LinkedIn has added a new learning feature that aims to help people keep up with today’s fast-paced, technology-driven work environment. At an event in San Francisco Thursday, LinkedIn also unveiled a redesign of the desktop version of its service and enhancements to the feed and messaging features.
Under the premise that most skills will become obsolete in a few years if not refreshed frequently and many jobs will be lost to automation, the company created LinkedIn Learning to help people quickly broaden their horizons. The new feature allows people to display those skills for current and future employers and integrates the wealth of information from Lynda.com, which LinkedIn acquired last year for $1.5 billion.
“The products and features we are going to build on top of LinkedIn Learning over the next one or two years are going to transform the way professionals learn over the next one or two decades.” said LinkedIn Vice President of Consumer Products Ryan Roslansky.
Those hoping for more details on Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn were left disappointed. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said he would not discuss it because the deal hasn’t closed yet.
In addition to the new learning feature, LinkedIn redesigned its feed, the look of its desktop application and its messaging. The feed can function like a digital watercooler, with trending topics and options to look at all related news articles, posts published by LinkedIn users, and comments and information from people and companies related to the issue at hand.
LinkedIn officials used the example of Uber’s pilot program for autonomous vehicles when discussing the feed. A push notification leads to a page anchored by articles about the program. It includes comments from people in the auto industry and links to Uber officials’ LinkedIn pages.
On the messaging side, LinkedIn has added bots that can access users’ Google Calendars to find appropriate meeting times and places. Just prior to the meeting, a push notification pops up, sharing key information about the other people involved, like their skills and where they went to school. It also helps people who aren’t fans of cold messaging others.
“We recognize that not all of our members are professional networkers and wordsmiths who know exactly what to say at the right time,” said Mark Hull, LinkedIn’s senior director of messaging. “So we actually give them the words to say and help them with that conversation just to kick things off and get it started.”