LinkedIn to a New Degree
LinkedIn is the number one professional social network with more than 380 million members worldwide. Now the site has turned its focus to higher education and student career goals.
With over €1 billion in revenue and some 380 million members, LinkedIn has accomplished a lot in 12 years. 2013 saw site enter a new market with the birth of LinkedIn for Higher Education. In 2014, the company added an education section to its homepage and created Decision Boards, which help students pick schools based on their career goals.
In April 2015, LinkedIn acquired the e-learning site lynda.com for a record €1.5 billion. Sylvain Vacaresse, University of Rennes 1 lecturer and e-learning consultant, notes, "There's a push to go beyond skill endorsements and provide MOOC-based certifications. Why not offer certified courses through lynda.com ? A skill assessment tool could help people select classes. LinkedIn could create its own content" and become a full service provider.
LinkedIn wants to help students chart their career paths. Sylvain Léauthier, Catholic University of Lyon webmaster and blogger, comments, "First, LinkedIn was a professional network. Then came the community pages in 2013. Now it supports students' career goals."
The site aims to connect students and businesses. Charles Hardy, Education Engagement Lead for LinkedIn's EMEA region explains, "There's a gap between what schools teach and what companies need. We help schools teach relevant skills and we're creating an economic graph of jobs worldwide. We also help students find the best schools for their career goals. Our career data allows us to advise students."
Information is Power
Additionally, LinkedIn has created university rankings based on career outcomes. The site lists the top 25 schools in eight fields. Hardy notes, "We're testing it out in the U.S. and Canada now but hope to expand it to France and other countries. However, we need more members from certain fields for the ranking to be statistically significant."
"By shifting the focus from degrees to skills and certifications, LinkedIn has the power to upset the economic model of education", maintains Sylvain Léauthier. Henri Isaac, Dauphine University professor, agrees. "LinkedIn has high profits, few competitors and lots of agility. It's only getting started!"