How LinkedIn Learning is Helping Seton Hall Strengthen Their Brand and Attract Top Students
April 8, 2019
Seton Hall University’s website reads that what sets it, “apart from other colleges and universities is how technology — and your laptop — are integrated with the curriculum.”
There’s plenty of evidence to support that. In 1997, the 10,000-student private university became one of the first colleges in the country to include a laptop computer in its welcome packet for each incoming freshman. That’s since turned into an award-winning Mobile Computing Program that not only provides each freshman with a new, fully loaded laptop or tablet; but as juniors, it also gives them all a new model with all the latest software.
To keep this differentiator strong, the school is always looking for more ways it can bring in technology to improve the student experience. This is why, in early 2018, Director of Instructional Design & Training Renee Cicchino and Senior Instructional Designer Riad Twal were brainstorming ways to bring online training to supplement their existing curriculum and ultimately create more career-ready students.
Specifically, they were looking for an online learning platform that would:
- Provide staff with cutting-edge training efficient way, so they’d have the resources necessary to teach emerging skills and tools. This was proving untenable via in-person training.
- Provide students with cutting-edge training as well to supplement their coursework.
- Help students build out their online resume, so they would be more attractive to employers when they graduated from Seton Hall.
- Meet the expectations of modern learners, so students and staff would actually use it.
Solution: LinkedIn Learning, Which Provided Students and Staff With Up-to-Date Content While Also Building Out Students’ Portfolios in the Process
To fill that need, Cicchino and Twal recommended investing in LinkedIn Learning for these main reasons:
- The breadth and freshness of the content: With more than 13,000 courses covering virtually every professional skill and 50 more being added each week, LinkedIn Learning covered nearly all staff and student needs, regardless of their focus.
- The quality of content: Seton Hall already knew about – and was impressed by – LinkedIn Learning’s Lynda.com content library. “We were familiar with Lynda.com, and knew it was a fantastic resource,” Cicchino said. “We trust that the content is rich and extremely useful.”
- LinkedIn Learning’s direct tie-in to LinkedIn: As students finish courses on LinkedIn Learning, they can add certificates to their profile, making them more attractive to employers.
- LinkedIn Learning met the needs of today’s learners: In a smartphone-first world, LinkedIn Learning’s mobile app only makes it more attractive to students and staff alike. Additionally, with LinkedIn Learning videos being broken into small chunks, students and staff could easily find and consume what learning applied to them most.
In August of 2018, the university agreed and invested in 10,000 LinkedIn Learning licenses for both students and staff. Cicchino and Twal’s reaction?
“I literally jumped up and down in my office,” Cicchino said. “Ultimately, this will make faculty, staff, students – everyone – at Seton Hall more well-rounded, more marketable. It's a fantastic resource to have."
Seton Hall rolled out LinkedIn Learning on Halloween 2018, using the run-up to the holiday as the focal point of their marketing. Via emails, flyers and posters, the university announced they were launching “new tricks” with LinkedIn Learning; although there was “nothing spooky” about online video courses, and urging everyone to “get hooked” on LinkedIn Learning with the promise of a candy cane.
Since the rollout, the university’s human resources department has created a learning path for new employees’ onboarding and training. It was also integrated right away into the university’s Career Center, to help students land internships and jobs.
Result: LinkedIn Learning Meets a Variety of Staff and Student Needs and Further Helps Differentiate Seton Hall
Because it was launched after the academic year had started, the initial push was focused on faculty and staff. Starting in the fall of 2019, freshmen will receive LinkedIn and LinkedIn Learning already loaded onto their laptops, with free access to both.
“We expect that as it becomes part of the campus culture, its use will really skyrocket,” Director of IT Communications Milan Stanic said.
That said, Seton Hall is already seeing impressive results among students and staff. Some examples:
- It’s being used as a supplement to existing courses. A great example is an economics class that requires advanced Microsoft Excel skills, and the professor referred any students who needed extra help to the LinkedIn Learning “Excel Essentials” videos.
- It’s helping level the playing field for all students. “Previously, if students were struggling with a skill that was a prerequisite for a class, they’d go to YouTube or Google,” Stanic said. “Now, they can access courses and videos on LinkedIn Learning.”
- It’s helping students get ready for life after graduation. Already, students are using LinkedIn Learning to bolster their online portfolios to land their dream jobs out of college. “Now, students can leave here with LinkedIn Learning certificates in PR and marketing and a business degree, for example,” Cicchino said. “All things considered, as an employer, I’d want that person over someone who just had a business degree.”
- It’s reduced stress while providing a better learner experience. Now, instead of trying to fill every need from students and faculty with in-person courses, Cicchino provides LinkedIn Learning courses that meet the specific need instead. That’s reduced her stress level, while also providing a more comprehensive solution to students and faculty alike. “That definitely takes the pressure off,” she said. “Knowing that the immediate training needs of faculty, staff and students are being met makes LinkedIn Learning an essential resource for our community.”
Hodge uses LinkedIn Learning – mostly when he’s eating – to brush up on his skills.
“It’s a great supplemental resource to everything I’m already being taught,” Hodge. “I would love to use it to learn new things in the future, but right now I’m using it to gain additional knowledge and reinforce what I’ve already learned to stay up-to-date in my field.”
“The platform is effective and efficient,” he added. “The workload during a semester puts a lot of pressure on the student, but this platform provides a stress-free learning experience.”
Meanwhile, Dangolla is using LinkedIn Learning with an eye toward the future.
“I use it to make myself more marketable for future opportunities,” she said. Accessing the platform on the weekends and while on break, Dangolla finds the greatest value in “being able to share courses with others and being ‘certified’ from LinkedIn on certain skills.”
Bottom line, Seton Hall continues to use technology as a key differentiator to attract top students and LinkedIn Learning is a now a big part of that, elevating the learning experience for everyone at the university.