Uncubed

LinkedIn Just Spent $1.5 Billion to Get Into Online Learning


April 29, 2015 By Olivia Asiala


So VentureBeat just did some nifty math in the wake of LinkedIn’s $1.5 billion acquisition of online education business Lynda.com.

It’s not just the biggest acquisition in LinkedIn’s history. It’s nearly three times larger than all of its previous acquisitions combined. And it’s nearly ten times more than its next largest acquisition (Bizo at $175 million). It’s a staggering sum. Especially for a company that’s been at least steadily acquisitive.

The deal obviously signals LinkedIn’s view that the future of online education is worthy of a huge bet. But it also portends a future where online education finds a home in non-traditional communities. Offline, universities offered a natural community for learning. People assembled there to learn, sure, but had the benefit of all the other activities and interaction that took place. But online learning hasn’t had the same benefit. Most online learning platforms have started as just that – focused destinations, without the support of being nested in a broader community where people had built a relationship through another broader set of pursuits.

With 111 million members in the US alone already leveraging LinkedIn as a careers tool, content platform, and networking tool, the community fabric to support an educational platform is profound (to grossly understate the situation).

We’re eager to see how it plays out – in part because we’re fans of the philosophy. Our own online learning platform was launched first into the community of people that attends our events. And then we created the online learning counterpart, it naturally became part of the conversation in Wakefield, our daily publication.

And what we’ve learned so far is that because our audience has come to trust us for the quality of our content, events, and the community they provide, they’re pretty curious about our video platform.

It’ll be interesting to see if, in fact, it’s communities that can get online learning to the next level. If that whole business about putting your money where your mouth is true, then it would appear that LinkedIn thinks so.

(Finally, lest we forget – congratulations to the actual Lynda!)


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