SHRM Day 2: Building LinkedIn Skills With

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas. Luckily for the folks attending SHRM's annual conference and expo through Wednesday, that's a good thing, because so much of what's happening here is worthy of being put immediately into practice for the thousands of HR practitioners who made the trek here.

The topic of the day on the second day, at least for me, was education and professional development. I met with some folks with, the popular — and now cash-flush, thanks to LinkedIn — consumer e-learning website. sits in an interesting industry right now. With massive open online courses and online learning threatening to upend traditional models of higher education and adult learning, — especially following its purchase by LinkedIn — has the potential to dramatically transform how individuals continue their skills development as they rise through the workforce.

There are large implications here for the larger corporate and adult learning industry, not to mention higher education. According to representatives, the education space right now is "a race to free," meaning tech companies focused in the sector are racing to make education and learning more accessible. Now, bring LinkedIn into the fold and its more than 300 million monthly users — not to mention a powerful and established professional networking platform — and there is clearly huge potential for major disruption and transformation.

An example scenario, according to the representatives I spoke with, is that LinkedIn hopes to use Lynda's vast content capability in its professional social network by integrating skill building and learning into the process. Say you have a LinkedIn profile and are interested in applying for a job as a marketing content manager but don't have the skills needed to settle into that job right now. Through Lynda's incorporation with LinkedIn, your peers might identify your need to build some needed skill and direct you to participate in a course right through LinkedIn — once you complete that course, the social network will recognize that you now have said skill.

This is a development that, in my view, has the potential to integrate social networking with skill building. If enough LinkedIn users decide to take advantage of this integration, LinkedIn will potentially amass a great amount of valuable data that will provide us with incredible insights on not only the job market but also the skills people need to learn to advance themselves in their careers. This data will also be of value to companies wanting to track and measure skill building in their own organizations.


That's all I've got for now. Stick with me for one last blog here from SHRM in Vegas. In the meantime, back to the blackjack table.