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LinkedIn Designs a Learner-Centric Enterprise Learning Platform

Contributor:  Rajon Tumbokon
Posted:  03/06/2014  12:00:00 AM EST  | 

Rate this Article: (4.8 Stars | 6 Votes)
Tags:   LMS | LinkedIn | E-learning

The term Learning Management System (LMS) is ubiquitous in enterprises across the globe as the software platform that assigns, tracks, and reports learning events such as training classes, e-learning, video tutorials, and training documents. If you work in corporate learning and development, how many times have you heard your colleagues or cohorts gripe about your LMS? Many times, LMSs sold to businesses present a very unpleasant experience for both users and administrators.

Research conducted by eLearning Guild revealed that one third of LMS users are either unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with their platform. Much of the frustration with LMSs can be attributed to the ineffectiveness of the LMS selection process, but also speaks greatly to the landscape of Learning Management Systems as a whole.


Some of the biggest flaws of modern-day LMSs stem from four things:

1.) They are designed with administrators in mind.

2.) They are designed within a “one-size-fits-all” framework that creates unnecessary tasks for administrators and users.

3.) They are marketed to executives who don’t necessarily have learning & development expertise.

4.) They hold on to legacy content APIs and processes that don’t result in a good user experience.

These aspects lead to a miscalculation that avoids the most important element in any corporate learning and development program: the learner. The biggest success any learning and development program can achieve is advancing the skills and knowledge of its company’s employees through learning. Yet, most LMSs are built without learning as the primary goal.

The Death Star Approach


LMSs are designed with a top-down mentality that my L&D team and I like to call The Death Star Approach: "Complete this training or die." The problem with this tactic is that it creates negative extrinsic motivations for employees to complete their learning programs. Elements such as annoying email reminders, threats from management, and weak learning content cultivate a mindset that isn’t very conducive to learning.

Learner First: Developing a Learning Culture

At LinkedIn, we believe learning is the most important aspect to the number one part of our culture: transformation. In the summer of 2012, we were tasked to develop an internal learning platform that transforms the trajectory of our employees’ careers through learning. While certainly not an easy goal, we approached this challenge with a specific direction: Learner First.


The result, LearnIn, is a personalized learning platform for LinkedIn employees that provides important learning content at the right time. LearnIn employs the philosophy of informal learning and the 70-20-10 model: 70% of learning happens on the job, 20% of learning happens through coaching and feedback, and 10% of learning happens through formal courses.

By curating meaningful learning content on LearnIn, we can leverage all of the great learning resources already available internally and on the web. This gives us the opportunity to focus on producing courses and resources unique to the company.

Several modules have already been developed for LearnIn, including our New Hire Roadmap and Transformation Plan. The New Hire Roadmap provides a prescriptive week-by-week overview of what new hires should learn in order to be successful in their first thirty days. LearnIn’s Transformation Plan provides a personalized learning guide based on each employee’s own career and development goals.

We are constantly improving LearnIn to be a more effective learning tool for LinkedIn employees, ensuring that we keep the learner first in the platform’s experience. As for me, LearnIn has been an invaluable resource in helping me find my path in my own career.

This article originally appeared on Medium. It was republished with the author's permission.

Rajon Tumbokon Contributor:   Rajon Tumbokon

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