So, as I was researching topics for my blog, I typed “LinkedIn Learning review” on Google and clicked on the first result that appeared as a snippet. I always like to research my competition before writing a post for a certain keyword.
And here I was, reading this blog post, and it geniunely made me upset.
You see, I am not exactly a review blogger, although this was my initial idea when I started. I only have a couple of other reviews on this website.
So, I was about to move on to other topics, but as I kept reading this post, I became a little angry and just thought that I should clear some things out.
Of course, before doing so, I need to make a couple of disclaimers:
- LinkedIn is not paying me for this review in any way. In fact, I applied to their LinkedIn Learning affiliate program two times, and they rejected me both times. So, there’s that.
- I realize that opinions are subjective. And this review is entirely my opinion from my experience. So, if you disagree, I am glad to hear you out!
- The reason I feel comfortable writing a review is because I spent months paying for LinkedIn Premium just so I could watch their LinkedIn Learning videos. In fact, you can check my LinkedIn profile to see all certifications from LinkedIn that I have on it!
Now that I have made my disclaimers, let’s answer the initial question:
What made me so angry about this blog post?
Okay, so although the majority of the comments in this post were subjective, and I cannot argue with something subjective, others were completely misleading. I don’t know whether it was on purpose, or the writer did not do his research properly.
But I wanted to give my side about them. And of course, give a proper LinkedIn Review while doing so. So, I will share my experience with all features and characteristics from the platform, and also debynk some misconceptions from both this blog post and other opinions on Quora.
Probably the biggest misconception that I saw tossed around on the first page of Google was the pricing. In fact, an official review on the first page said that “a monthly subscription for LinkedIn Learning costs 29.99$”.
The way this person put it is not exactly the way it is in reality. What you are paying for 29.99$ each month is a subscription to the whole package of LinkedIn Premium. Which includes:
- The feature Who has viewed your profile;
- 3 monthly InMails for members outside of your network;
- Job Applicant Insights concerning competition and job skills;
- Company Insights such as trends, hires and leadership changes;
- Salary Insights so you can evaluate your opportunities;
- Expert content on job preparation with top job interview questions;
- And of course, unlimited access to all content from LinkedIn Learning.
Of course, you might perceive the price as 29.99$ exclusively for LinkedIn Learning if you are not taking any advantage of the other features. However, you will still have them whether you use them or not. You cannot purchase a subscription for LinkedIn Learning separately.
Having said all of this, the true pricing, and whether it is worth paying it, should be about the LinkedIn Premium (not Learning) subscription. Which, of course, is a whole other topic. You can read my opinion on whether LinkedIn Premium is worth it here.
So, as you can see, saying that a subscription to LinkedIn Learning costs 30 dollars will make people think that this is the only thing they get for that price. Which, as we can see, is not true.
Is the price worth it?
Now, if you don’t use any of the other features, is it worth paying 30 dollars for only taking advantage of LinkedIn Learning? This will depend on you, how much you use it, and if it makes sense for you.
For example, as I already mentioned, at some point in the past I kept paying 30 dollars even when I didn’t need Premium anymore, just so I could access LinkedIn Learning. Did I find it pricey? Yes, but it made sense for me because their app allowed me to learn on the go 2 hours a day while commuting on the subway.
And get certifications in the meantime.
Would I have kept paying if the price was, let’s say, 15 dollars? Probably yes. As a student with a part-time job in the mornings and a low paid internship in the afternoons, 30 dollars seemed too much for me and my unstable salary. And honestly, I still find it a bit expensive even now that I have a stable, full-time job in my field.
But of course, as I already said, whether it is expensive or not will depend on the value it has for you. And whether you are using it enough for the proportion of your investment. Obviously, it will be expensive if you are spending one or two hours a month.
User – friendly / Ease of use
Now that we have cleared out the pricing of the platform, it is time to move on to the next aspect of our LinkedIn Learning review. And that is, how easy is it to use? Is the interface user-friendly, or rather difficult to navigate through?
