When Natalea Scott joined Jhpiego as a budget analyst in December, she knew her onboarding process would involve instruction to get up to speed on the organization's financial systems. What she didn't know was how fast her learning process would take off, or that it would allow her to explore a host of topic areas beyond those she'd need for her new job.
Once she completed an initial round of SAP skills training through JHU's learning management system, Scott says she began to explore LinkedIn Learning, an extensive collection of courses that the university offers to all faculty and staff. "That's when I saw it's all free," Scott recalls. "Because I'm in finance, I started with a lot of courses related to that. So, data analysis, finance, accounting."
Over the next two months, Scott completed 57 online courses, including one she sought out in response to a request by her supervisor to better manage the influx of emails that Jhpiego receives in multiple inboxes. Thanks to a LinkedIn Learning Power Automate course, Scott was able to efficiently flow the emails through Excel. "I love Excel, so I was able to figure out a way to filter in Excel so that we're not missing emails," Scott says.
Though Scott initially used LinkedIn Learning to target skills essential for her new job, she's also taken a course in customer service, a skill area she'd already developed in past jobs, and has explored areas such as leadership and management, which may be relevant as her career progresses. "Even though I'm not quite there yet in my career, I wanted to learn a little more about it," she says.
That's a smart way to approach all that LinkedIn has to offer, says Tina Cole, manager of JHU's Learning Solutions, which administers LinkedIn Learning for faculty and staff. "What's wonderful is that this is a free resource open to everyone, and it can really help you develop your professional and personal skills," she says.
LinkedIn Learning currently offers more than 16,000 courses covering a wide range of topics, so whether you're interested in mastering Microsoft PowerPoint, learning to communicate with emotional intelligence, or picking up portrait photography, there's likely a course for you. And LinkedIn adds 30 to 70 courses each week, with timely topics such as structuring your day when working from home, building an inclusive workplace, and understanding data privacy. That timeliness is more important than ever, Cole says. "We're all working differently now, so we all need to keep up our skill set to adapt."
The company's selection also includes certification prep courses, complete with study guides and videos. "In the past, people often paid out of pocket for these courses and had their department reimburse them," explains LinkedIn Learning's Elma Clarke, who oversees the company's relationship with JHU. "Prep courses can cost thousands of dollars, but they're free on LinkedIn Learning."
To help you easily find the content you need, LinkedIn Learning works with information you provide and offers tools you can use to quickly get to the most relevant material. The process starts on your LinkedIn Learning home page, which you can access directly at linkedinlearning.jh.edu through your myJH page (click on the Education drop-down and then click LinkedIn Learning) or through JHU's learning management system. LinkedIn Learning will automatically populate your home page with "top picks for you," courses to gain skills based on your job title or role, skills popular among people in your industry, and other featured content. Your tailored content will become more fine-tuned as you search for and take courses or manually add desired skills to your profile, Clarke says.
You also can use the browse link or search bar at the top of your LinkedIn Learning home page to find content of interest, including audio, video, courses, and learning paths—curated course selections that will move you sequentially toward a career development goal (think "Coaching and Developing Employees" or "Instructional Design").
Clicking the Browse link will allow you to search by broad category area and then drill down to specific courses. Filters, accessed once you use the search bar, can help you tailor selections based on type (courses, audio, video, or learning path), length, and level (beginning, intermediate, advanced). Prefer to learn in another language? There's a filter for that. "Not all courses are offered in all languages, but if you're learning another language or you speak another as your first language and prefer to learn that way, you can," Clarke says. "Some people really like to do that."
When you find courses of interest, you can save them; they'll appear on your home page for later use. Your home page also features a prompt to set weekly learning goals and offers a quick view of your progress.
Once you've selected content and begin watching or listening, you'll find more tools to help you maximize your experience, including quizzes to help you gauge your understanding of the material, a place to take notes, and a Q&A section where you can communicate with the instructor and others taking the course. You'll also find a searchable transcript that can quickly take you to the point that most interests you. "This lets you get bite-sized bits of learning, so if you forgot how to make a pivot table in Excel, for example, you can quickly get right to that information rather than taking the entire course," Cole says.
Best of all, you can take your learning anywhere. Want to go for a walk and listen to an audio course on how to manage challenging co-workers? Download the LinkedIn Learning app to your phone, lace up your sneakers, and go. You also can access courses, videos, and audio from your laptop or tablet, of course.
If you're like Scott, once you get started you may find yourself eager to tackle the next topic, whatever that may be. In addition to courses teaching specific job skills, Scott has taken courses on time management, effective listening, and even one on personal finance. "I feel like there is so much to learn in life," Scott says. "I won't be able to learn everything, but I always look for ways that I can improve."
JHU LinkedIn Learning stats
Curious about how your colleagues are engaging with the online learning platform? Here are some numbers for you:
Top 5 courses at JHU (last 90 days)
- Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365)
- The Six Morning Habits of High Performers
- Project Management Foundations
- Unconscious Bias
- Leading Without Formal Authority
Participation numbers (last 90 days)
- Hours viewed: 3,890
- People logged in: 4,182
- People viewed content: 2,659
- Course views: 14,655
- Course completions: 2,529
- Videos viewed: 87,352
- Video completions: 71,406