LinkedIn has long been the social network of choice for people looking for a job. Now the strait-laced cousin of Facebook also wants to be the social network for people looking to keep the jobs they already have.
On Thursday, the San Francisco firm announced LinkedIn Learning, a feature that offers training courses to teach business, technology and other skills via the LinkedIn website.
"The useful shelf life of skills has shrunk to less than five years," said Tanya Staples, a former grade school teacher who is now LinkedIn's senior director of content and production.
"As a teacher, I could see we were no longer able to teach all the skills people needed in school to set them up for long-term successful careers."
Cue LinkedIn Learning, a service similar to other online learning portals such as Skillshare and Coursera. The courses are provided by Lynda.com, an online education company that has a library of thousands of videos, which LinkedIn acquired last year.
The courses available fall into three categories: business (marketing, management, leadership), creative (video, graphic design, photography) and technology (coding, Web design, data science).
None of the courses offer accreditation, but Greg Bayer, a LinkedIn engineer who worked on the learning platform, said the courses are a good way for people to brush up on their skills or learn new ones. Once a person completes a course, they can add it to their LinkedIn page.
LinkedIn Learning is built on top of the LinkedIn social network, so it is able to recommend courses to people based on their profession, the skills of their peers and the company they work for, Bayer said.
Managers at companies can also put together "learning paths" for their employees, mixing and matching courses with videos, readings, exercises and quizzes to offer customized training.
LinkedIn will collaborate with industry leaders to create the courses, and those experts will receive a cut of royalties, Bayer said. And while the company isn't yet considering opening its learning platform to third-party vendors — for example, letting Google or Facebook independently create and upload their own courses to LinkedIn Learning — Bayer said the firm is open to collaborations.
LinkedIn Learning will be included in LinkedIn Premium memberships. People who want access only to the educational component without the other frills of Premium can pay $29.99 a month for it, or $24.99 monthly if they opt for an annual membership.
In addition to LinkedIn Learning, the company announced a redesign of its website and mobile app and the addition of a bot to its messaging feature.
Microsoft Corp. bought LinkedIn Corp. in June for $26.2 billion. The sale is still pending. LinkedIn shares edged up 8 cents to $192.48 on Thursday.