Going back to the blog post that got me somewhat upset, it got my attention that they spent an enormous amount of time criticizing the minimalist interface of the platform. And I get it, not everyone gets excited with a design that looks as simple as that:
Which is completely fine, and understandable! Yes, the interface might not be the most visual one, but I think that more important than that is whether it is easy to use. After all, we are not paying for online courses to stare at a beautiful interface.
And, when it comes to LinkedIn Learning, there are some features that I really like that not all platforms with online courses offer:
- They allow you to set weekly goals to keep you on track;
- You can easily see your progress of multiple courses at the same time. And start where you left off:
- You can see the full transcript of every single video within a course, which might be really helpful for people like me who are not native speakers:
- The courses are also quite interactive, offering a section for Questions and Answers:
- The courses also have a section in which you can take your own notes as you watch the videos:
I find all these things very helpful, and they are all organized in a very user-friendly and intuitive interface. From the process of choosing a course to going through the videos, everything runs smooth and you can easily switch from one task to another.
Correct me if I am wrong as I don’t have a huge experience in too many online platforms. However, I think that these are features that definitely compensate for the little exciting design of the interface.
Currently, you can choose from over 14,000 courses on LinkedIn Learning.
Apart from the features we just saw above, the browsing section of the courses, and the way they are structured by topics, is also very intuitive and easy to follow:
The courses are organized in three different categories:
- Business – which covers multiple areas, including Marketing and Advertising, Business Analysis, Strategy and software, Leadership, Management, and Professional Development, among others.
- Creative – this section is “reserved” for creative tools and activities for Animation, Illustration, Audio & Music, Graphic Design, Photography, User Experience, and many others.
- Technology – and last but not least, we have online courses on the latest technologies, including Cloud Computing, Data Science, Database Management, etc.
However, apart from the big clusters that we just mentioned above, the courses are also organized around three different sub-categories:
- Subjects – for selecting courses about your topic of interest;
- Software – instead of topic, you can select directly by tool or software, which is quite cool;
- Learning paths – a “path” is a selection of multiple online courses. We will see it above.
I wanted to dedicate a specific section to the option of taking a “Learning path” so I can explain it better. Put simply, a learning path is a curated compilation of different online courses around a topic. It is designed in such a way that put together, the videos form a complete guide to this topic.
They can be anywhere from 6 hours to even 45 hours of video content:
The idea behind these paths is to provide you a more complete formation on a topic. Of course, they are not a substitute for degrees, bootcamps, or long-term courses in a business school. But hey, it is a good way to start from somewhere!
Next on our LinkedIn Learning review is figuring out if the platform updates their courses regularly. With today’s new and constantly evolving technologies, courses created just a couple of years ago are probably no longer relevant. Just because so many things change every day.
Let’s take for example Digital Marketing. There are so many platforms, concepts and advertising networks that constantly get updated. New features are added every couple of months. So, courses that can’t keep up with that rhythm will get obsolete very quickly.
So, does LinkedIn updates his courses, and how often?
The answer to the first question is yes, it does.
As far as frequency goes, I couldn’t find official information anywhere. So, I can’t say an exact period of time. However, from my observation, I have noticed that many courses that are older than 2-3 years are being taken off the platform so they can get substituted by new ones.
For example, I completed this learning path of 47 hours in October 2017:
The certification for Becoming an AMA Professional Certified Marketer in Digital Marketing.
Today, I was looking for it and I found out that it was no longer there. I am not sure how much time passed after I completed it for them to take it off, but since I got my credential, over 2.5 years have passed.
Now, we have a newer and more actualized version called “Become a Digital Marketer“. In fact, the one I just posted a screenshot of in the previous section.
But this is not the only course that have disappeared from the collection. There are a lot of courses that I made a couple of years ago that are no longer offered for newly entered members. But don’t worry! Your certification will not disappear from the platform nor your LinkedIn profile.
As we move on with our LinkedIn Learning review, I thought it was worth mentioning that they have an awesome mobile app. Now, I am not sure if many online course competitors offer mobile apps, and on top of that good ones.
However, I think that the app for doing LinkedIn Learning courses is really good, simple, and intuitive. The videos load smoothly one after another, and you can always start where you left off.
I remember that I used it a lot a couple of years ago when I used to spend over 3 hours in the public transport. Every single day! It was motivating to use this time not only for learning new things, but also for earning certificates on the go.
