LinkedIn is betting that the rise of artificial intelligence and related technologies means that more companies will want to train their workers with relevant skills. The Microsoft-owned professional networking service said that it plans an online portal for businesses to offer their workers training materials and videos on subjects ranging from machine learning to management strategy.
The new portal, called LinkedIn Learning Hub, is a successor to the service’s current LinkedIn Learning Pro, a three-year-old education service. LinkedIn's vice president of product Hari Srinivasan said the company’s new hub builds on online training firm Lynda.com in 2015. Managers can customize their education hubs so that specific Lynda courses are available for their employees as well as any internal corporate training materials or third-party resources.
Managers can also create specific curriculums for their employees so that if workers want to become leaders, they can access the particular materials that the company believes would benefit them. Additionally, workers will be unable to lie about finishing courses they take, because managers will be able to see whether employees actually watched an online course rather than merely opening it. “I think for the longest time ever, managers or leaders wanted to know what skills they had and what skills they are building,” Srinivasan said.
Learning Hub includes a dashboard that lets managers view the self-reported abilities of their workers, such as machine learning, statistics, and editing. The updated version retains the ability for managers to measure their workers’ skills against those from other businesses, said Srinivasan. Employees will also be able to use the hub to see which skills they may need to advance their careers.
For instance, if an executive assistant wants to shift into sales, he can look up colleagues in that department to see what skills they have that he may lack. Although employees could do this before, the new Learning Hub is supposed to make the process easier, LinkedIn executives said.
LinkedIn’s new hub comes as other corporate-learning firms focus on helping managers find talent and workers find jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, for instance, online education company Udacity said it would offer online courses to help teach executives about A.I. More recently, fellow job board Ladders debuted a service that helps users submit resumes to online job boards.
LinkedIn declined to comment on how much the new service will cost. When it debuts in September, as expected, current LinkedIn Learning Pro service members will be upgraded for free. When they renew their Learning Pro subscriptions, they must pay extra for the Learning Hub features or they will lose them.