What You Should Know This Week

LinkedIn Buys Lynda.com
. Each week, Educating Modern Learners picks one interesting current event – whether it’s news about education, technology, politics, business, science, or culture – and helps put it in context for school leaders, explaining why the news matters and how it might affect teaching and learning (in the short or in the long run). This week (the week of April 6), Audrey Watters looks at the acquisition of online education company Lynda.com by the professional social network LinkedIn.

LinkedIn announced this week that it is acquiring the online training company Lynda.com for $1.5 billion. When the deal closes, according to a joint press release, “most members of the lynda.com team are expected to join LinkedIn.”

This gives LinkedIn a huge entry point into the professional training market, in which Lynda.com is one of the leaders.

Here’s how LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner describes the deal:

When I look at lynda.com’s platform, I see a best-in-class collection of high-quality, premium content that is focused on professional skills – hundreds of thousands of videos, comprising thousands of full courses – that make it possible for anybody to easily and effectively acquire a skill needed to get their first job, get a promotion, land a business deal or advance their career.

At LinkedIn, we’ve followed lynda.com for a long time, rooted in the conviction that access to high-quality, skills-based learning-and-development content should be available to every LinkedIn member and a fundamental part of our platform. Through its singular focus on programming and content quality, we concluded that lynda.com had developed the best approach for LinkedIn in the industry.

LinkedIn has been slowly inching towards the education vertical in recent years, making it easier for people to add certifications from MOOCs to their profiles, for example, and reaching out to high school students and to college students and encouraging them to join the network.

A publicly traded company, shares of LinkedIn are up on the news of the acquisition. For its part, Lynda.com – a company that is 20 years old – was bootstrapped and profitable for many years, not taking venture capital investment until 2013 when it raised a whopping $103 million. Earlier this year, it raised another $186 million – the largest education technology investment ever (to date).

This acquisition fits into several important trends in education and education technology: a push for more corporate skills training, a focus on career-matching services, and efforts to rethink certification.

It’s not clear yet exactly how Lynda.com fits into LinkedIn’s larger plans – it’s certainly interested in all three of the above – but the company says that Lynda.com will remain open for business and its video content accessible to subscribers.

Image credits: Brenda Gottsabend

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