By Henry Kronk May 04, 2018
If online courses and eLearning have any advantage over traditional education, it’s scalability. On Thursday, the government of Ontario proved that in spades by making LinkedIn Learning’s Lynda courses available to all students at the 44 universities and colleges in the province. The initiative is a collaboration between eCampusOntario, Ontario’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) and LinkedIn. More than one million college students, staff, and faculty members will have access to the online courses.
LinkedIn acquired Lynda in 2015 for $1.5 billion to use it as a corner stone of its LinkedIn Learning initiative. At the time, founder Lynda Weinman commented, “This is a moment in history when people can learn anytime, anywhere, and with no boundaries. We believe in LinkedIn’s future stewardship and vision and feel that we have found a perfect cultural fit for our mission.”
While LinkedIn has caught some flack in the past for jacking up the price, it’s hard to make that argument in Ontario, where the average annual tuition and fees languish at $7,539 CAD—or just above $5,850 USD.
“We are delighted to see LinkedIn joining together with eCampusOntario to deliver online content that can enhance and expand learning and skills development for more than one million Ontario college and university students,” says Dr. Marilyn Herie, Vice President Academic and Chief Learning Officer at Toronto’s Centennial College in a statement. “LinkedIn’s access to a global community of subject experts and working professionals allows students to tap into a world of knowledge to support their individual career goals.”
Ontario educators are hoping to accomplish a couple specific goals with the new offerings. One of these is aiding in the practice of flipped learning. The pedagogy involves throwing out the old ‘sage on the stage’ style of teaching. Instead, instructors ask students to watch or listen to recorded lectures and go through readings that would normally be covered in class for homework. Class time is then spent performing more cognitively challenging, analytic work using and applying the material they’ve already learned.
Administrators also seek to harness Lynda/LinkedIn Learning offerings to help students prepare for future employment. Students will have the benefit of LinkedIn’s Economic Graph which collects data from professionals to help inform workers about job offerings, provide a profile to employers, and know where demand currently sits.
“Learning takes all kinds of forms and can happen at any point in someone’s life or career,” said Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development in a statement. “By working in partnership with both eCampusOntario and Lynda.com, we are excited to offer flexible online learning that will build Ontario’s talent advantage and help postsecondary students prepare for successful careers in this changing economy.”
“Today’s announcement is very good news for our students and faculty members,” said, Patrick Deane, President and Vice-Chancellor McMaster University in a statement. “The expanded access to online learning content is a valuable complement to the high-quality teaching and learning that happens every day in our classrooms, labs and communities.”