ONLINE JOB-TRAINING SITE Lynda has built a library of more than 6,300 courses that teach business and technology skills from better navigating Excel to using design software. And now that library belongs to LinkedIn. The $1.5 billion acquisition, which is the largest in LinkedIn’s history, is part of CEO Jeff Weiner’s master plan to make LinkedIn not just a resume repository, but a place for professionals to manage their careers and, increasingly, learn new skills—especially in the world’s fastest-growing economies.
In the last year, LinkedIn has more than doubled its Chinese user base, but still only 9 million of its 347 million members are in China. Weiner believes Lynda could be critical to helping it expand there, and in other areas of the emerging world. “Think about what this coursework could mean for people graduating from school and trying to figure out their career paths in these developing economies,” he told WIRED in an interview today, just after announcing the Lynda acquisition. “We think it could be game-changing.”
Lynda’s customers include individuals, businesses, government and universities, who purchase subscriptions to access its courses. The company has mastered a low-cost production process for high quality content, which it produces in its Santa Barbara offices as well as in a production studio in Austria. So far, Lynda offers courses in Spanish, German, French and Japanese in addition to English, and Weiner says LinkedIn plans to expand. “If we translate the current English coursework on leadership into Chinese, for example, we’re going to add value,” says Weiner. “Then you start thinking about local presence in these markets. What are the skills that are most in demand in the Chinese workforce?”