The reason why I am saying this is because a lot of online courses are not easy to do on mobile. And especially not when a certification exam or questions are required to complete the course.
The only drawback to studying on your commute is that LinkedIn courses consume a lot of mobile data. So, if you don’t have a plan with plenty of GB (or unlimited), you will find that your mobile data is gone with the wind in no time.
Lack of Accreditation
As I was reading the LinkedIn Learning review of the article that I mentioned above, and also opinions on Quora, I noticed that many people are not happy with the lack of official accreditation when it comes to LinkedIn courses.
These expectations from people confused me a little bit. Why are people expecting to pay less than 30 dollars a month for an access to 14,000 courses, and on top of that have them all accredited? I don’t think that it is a realistic expectation.
Are there online courses that are accedited, prestigious, but also super cheap (or free)? If you are trying to compare LinkedIn Learning to MOOcs from Universities such as Harvard or MIT, they are not precisely free. Nor cheap.
Here are some examples from the above-mentioned MOOcs:
- Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python – this MIT course is free, but the verified certification costs €69 for a single course.
- Enhance your leadership skills – this one from Wharton costs €493 for its 5-month duration.
- Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking – and a verified certification for this Harvard course costs €91.
In fact, I don´t even want to compare these courses to LinkedIn Learning. The concepts are different, the duration is different, the companies behind them are different. One is a top-ranked business school, and the other one is an international platform for business professionals.
I am just trying to think of what courses are crazy cheap, prestigious, and with an accredited certification. Please, if you know some, I would be delighted to discover them as well!
The good side
Although LinkedIn’s courses are not accredited, it does not mean that they don’t have any value. In fact, they do, as LinkedIn is still the most important social brand for connecting professionals. The name is also quite known, and people will instantly recognize it when they hear it.
Also, they obviously have an integration so that you can add course badges to your profile:
Not many online courses have this integration. So, if you want to add the certificate to your profile, it will appear with an ugly grey logo next to it. Instead of the company’s logo.
Next, but definitely not the least important section of our LinkedIn Learning review is Content Quality.
In fact, it is probably the most important one on the list. After all, why would you sign up for an online course if you are not expecting a minimum quality?
The problem with giving my opinion on this one are a couple:
- First, I have mostly done courses on Digital Marketing. So, I do not feel qualified to give my opinion on any other subject. However, I can still share my overall feeling and experience as I was doing the courses.
- Second, the way you perceive the content quality will depend on your current experience on the matter. If you are advanced in Digital Marketing watching an introductory video, you will not enjoy it. Nor if you are a beginner watching videos on complex, advanced concepts.
- And third, the perception of quality will also depend on your expectations beforehand. Luckily, you have a 30-day free trial to decide if the content lives up to your expectations. After that, you can cancel anytime.
From my experience, the content is quite good and easy to digest. However, I also agree with some of the critics that there is lack of more advanced content on some subjects.
Also, it will vary depending on the professor that is working on the course. Some will naturally be better than others, and some will explain topics in more detail than others.
Does the content of LinkedIn Learning has enough quality for the price? Yes, in my opinion, it does. However, I definitely think that this will also be perceived differently by different people.
Also, I do not know how the quality varies from subject to subject.
30-day Free trial
There is one more point that I want to get across before finishing this LinkedIn Learning review.
I read someone claiming that LinkedIn’s free trial is a scam because they ask for your credit card details. To which I want to say: do you not know how businesses work? I mean, the main reason why businesses exist in the first place is to generate profit, because otherwise they will die.
And no, I am not saying that LinkedIn wants your credit or debit card details to scam you into paying. On the contrary, you can cancel any time, without charges.
And they make it easy to do so. Although, I have to admit that they can sometimes get a bit annoying with too many emails on get-back-to-premium-we-miss you.
However, many companies request credit card details to prevent people from creating hundreds of profiles just to get multiple free trials forever. Another thing is if they make it difficult or scammy to cancel your subscription, but I promise it is not the case with LinkedIn. Pinky swear!
And that was all from me, folks! I hope you enjoyed the article, and I hope to see you in the next one! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to let me know in the comments below!