LinkedIn Learning review with graphics of various courses and text that says decent or waste of time

LinkedIn Learning Review 2021: Is LinkedIn Learning worth it?

In today’s LinkedIn Learning review you’ll discover its features, price, pros and cons and more.

Not gonna lie –

When I signed up for LinkedIn Learning, I was truly expecting a steaming pile of dog💩.

But I was actually kinda surprised.

So what the heck is LinkedIn Learning? And is it worth your time and money in 2021?

Let’s check it out.

Welcome to LinkedIn Learning.

The logo looks pretty harmless, right? This is another one of those platforms where it’s been on my list for literally over a year.

But it’s not because of a non-threatening logo.

Rather, it’s because every time I ask people in a YouTube poll or whatever (or if it comes up in an education conversation) there’s always a chunk of people who are like:

Candy, step away from the LinkedIn.

It’s bad.

It’s outdated.

The courses suck.

Don’t do it.

-Peeps on my YouTube channel

And when people give me these warnings, they’re usually right.

But before we go jumping to conclusions, let’s take a look what what LinkedIn Learning is all about.

Thing number one: the entire catalog of Lynda.com is now on LinkedIn Learning.

screenshot of lynda dot com homepage that says lynda is now linkedin learning

Lynda has a few thousand courses in various categories.

So, now on LinkedIn learning we have those Lynda courses scattered about – in addition to many others produced by non-Lynda people.

Side note: if you’re a Lynda.com member, you can import your data into LinkedIn Learning under the Manage Your Account settings.

LinkedIn Learning Review: Courses & Production Values

The selection of courses on LinkedIn Learning is like a civilized version of Udemy.

It’s like Udemy with pantsuits.

Whereas you can learn how to juggle xylophones and write haiku with banana peels on Udemy, on LinkedIn Learning you get topics like crisis management, B2B marketing, and all varieties of software development.

Serious stuff geared towards business-minded people…Or at least people who use LinkedIn.

Here on this landing page, LinkedIn read my mind and said “Candy, it’s like we know each other. Check out these courses!”

various assortment of linkedin learning courses

So we have stuff like:

  • Learning React.js,
  • Building Modern Projects with React,
  • React Native Essential Training,
  • TypeScript,
  • Object-Oriented Programming,
  • and lots more.

And then in the banner area, we see the newest recommended courses:

  • GitHub CodeSpaces: First Look,
  • Getting Your First Job in Software Development,
  • SQL Analysis for Data Developers
linkedin learning review screenshot of landing page course suggestions
Banner courses featured on my LInkedIn Learning landing page.

Now let’s pop in to Learning React.js by Eve Porcello, and you can get a glimpse of what the inside of a typical course looks like.

LinkedIn Learning’s Layout

The layout here is pretty straightforward: we have the video panel front and center.

Then to the left are the various sections and video lectures:

linkedin learning review screenshot of react course eve porcello

This is a very good introductory React.js course. It’s also a relatively short course – a lot of courses I’ve seen on this platform are between one and three hours.

Further, most lectures are just a few minutes.

Nice and manageable!

For the software courses, especially with the web developer stuff, I’m not seeing a lot of projects.

In other words, there’s more of a focus on showing the technology (with plenty of code-alongs), rather than building stuff you can put in a portfolio.

That is one of the big differences I do see between this platform and Udemy.

LinkedIn Learning isn’t doing 60-hour life-changing and, let’s be honest, sometimes soul-sucking courses with tons of projects.

Instead, these are mostly short introductory topics. You take it further independently and on your own time, rather than as part of the course.

So it really comes down to the style you prefer and what you’re trying to accomplish.

For example, if you’re trying to go from “zero to job-ready” in a completely new field, one or two of these courses isn’t going to cut it.

But if you’re just trying to introduce yourself to a new concept, or exploring your options, there are some good courses here for that.

I’m a software developer by trade, so my primary interest is in tech courses like these.

But exploring stuff outside of that that domain, the production values are pretty consistent.

Good recording quality, good mics, obviously a lot of time and effort was put into these productions. It’s also obvious LinkedIn has a minimum acceptable standard for courses.

That was surprising for me too.

I just assumed it was going to be crap on a map, low effort cash grab type stuff – but no. There are very good efforts in the video production realm.

I actually got sucked into a crisis communication course, which I had no intention of ever watching:

linkedin learning review screenshot inside crisis communication course

But it’s well-organized and engaging. Aaaand I got some good tips for the next time somebody wants to destroy me for a MySQL course review gone wrong.

I also like that they display the publication date.

A lot of competitor platforms won’t do this, but with something like web development courses it’s a critical factor.

