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Social Media & Collaborative Learning – LinkedIn


LinkedIn was started by Reid Hoffman in late 2002 (Lee, 2 June 2009). Unlike other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter that appeal to the general public, LinkedIn is designed to appeal to adult professionals and is used for “professional networking, personal branding, or job search/career development” (McCorkle & McCorkle, 2012, p. 157). Because LinkedIn is fundamentally different from other types of social media, the way it is used for education is different as well.

LinkedIn in Education

While Facebook and Twitter are used primarily to facilitate class discussion, I found no evidence of LinkedIn being used this way. Instead, the two articles I found about LinkedIn being used in an academic environment detailed how LinkedIn can be used to teach business skills. Cooper and Naatus (2014) talk about how LinkedIn can be used to teach concepts such as branding, market research, relationship building, sales, and business communications. McCorkle and McCorkle (2012) talk about how students in a university-level marketing class used LinkedIn to post their resumes, work on their personal brands, and build a network of LinkedIn groups corresponding to their professional and career goals. This is different quite different from how other social media are used in education because the focus is on how to use the LinkedIn tool rather than using the tool to facilitate class discussion on other topics.

LinkedIn in Corporate Training

The way that LinkedIn can be used in corporate training is also much different from how other social media is typically used. In looking for evidence of corporate training departments using LinkedIn, I found instead that LinkedIn purchased, a website that contains video-based training on a variety of topics, in 2015. Furthermore, Microsoft purchased LinkedIn in June 2016 (Hernandez, 2016). Now using the course library, they have launched a service called LinkedIn Learning, which is available to LinkedIn’s premium subscribers as well as to enterprises (Kapko, 2016). In fact, the internal training department at my company has purchased enterprise access to by LinkedIn and it is now available to all employees through my company’s internal learning management system. Individuals can also subscribed to either or LinkedIn Learning.

I have used at work for years when I needed to learn a software application. The videos are divided up into bite-sized pieces, typically 3-4 minutes in length. I’ve been able to find training on a specific feature of a program that I’ve needed help with. They also offer other courses that could be seen as “soft skills.” For example, I recently found a course on Mindfulness through my company’s subscription. So rather than having participants use social media for discussion, companies can give their employees access to the vast training resources that are available on

Using LinkedIn

To join LinkedIn:

  1. Go to


  1. Complete the fields and click Join now.
  2. You will then receive an email to confirm your email address. Click the Confirm your email button in the email.


  1. Enter your country and ZIP code and click Next.


  1. Indicate whether or not you are a student, enter your job title and company, and click Next.


  1. Click an option to indicate what you’re interested in.


  1. Click Continue to let LinkedIn search for contacts in your address book, or click Skip.


  1. Upload a photo of yourself and click Continue, or click Skip.


  1. Select or deselect topics to indicate your interests and then click the Follow button at the bottom of the page.


Your page is created. You can update your profile, manage your network, and more.

Using LinkedIn Learning

You can subscribe to LinkedIn Learning and get your first month free.

  1. Go to


  1. Click the Start my free month button.


  1. Complete the fields and click Join now. Alternately, you can sign in with Facebook or with your LinkedIn credentials if you already have a LinkedIn account.


  1. Indicate whether you want to pay monthly or annually and select your payment method.


  1. Enter your payment information and click the Review order button.


  1. Click the Start your free trial button.


  1. Review your receipt and then click the I’m done button.


  1. Enter or select the skills you are interested in and click Next.


Your LinkedIn Learning page opens with suggestions for courses based on the skills you expressed interest in. You can also search for other courses. Note that subscribing to LinkedIn Learning also gives you premium access to LinkedIn.

Learn More about LinkedIn


Cooper, B., & Naatus, M. K. (2014). LinkedIn as a learning tool in business education. American Journal of Business Education7(4), 299-306.

Hernandez, P. (2016). Microsoft offers office training on LinkedIn Learning. Eweek, 1.

Kapko, M. (2016). LinkedIn Learning puts to work. Cio (13284045), 1.

Lee, E. (2 June 2009). LinkedIn’s startup story: Connecting the business world. Retrieved from

McCorkle, D. E., & McCorkle, Y. L. (2012). Using LinkedIn in the marketing classroom: Exploratory insights and recommendations for teaching social media/networking. Marketing Education Review22(2), 157-166.


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