4.7M Videos and Counting. A Look at Ontario’s Province-Wide Investment into LinkedIn Learning

October 22, 2019

See how Ontario and LinkedIn Learning  are working together to drive student outcomes.

In early 2019, recent graduate Gabriela Castro applied for a finance project coordinator job at Origin House in Ottawa. The problem?

The job called for someone who knew Microsoft Project 365, and Castro only knew Microsoft Project 2013.

So, before the interview for the position, she took a Microsoft Project 365 course on Lynda.com – which was provided to her by her college, the Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology – and published the certificate on her LinkedIn profile. The hiring manager noticed.

“When I came into the interview, my (future) boss told me he saw the certificate, and he was impressed,” Castro said. “In my mind, right there, I knew I got it.”

She was right — Castro landed the job. And that type of on-demand, work-integrated learning is exactly what the Province of Ontario was hoping for when they invested in 1,000,000 Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning) licenses – one for each student, staff and faculty member in the province’s higher education system.

Ontario invested in 1 million Lynda.com licenses to better prepare their students for their careers

Ontario is Canada’s most populous province, with 14 million+ people spread across 400,000 square miles (1,000,000 km2). A focus of the province’s government is it’s 45 colleges and universities, which are committed to preparing students for career success.

But with traditional education alone, there were gaps. Specifically, Ontario conducted a survey of 6,360 students, which found that 74% of Canadian students believed leadership is a key skill to learn, and yet only 36% said they had learned it in their secondary education. It’s a similar story for business etiquette, where 65% of Canadian students believed business etiquette is critical for success in their careers, and yet only 30% reported learning it in school. Similar gaps also existed in public speaking, business softwares and creativity (the most in-demand skill in the world). 

To fill those gaps at scale, in 2017 the province began looking for an online learning solution for their higher education system to do three things:

  1. Keep university and college staff and faculty up-to-date on the latest skills needed to create the most efficient and effective workforce possible.
  2. Help students learn in-demand hard and soft skills, to complement what they are learning in the classroom.
  3. Continue to encourage students to become self-directed, lifelong learners.

Their search came up with a clear choice – Lynda.com from LinkedIn, which has since evolved into LinkedIn Learning.

“There are very few other platforms that had such a broad array of resources that were appropriate for the needs of students, staff and faculty,” said  David Porter, CEO of eCampusOntario, the organization behind the province’s investment. “It covered the most in-demand technical and soft skills across so many areas; it was what we needed.”

Ontario went forward, investing in 1 million licenses for students, staff and faculty. 

The result – 4.7 million videos viewed, as students have used LinkedIn Learning to “bridge the gap” from school to work

Since Ontario invested in Lynda.com in 2017, more than 300,000 staff, faculty and students have used it, with Ontario upgrading from Lynda.com to the LinkedIn Learning platform in August of 2019. Those learners have watched a combined 4.7 million videos on the platform, covering everything from Microsoft Excel to project management to UX design.

That’s an astonishing amount of learning at scale. But what does it mean at the individual level?

In interviews, students say LinkedIn Learning has helped bridge the gap from the theory they learned in school to the challenges they face in the working world. They’ve also said it has taught them skills colleges don’t typically teach, such as how to find a job and critical soft skills.

“College doesn’t teach you everything you need to be successful in your career,” Castro said. “There are more soft and hard skills that are required than the ones that are being taught to you in college.”

“School teaches you more broadly about a topic,” said Nick Dolan, a recent graduate from Ontario’s Durham College and a LinkedIn Student Ambassador who landed a job at Riipen after school. “With Lynda.com, I learned how to execute what I learned from experts with real-world experience.”

Dipinti Phutela, a recent graduate of Ontario’s George Brown College who now works as a technical recruiter, agrees.

“It teaches practical skills,” Phutela said. “And it teaches you skills that you need to find a job, like how to interview and how to network.”

So yes, LinkedIn Learning has solved immediate needs students faced. But it’s also fostered the self-directed learning Ontario was hoping to build.

A perfect example is Ali Khan, a recent graduate of the University of Toronto. Previously, Khan saw school as something he felt pressured to do to get a job. 

That changed after he was first exposed to Lynda.com – provided to him by his university – and a new dedication to self-improvement was born. Today, Khan watches at least 90 minutes of online learning a week.

“It totally changed my perspective,” Khan said. “It made me fall in love with learning, and now I can’t imagine a week going by where I don’t invest time in it.”

That’s the attitude of someone who will be successful moving forward, regardless of how the economy changes. And exactly the attitude Ontario is looking to instill.