When it comes to web dev courses over two or three years old? Many, if not most, are hopelessly outdated.

And so the publication date can help you make better decisions with what courses to take.

LinkedIn Learning Review: Cost

You have two options for LinkedIn Learning: monthly membership and yearly membership.

linkedin learning pricing page

And when you opt into that membership, you’re officially a LinkedIn Premium member.

As a premium member you get some other benefits. For example, you can view profiles anonymously (if you’re into that sort of thing).

And the cost for that is $29.99 per month. If you do the yearly it’s just under $240. These prices are about standard for membership education sites, nothing too surprising there.

LinkedIn Learning Review: Pros & Cons

Let’s talk about the Pros and Cons of LinkedIn Learning.

Pros

Pro #1: Good course selection.

I think there’s something here for just about anyone.

man giving lecture about aws certification
AWS course on LinkedIn Learning

Like I mentioned earlier, I got sucked into a crisis communications course. I had no idea I would find it interesting, but I did. And I like that there’s more than one choice for a particular topic.

For example, going back to React. There is lots of React stuff.

Lots of different Python stuff.

Even a collection of mini-courses that you can bang out in a half hour.

I like it.

Pro #2: High-quality, consistent production values.

As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t expecting such high quality production values.

It’s clear LinkedIn Learning does expect a certain standard. Whether I was checking out the business courses or going into the software stuff, it was consistent without being stifling.

linkedin learning review various web developer courses including html essential training by jen simmons

For example, instructors put their own signatures and flavors into many of the courses.

But it never got to a point of being distracting or outside the business flavor of LinkedIn.

Cons

Con #1: Entirely video-based.

This is the biggest drawback of the entire platform, in my opinion.

In a lot of ways I think this style of learning can be a death sentence for people.

It’s way too easy to just take the Netflix ‘n’ Chill mentality:

Watch a video, next.

Watch another video: next.

Take a little 2-question quiz, watch another video.

And you feel like you’re making progress. But really you’re just hanging out watching documentaries.

If there was an added element here, something interactive: built-in code editors for example – I think that would elevate this platform.

Con #2: There are outdated courses.

When I asked my audience what they thought of LinkedIn, one of the criticisms was that their stuff is outdated.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of very good, and fresh/timely material.

But there are also outdated duds worked into the mix.

Con #2.5: (Only half a con because it’s not a dealbreaker) There’s no option for buying courses a la carte. You must buy a membership.

You can do monthly, you can do yearly, but you have to buy a membership.

Of course, this isn’t unique to LinkedIn. Many of these learning platforms do membership only.

But if there’s just one course you see that you find appealing, the minimum price of that course is $29.99.

Now depending on the topic, that might actually be a really great deal.

But what if you don’t have much extra time to spare and your goal is to finish that course in two months?

Well, now it just cost you nearly $60.

The membership fees can start racking up for people who just don’t have the time to crank out a course in 30 days.

And remember, competitor platforms like Udemy sell individual video-based courses for very cheaply.

I’m just saying: assess your options before taking the plunge.

LinkedIn Learning Review: Overall

Overall, I wanted to hate this platform.

To wit:

  • LinkedIn insisted that I’m a bot on numerous occasions, locking me out of my account. bleep bleep bloop
  • Clueless tech recruiters are blowing up my inbox getting on my last nerve
  • I prefer to network in person.

It would be fair to say I’m just not the biggest LinkedIn fan.

But despite my bias, LinkedIn Learning has some good features I just was not expecting.

This platform reminded me a lot of Udemy in the good ways and bad ways. Lots of courses, interesting topics, massive Q&A sections. And it’s video-based: just jump in and start learning.

But learning about something and building a skill are two different things.

I think this is can be a good platform for learning. Just like the name implies: LinkedIn Learning.

It’s not LinkedIn Doing.

It’s not LinkedIn Skilling or LinkedIn Portfolio’ing.

Because really, you’re not getting many opportunities here to build skills via hands-on learning, at least in the software development department.

Again, LinkedIn Learning is like Udemy with pantsuits.

And if that’s something that sounds appealing to you – check this one out.

But if that sounds terrifying to you – you might wanna sit this one out.

Overall Score: B-

I’m giving LinkedIn Learning a final letter grade of B-. Meaning, the platform is above average, but still missing some important features.

For example, CodeCademy Pro is the same exact same price for an annual subscription, but you get many more features (affiliate link; read our disclosure).

My video review:

LinkedIn Learning Review: Final Thoughts

I had very low expectations for LinkedIn Learning, but was very pleasantly surprised.

Before you take the plunge on LinkedIn Learning, review your goals for your own learning path. For example, the video-based format will be a perk for some. But for others, not so much.


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