Campus-wide LinkedIn Learning supports student success, personalized learning

Campus scene with LiL logo

Editor’s Note: This article is the first installment of a three-part series on LinkedIn Learning. Part two focuses on how LinkedIn Learning supports faculty development.

LinkedIn Learning — an on-demand video library and online educational tool — is now a free resource available to all Colorado State University students, faculty and staff.

The Office of the Provost launched a campuswide LinkedIn Learning license at Colorado State University in early March. Students and employees now have access to the learning service containing more than 18,000 instructional and educational videos. Instructions for account activation — which is necessary for users with and without preexisting Learning accounts — are available on the Provost Office website. As an educational technology company, LinkedIn Learning offers courses in four key categories: business, creative, technology and certifications.

“We are so very happy to offer this valuable and broadly scoped resource to our Ram community for applications in teaching and learning,” said Janice Nerger, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Technology-driven tools like this and AI are changing the higher education landscape, and we want to capture evolving opportunities like this to innovate in pursuit of advancing our mission.”

Targeted learning

LinkedIn Learning is a user-friendly platform providing access to highly customizable learning. To complement course materials, instructors can assign students to watch individual videos or full courses or create specialized learning paths targeting specific skills or knowledge.

The Department of Journalism and Media Communication is one of two units on campus that purchased LinkedIn Learning licenses for their members before the universitywide acquisition.

“We are so very happy to offer this valuable and broadly scoped resource to our Ram community for applications in teaching and learning.”

— Janice Nerger, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs

Daniela Castillo, a senior instructor in JMC, has been using LinkedIn Learning for more than a decade and said instructors can provide a base of information in classrooms, labs and studios and then utilize LinkedIn Learning to allow students to revisit or expand on that knowledge.

“These videos can’t replace in-person training, but I think they’re an incredibly valuable additional resource,” Castillo said. “The JMC department started using LinkedIn Learning because of all our technical, hands-on classes. It’s really difficult to take notes on technical information, like software. With LinkedIn Learning, we offer a resource that allows students to constantly go back and train on the software we teach.”

LinkedIn Learning also provides on-demand education, which can be extremely beneficial for online and distance learning.

“Most CSU Online students are working and have familial responsibilities,” said Alysha Tarantino, director of college relations and advising for CSU Online. “Our students need to be able to view resources and support at 2 a.m. when they need it and are thinking about it or at 3 p.m. on a Saturday. LinkedIn Learning resources are available to them at the times they are available and can support them in their schoolwork and their personal and professional lives, with courses on Leadership, Workplace Culture, Courage, Strategic Thinking and Tough Conversations, to name just a few topics.”

Improving portfolios

Furthermore, students can use LinkedIn Learning to advance their own interests and hobbies, fulfill requirements for things like independent studies and Honors options and prove their skills to potential employers. Abigail Howshar, a senior in JMC, is currently working through a user experience/user interface learning path created by Castillo to earn LinkedIn Learning certifications — which will be displayed on her LinkedIn profile — for her independent study.

“LinkedIn Learning certificates show that a person is willing to be a self-learner, and I think for a lot of jobs that’s a big deal.”

— Daniela Castillo, senior instructor, Department of Journalism and Media Communication

“I’ve been looking at jobs that I’ve been wanting to apply for and a lot of them include UI/UX as a bonus if you know how to do it,” Howshar said. “So that was something I really wanted to learn to give me a competitive edge when applying for jobs. LinkedIn Learning is the only platform that’s free to me as a student that is laid out as easy as it is. It gives me little quizzes, and I like that I can post the certifications on my LinkedIn account so people can see what I’m doing.”

Not only do LinkedIn Learning certificates provide a tangible representation of a student’s official training on a subject, they also show initiative and drive.

“LinkedIn Learning certificates show that a person is willing to be a self-learner, and I think for a lot of jobs that’s a big deal,” Castillo said. “It shows that someone can sit down and have the discipline to teach themself something new, stay up to date in their industry or learn more about things like diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Providing LinkedIn Learning to all students also aligns with the Cultivate Diversity & Inclusion aspiration of the university’s Academic Master Plan.

“One of our priority goals for the Academic Master Plan is to provide alternate credentialing and attract a broader range of students to promote student success,” LinkedIn Learning project manager and Assistant Vice Provost Andrea Duffy said. “This is a step in that direction in terms of providing specific certifications or badges for applicable skills for students that will help them attain jobs and increase their marketability, expand their skill set and help them be more successful academically.”

Advice to instructors

LinkedIn Learning can be incredibly beneficial for student learning and development, but Castillo cautioned colleagues against assigning too many videos.

“There is what I call ‘LinkedIn Learning fatigue,” Castillo said. “If we use it too much, students start to hate it and write that in course evaluations. It should be more of an à la carte thing — you don’t want people to just sit there and mindlessly watch tutorials. The tutorials we use from LinkedIn Learning need to be very focused on specific skill sets.”

Curating LinkedIn Learning content can be time-consuming, Castillo said, but well worth the effort.

“It takes a lot of work for instructors to go into LinkedIn Learning and pick the content out because we have to go watch a bunch of videos and decide what’s useful and what’s not,” Castillo said. “But you can put together a super customized, very targeted set of videos that people can watch to learn something specific and that can last for a long time. It’s a very valuable tool.”