Today, LinkedIn has launched LinkedIn Learning — its first major product launch since the news last June that Microsoft would be snapping up the social network for $26.2 billion in a deal that has yet to close.
LinkedIn Learning takes the online skills training classes the company got in its 2015 acquisition of Lynda.com for $1.5 billion.
The idea, says LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, is to help its 433 million-plus members get the skills they need to stay relevant in a world that’s increasingly reliant on digital skills.
“It’s increasingly important that we can provide a just-in-time, always on learning platform,” Weiner says.
The new product combines the Lynda.com classes with LinkedIn’s social network. If you find a job you want on LinkedIn, for instance, you can pull up a pre-determined list of recommended classes that will help teach you the skills you’d need to apply. Once you’ve cleared the course, you can add it to your profile so you look better to potential employers.
You can pay for your classes a la carte, or they’re included in LinkedIn Premium subscriptions. Soon, LinkedIn says, companies will be able to buy LinkedIn Learning subscriptions on behalf of employees and offer classes to help them advance.
Weiner says that while these plans tie in nicely to Microsoft’s vision for LinkedIn, LinkedIn Learning has been in the works since before the two companies even entered talks.
LinkedIn also previewed a forthcoming new update to its website design:
LinkedIn also showed off an upgrade to the LinkedIn Messages tool that adds chatbots that can do simple tasks like help you schedule meetings, which ties in nicely to Microsoft’s newfound love of so-called conversational platforms.