too), and are otherwise more difficult or expensive to find.

To be clear, LinkedIn does not offer accreditation or certifications itself. It offers “cert prep” courses designed to prepare you for certification exams, and classes that have to be watched while working on study materials and quizzes, also not provided by LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Learning 2020
LinkedIn Learning offers “cert prep” courses designed to prepare you for certification exams

You can find a full list of cert prep options here, including Cisco, Google, Scrum, Adobe, Autodesk, SAS, Six Sigma, and a bunch more. They aren’t directly related to writing, but they may add great value for you in a business situation and help you plan for the future.

This may be a dilemma for those who are strictly focused on writing opportunities. Some of the courses are a good way to master specific skills you may want for your job or personal goals, like SEO, social media marketing, using WordPress, and more.

Other more general videos can also help writers with time management, creating goals, SWOT analysis, and other common skills. However, the platform is not focused on writing itself, and that’s not where most of its value lies.

Is LinkedIn Learning Worth It?

LinkedIn Learning offers most of its value through highly-specialized learning opportunities geared towards professional development.

If you or your team at work needs to learn a specific app, software suite, coding language, method of optimization, or specific department know-how, it’s one of the best platforms around.

The materials of LinkedIn Learning are generally of a higher quality than comparable platforms like Udemy.

The same is true for those seeking certification for specific software courses or business degrees, albeit LinkedIn is only a facilitator in this case and you’ll still have to arrange for the certification process on your own.

LinkedIn Learning is heavily skewed towards professional users and job seekers who want to develop employable skills for the real-world.

You can learn technical marketing skills like SEO or softer skills like how to prepare a marketing plan and content marketing.

There are also several relevant courses on project management. You can learn the basics of HTML and CSS. Or you can acquire new skills in advanced courses for Python and React Native. 

However, if you are only interested in writing, then LinkedIn Learning is a far more limited prospect. It doesn’t really offer any certifications or degrees for writing experience.

While some of its writing courses are excellent for brushing up on a topic or learning more about a specific writing niche required by a new job, most of the information is beginner-level content and it’s difficult to square this with the $20 to $30 per month you would have to spend to access it.

Where courses on LinkedIn Learning really shines is for writers that want to add new business or software-oriented skills to their experience and qualify for more art and design-focused job opportunities.

For example, if you’ve never written a business blog before but are interested in signing up for it, then you can.

It’s also a much better deal if you have a clear end goal for your own education and a learning plan that will last for at least a few months.

Remember to take a look at my other in-depth reviews of today’s latest writing services and if they’re worth your time!

FAQ

Is LinkedIn Learning credible?

The LinkedIn Learning instructors, like Dennis Talyor, Simon Allardice and Bonnie Biafore, are industry expects. That means you can count taking relevant, high-quality courses.

Can you put LinkedIn Learning on your resume?

If you complete a course on Linked Learning, you can add a relevant certificate of completion to your LinkedIn profile. They should improve your employable skills for the real-world.

How much does LinkedIn learning cost?

A LinkedIn Learning subscription starts at €30 per month. You can save 33% with an annual subscription.

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Author

  • Tyler has been published on Huffington Post and Motely Fool. His article and blogs experience includes working for The Content Standard, Mad Mobile, Digital Landing, and Apass Education, among many others.

Summary

Where courses on LinkedIn Learning really shines is for writers that want to add new business or software-oriented skills to their experience and qualify for more art and design-focused job opportunities. It’s also a much better deal if you have a clear end goal for your own education and a learning plan that will last for at least a few months.

Pros

  • High-quality videos with excellent information
  • Massive content library covering all business topics
  • A great way to prep for a variety of business and software certification exams
  • Ideal for long-term work goals and preparation for dream positions
  • Includes advice on writing techniques and publication, as well as important writing concepts like SEO, social media writing, and more
  • A strong option for writers that want to expand their skillsets into design, animation, video, or other related areas

Cons

  • While writing courses are available, the platform isn’t focused on writing and tends to specialize in more technical aspects of business
  • $20 to $30 may be too much to spend for education videos

-Some issues with privacy and trust

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