By Liz Stevens, writer, Plastics Decorating

It’s a new year, and there’s no better time to make a plan for job skills training. Business leaders know that one key to a company’s success is having a skilled, knowledgeable workforce. With the rapid pace of advancement occurring in every sector, no one can sit back contentedly for too long without finding themselves left behind.

Comprehensive and ongoing employee training and education takes resources, planning and commitment. As a first foray into workforce-wide learning or as a resource to fill the gaps in a formal training platform, LinkedIn Learning (LI Learning) offers a surprisingly wide range of subject matter and a deep exploration of many topics.

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn has acquired the educational platform and, as LinkedIn Learning, offers 5,000+ courses that are available through public libraries, via learning management systems and by subscription.

Here are the top five reasons to explore LinkedIn Learning:

1. It Might Have Just the Course that is Needed

LI Learning might have just the training resource that a company needs. The subject matter available through LI Learning covers business topics and related software, creative topics and related software, and technology topics and relevant software.

The business category includes topics such as sales, project management, human resources and business analysis, and software such as SAP ERP, Microsoft Project and Outlook.

The creative category covers topics like graphic design and web design, and software such as InDesign, AutoCAD and SOLIDWORKS. The creative category also is where product and manufacturing topics are found. Courses in the creative category that may be valuable for plastics molders include “Siemens NX: Design for Injection Molding,” “Introduction to Composite Manufacturing” and “Fusion 360: Designing for Plastics.” Creative category courses that might be useful for paper printers, finishers, binders and embellishers include “Learning Print Production,” “InDesign Tips for Design Geeks” and “Sway Essential Training.”

The technology category features topics such as cloud computing, data science and security, and software like SQL, Tableau and Amazon Web Services.

Suggestion: When exploring the courses available, search on a variety of separate keywords. The two main drawbacks in this otherwise robust system are that LI Learning has not done the best job of categorizing its topics, and its use of keywords is inconsistent and sometimes haphazard.

2. It’s Widely Available

The public library option is free at participating libraries for residents with library cards. On the LMS front, the company has partnered with two dozen providers, including Absorb, Continu, Cornerstone, CrossKnowledge, Docebo, SumTotal and Valamis. And LI Learning has two subscriptions available – a Standard package, and a Premium package that includes some integration with LinkedIn features.

Suggestion: First, check for a participating local public library; second, check with one’s learning management system provider regarding a LI Learning partnership; and third, explore the subscription options.

3. The Presenters are Professionals, and the Content is Valuable

Course presenters for LI Learning have solid credentials and are sometimes experts from the companies behind the course topic.

“Excel: Power Query for Beginners,” a course under Business Analysis and Strategy/Data Analysis, is presented by Dave Ludwig, principal content designer, Microsoft Power Apps.

“Corporate Finance: Environmental, Social, and Governance,” is presented by Jim Stice and Earl Stice, Accounting Professor at Brigham Young University and Emeritus Professor of Accounting at Brigham Young University, respectively.

Gabriel Corbett, principle mechanical engineer at Tiger Industrial Inc. is the presenter for “SOLIDWORKS 2022 Essential Training.” Bart Van de Wiele, manager solutions consulting – consumer & business, EMEA at Adobe, is the presenter for “Advanced InDesign: Productivity Techniques.”

4. The Course Tracking is Well Designed

It’s easy for an individual to build a course list and work through the list at one’s own pace, on a multi-course track simultaneously. LI Learning users can queue up learning paths, which are collections of courses on a topic arranged in a logical order. Learners can also queue up individual courses rather than following a path.

The learning path for Master Print Production includes six courses: “Learning Print Production,” “Print Production: Packaging,” “Print Production: Digital and Variable Data Printing,” “Print Production: Embossing, Foil Stamping, and Die Cutting,” “Print Production: Spot Colors and Varnish” and “Print Production Prepress and Press Checks.” This learning path includes 8 1/2 hours of content.

LI Learning does a good job of managing a user’s learning paths and courses, making it easy to see one’s completion status on courses and to resume watching courses at the point one paused or at any point in a course. Transcripts for courses are available, and some courses feature associated materials in files that can be downloaded.

5. Cross-Indexing Leads to More Options

LI Learning makes it easy to find courses on subjects of particular interest, to discover courses related to one’s main interest, and to explore wider topics and trending subjects.

Searching for options on the topic of “composites,” for example, yields six learning paths and 213 courses. Exploring the course option “Introduction to Composite Manufacturing” includes references to related courses, such as “Rapid Prototyping for Product Design” and “NX: Class A Surfacing.” Exploring the NX course, in turn, yields related courses like “Learning Siemens NX” and “CATIA V5: Class A Surfacing.”

Suggestion: Get an idea of what LI Learning has to offer by browsing the three main categories – business, creative and technology – and the topics related to each category. For instances, check out the Role Guides for learning resources for sales managers or accountants. And explore the LI Learning library further by searching on keywords for topics, skills, software and certifications.

LinkedIn Learning can be a valuable resource for companies that want to offer continuing education for their workforce, whether that continuing ed relates to business topics, widely used software, progressive and cultural trends in the workplace, specific technologies or industry-wide management philosophies. Give it a look at