LinkedIn’s Blockbuster deal w/ What it means to the online learning industry — from by Stephen Meyer


The press coverage of LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of for $1.5 billion has largely overlooked a key aspect of the deal. Yes, it integrates learning into a powerful social media site. Yes, per LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, it’ll “connect our members to opportunity,” giving them access to skills training that will enhance their careers.

But what does it mean to corporate e-learning?, based in Carpinteria, CA, used to be strictly a consumer company, but its strategy for the past couple years has clearly been to muscle into workplace training. What does the acquisition mean to market leader Skillsoft and other providers of online corporate learning? (Disclosure: I am the CEO of Rapid Learning Institute, an e-learning company)

Well, it’s an atomic bomb.

What’s different is that’s “content producers” know they’re creating a video, a medium that operates under a different set of rules from traditional learning vehicles. Content producers know that an instructionally sound e-learning module fails if people don’t watch it.

The most important thing does is find credentialed subject matter experts who speak comfortably in front of a camera. That’s a one-in-20 quality. Ivy League professors who excel in a classroom often look wooden on camera. You don’t have to be pretty. In fact, actors usually bomb in e-learning. You need to be credible and hold people’s attention by combining tight scripts and captivating delivery.’s e-learning, especially their soft-skills content, does it better than Skillsoft and other major players in the industry.

The message for corporate e-learning insiders is clear: The quality of content matters.