LinkedIn Learning, a marketing tool and nothing more

Last week, LinkedIn announced that they would provide all their courses for free to anyone, for 7 days. My friends informed me, so I decided to go into an orgy of learning, in a figurative way of course.

Over the last year, I developed a good habit, of systematic book reading and audiobook listening, so I had no problem to beef up my wish list with more than 50 courses and get them done in 7 days. I wish!

The first courses, I took them slowly, the rest I must admit I applied speed dating by sampling and jumping to find knowledge. Similar to what I do with youtube videos or blog posts, a scan through.

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The review process

During the years, I have applied a method for creating online courses and has five dimensions: Instructional design, AV production, platform selection, analytics, and promotion. So I used the same compass to evaluate and create feedback. Here is the raw truth behind the extraordinary numbers of participants of Linkedin courses.

Instructional design

Courses are just Video with downloadable exercises, occasionally. No forum discussions, no grading, nothing of an essence and those flash cards that you rarely find here and there are OKish but not up to the level. I wonder what Linkedin bought with 1.5 billion? It would have been more practical to buy old EduTV videos from the national TV of Greece, those have real educational value and are real video productions.

Got interested to see how this spreads and checked Bittorrent sites, already the videos are stripped and available for Peer to Peer consumption through torrents, including the exercise files.

You cannot maintain IP (intellectual property) like this, at least they added the Linkedin logo. PS, the same thing is happening for Udemy. Part of some strategy? I don’t know, we have seen piracy before to serve corporate goals.

Production

Most courses are filmed with a green background and later they added some background picture. The library, of background images, is so annoying that at one point decided that I cannot watch any more sterile pictures. I minimize the browser so that I can have the course as an audio book. I didn’t miss any slides or additional info because of that. The few slides are just repeating the text with other colors for an extra peacock effect.

The speakers are nice people; I can see that they have taken a crash course on public speaking, but they haven’t read all the chapters of how to stimulate the audience. I recommend Joseph Berg ESENWEIN book on pitch and inflection, so they don’t sound like monotonic robots.

Production was good enough, better than the ones that I can find from REAL experts on youtube. By the way, one LinkedIn copywriter is the most used, hey! If you read this, Fellow you look cool!)

The most annoying part was the embedded advertisement of services, I kept a list of the “suggestions”. In real learning, you recommend MULTIPLE options not what you want to promote. Please!

So, we have entered the era of “adseducation” as correctly mentioned by one lecturer in a course.

Platform

What about the platform? A video content delivery with an excellent addition the transcript as text below the video. I guess they use the teleprompter text. That what I call reuse of resources! As for the rest, didn’t have anything that I could consider it as a reasonable learning platform, a premium Youtube video channel and that’s it.

Analytics

I bet that Linkedin got all the analytics that they need to brainwash me with more ADS shortly. I got nothing like performance reports and anything that I could reflect, empty feeling here. Why? So much money in that business, they could even integrate Watson or Google Assistant to the interface, I mean how low can you go with all that money? Or maybe is a lack of imagination. With so many resources at their disposal, I would have turned the world around and make them say WOW, now I can only say what a waste of time.

Ok. Maybe not a total waste, I did take notes on few issues and did like the presenters, so it was designed to make me think that is of high quality, but not learn anything.

Marketing

Now we are talking. All American companies should be jubilant this week. The courses promoted them like hell. Not directly but hidden inside the course, as suggestions, without giving alternatives. Now that I’m thinking, I should even run plagiarism check to see if the text belongs to them. That would be great, the work of somebody else plus the logo of an American company on it.

I got constantly bombarded about this unique opportunity, and in fact, it was one. Despite all my criticism, I recommend that LinkedIn immediately releases all their courses as OERs to the world and buy some real learning company and not a wanna be Warner Brothers studio for classes.

In fact, I will be speaking about the new types of OERs in the upcoming OEB conference in Berlin. Beyond the traditional CC marked courses now because of this phenomenon, I added two more types: Limited Time based OER and Pirated OER.

Good luck LinkedIn, David is watching, and we do hold a little, 26.000 strong, teacher’s community to compete, with real courses.

Disclaimer, I’m the Founder of Eliademy.com, a European eLearning platform with a deep love for continuous learning. I tried to be unbiased, as much as possible, in this review and suggested ways for my competitor to improve. I wish that they will release those videos as OERs, as a platform is nothing more than YouTube with a new logo.

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