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LinkedIn Learning review 2021

LinkedIn Learning has a huge catalogue of courses, but is it worth paying the premium membership fee?

Linkedin Learning Review
(Image: © Getty)

Our Verdict

LinkedIn Learning is packed with high quality courses, which well help you buff up your CV. However, most classes are aimed at complete beginners or best-suited to managers who are looking to improve their leadership skills.

For

  • High quality video courses
  • Easy to navigate interface
  • Courses updated on a weekly basis

Against

  • Most courses are aimed at beginners
  • Narrow range of subjects

LinkedIn Learning is an extension of the professional networking platform. It has over 16,000 courses available, which fall into three broad categories: business skills, creativity and technical knowledge. Lessons are delivered via high quality videos and when you finish a course, you’ll earn a certificate that you can display on your LinkedIn profile.

You can access these courses either by purchasing a premium subscription or by buying individual lessons. While we focused mostly on the coding courses offered on the platform, you can also take classes in audio mixing, graphic design, project management and plenty of other employment-related topics. 

LinkedIn Learning: Essential Info

LinkedIn Learning Review: Image of Logo

(Image credit: LinkedIn)

1. Prices start at $29.99/ month or $239.88/ year

2. Over 16,000 courses available

3. Classes in tech, business and creative subjects available

In general, we found that there was a lot to enjoy about LinkedIn Learning. It’s incredibly easy to navigate and all of the videos have sharp images and clean audio. The large number of beginner courses mean that you can dip into lots of new topics and there’s an impressive array of business-focused courses too, offering everything from diversity training to leadership skills.

However, while there are a high number of videos, there isn’t a really broad range of topics available yet on the platform. Most of the videos skewer towards beginner and intermediate learners too, so there’s not a lot of courses aimed at skilled pupils who want to improve on a specific subject.

As such, we think it’s an excellent addition to the networking platform – and certainly a useful tool for business professionals and large companies – but you might be better served by specialised sites if you’re an advanced learner who’s trying to improve in certain subject areas.

Certainly, younger learners will benefit from one of the options on our list of the best online tutoring services, while those looking to learn a new language should try looking through our round-ups of the best learn Spanish online courses.

LinkedIn Learning: Getting started

The easiest way to access the learning platform is by buying a premium subscription. You can also purchase LinkedIn courses on an individual basis, but there’s not a lot of difference between the cost of a monthly subscription and a one-off lesson. 

However, it’s also worth noting that LinkedIn offers a free trial period for most people. We recommend taking advantage of this before you commit to a membership, so you can test out the learning platform directly.

Once you’ve signed up and navigated to the LinkedIn Learning platform, you’ll be prompted to highlight which skills are most relevant to your interests. 

You can choose to follow certain subjects, like mobile app development or diversity and inclusion, and the website will give you recommendations based on these interests and your current skills.

The platform will also prompt you to set your own weekly learning goal when you first sign-up. We opted for 30 minutes, which felt like a manageable chunk of time, but you can be as ambitious as you like with this target.

LinkedIn Learning: Lesson format and content

All of the lessons are delivered primarily by video, with experts talking directly into the camera and guiding you through the course. We tested out several different classes and found that the video quality was excellent across the board, with clear audio, detailed explanations and a good picture.

For anyone who likes to rush through their lessons, you have the option of fast forwarding the video at up to double speed. One option we did miss was the ability to pop out the video and pin it to your homescreen. This would have been handy when trying to compare lines of code written by the tutor with what we’d written ourselves.

Just below the video, you’ll find four additional tabs: overview, Q&A, notebook and transcript. The overview and transcript sections are fairly straightforward, but the other two tabs provide useful tools for learners. 

LinkedIn Learning review: video example

(Image credit: Future)

When you open the notebook section, you can jot down your thoughts as you watch along. These written notes will then be accompanied by a timestamp, letting you know where to find the relevant section of the class video.

The Q&A section is also very handy, as it’s here that you can pose questions if you’re stuck on a particular section. Other students will then respond and help you if they can. We liked the communal approach to learning here, although it would be nice if the experts themselves were encouraged to jump in and explain the harder topics.

You’ll also find additional files to download on certain courses, which will provide helpful references. Most lessons also incorporate a quiz at the end of each section, to test what you’ve learned so far. There's also a Linkedin Learning app available for Android devices and iPhones, but we found the desktop version much better for learning purposes.

Although video-based lessons don’t offer the most innovative approach to online learning, we found that the consistently high quality of tutors and recording equipment makes up for this rather basic teaching method.

LinkedIn Learning: Certificates and learning paths

Most courses on LinkedIn Learning are 2-3 hours long but the platform also curates something called “learning paths,” where several of these individual courses are linked together. These paths can be upwards of 20 hours and contain lessons that are taught by several different tutors.

In theory, these should allow you to go from beginner to intermediate in a subject, but we found the curation a bit messy. Often, the individual courses require you to have completed separate beginner courses which aren’t included in the longer learning pathway, so you have to branch out before you can complete the full learning journey. 

When you complete a course, you’ll be awarded a certificate to display on your LinkedIn profile. These aren’t widely recognised, but they may show employers your dedication to expanding your skillset.

However, the platform does offer some training towards recognised qualifications in certain topics. For example, there’s a 3.5 hour course on training for an Adobe Certified Associate - Photoshop certificate. These courses will help you prepare to qualify for a certification, but they can’t award the certificate to you directly.

A lot of these courses will also require you to have access to the dedicated software. It’s worth bearing this in mind if you’re considering taking one of these courses instead of attending a short course at a traditional college or learning institution. While it may seem more cost effective to study like this, a lot of colleges can help you get free access to a student version of the software, while this isn’t something that’s currently offered by LinkedIn Learning.

Is LinkedIn Learning worth it?

In general, we found that the LinkedIn Learning courses are all excellent quality but they skew towards beginners. It’s definitely a useful platform if there’s a particular area you want to get started in – say you’re interested in learning to code, for example, or if you want some guidance on how to use Adobe Photoshop. It’s also got plenty of resources for business owners or office managers, who want to improve some of their leadership skills.

Most people get access to the LinkedIn Learning platform by purchasing a general membership to LinkedIn. This not only gives you access to all of the courses, but it also means that you can see who’s viewed your profile, message other users and use other clever features like the salary checker. 

With this in mind, we think that the LinkedIn Learning platform is an excellent tool for people who are looking to shift careers, boost their CV or improve their leadership skills. However, if you’re specifically looking to deepen your knowledge of a subject you already know about, or if you would prefer to have one-on-one tutorials, you may be better served by a different platform that’s less focused on improving business skills and building up CVs.