LinkedIn Learning puts to work

SAN FRANCISCO — LinkedIn finally pulled the library of more than 9,000 online training courses into its main service and gave the content the prominence it's been lacking. The move comes nearly 18 months ago after the social network acquired the training site for $1.5 billion. LinkedIn Learning is now available to all of LinkedIn’s premium subscribers. The company also plans to make the service available to enterprises, so they can give their employees access to a variety of courses and training materials.

“The dream is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce,” said LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner during a press event at the company’s new San Francisco offices. “The idea that you can acquire skills once and have a job for life, those days are over.”LinkedIn Learning is one of a few new offerings designed to create more value for LinkedIn’s users, he said.

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The company also revealed a redesigned desktop site that more closely mirrors the experience of the company’s mobile app. The new site, which won’t be available until later this year, is less cluttered, and it makes it easier for you to access LinkedIn’s most popular features, according to Amy Parnell, the company’s senior director of user experience design. “We found with our mobile experience, when you clean up the interface, when you focus on the things that matter, we help people get the most value of LinkedIn, and this gets them more engaged on the platform,” she said.

LinkedIn’s desktop experience now more like mobile

At a time when mobile, and more specifically a “mobile-first” approach, is crucial, desktop sites don’t get the same level of attention as apps for the smaller screen. LinkedIn released a completely redesigned look for its mobile app last December, and the company has since seen a 30 percent year-over-year increase in unique mobile active users, as well as a 40 percent increase in all content viewed on the site and a 240 percent rise in message volume.

[ Related: What’s next for LinkedIn? ]

A handful of companies, including Bertelsmann, Box, Ellie Mae, NBCUniversal and Viacom, got early access to LinkedIn Learning to pilot administrative controls designed to help businesses manage internal professional development. The enterprise-focused product won’t be released until later this year, according to LinkedIn, and it did not specify any pricing details.

Weiner said LinkedIn Learning, the desktop redesign and other recent improvements were “in the works long before we were in discussions with Microsoft.” Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in June, but Weiner didn’t discuss details because the deal is still pending final approval.

“When we build great products … people get jobs, they start companies, they connect,” said Ryan Roslansky, vice president of global consumer product at LinkedIn.

LinkedIn currently has 450 million users in at least 200 countries, and 106 million people use the professional social network at least once a month, according to the company.

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