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A Deeper Dive into LinkedIn Learning: Instructional Design Best Practices


As a digital learning platform with a repository of over 16,000 on-demand courses, LinkedIn Learning is a valuable resource, allowing UNF faculty to easily assign supplementary learning experiences to their students. Our first article, Getting Connected With LinkedIn Learning, provides an overview of how to search LinkedIn Learning for relevant content and embed links in Canvas with easy-to-follow instructions. Now that the technical implementation is out of the way, let’s review a few simple ideas and best practices for effectively incorporating LinkedIn Learning content into your course from an instructional design standpoint.

Complementing Learning Objectives

A simple instructional design principle is this: Well-designed courses include clear, specific, and measurable learning objectives, and then instructional materials and assessments support student learning of those objectives. Alignment exists when everything works together in sync, and this is a cornerstone for structuring effective learning experiences. How might assigning a specific LinkedIn Learning course help support your overall course goals? Here are a few reflective questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have learning objectives that ask students to “apply” a particular theory, concept, or knowledge set? If so, pre-existing LinkedIn Learning content may help students make those real-world connections.
  • Is it an important goal to “bridge” what students learn in your class with identifiable skills, software, or programs current industries use? If so, you may find a great course match on the LinkedIn Learning platform.
  • Do you ever notice gaps in student knowledge, such that they need a ‘primer’ to activate past knowledge or a brief refresher lesson on certain skills to complete an assignment successfully? Here are a few examples of effective strategies that you can employ:
    • Proactive support: Over time, instructors begin to anticipate common “trouble spots” for students. Let’s say that students often struggle with correctly utilizing Microsoft Excel functions and formulas. As an instructor, you can assign a short form Excel Basics training, and require students to upload a certificate of completion, to help ‘head off’ these issues at the start of the semester.
    • Revise and resubmit: Let’s say that a student submits a first draft grant proposal, in which their task was to incorporate a short literature review and specific persuasive writing tecniques, and their submission doesn’t quite match expectations. Link your student with a relevant LinkedIn Learning course to uplevel their skills, and ask them to resubmit their new-and-improved assignment.
  • Do you teach an introductory course where students have a diverse set of intended career paths? Business majors, for example, may find themselves working in many settings – at Fortune 500 companies, in the arts or entertainment industry, or at a nonprofit organization, for example. A quick perusal of available LinkedIn Learning content shows many course options that take foundational business theories and apply them to diverse professional paths. Perfect! You can devise a “create your own adventure” assignment that captures student interest, prepares for an upcoming internship opportunity, or effectively steers toward a defined career path after graduation.

Flip the Classroom

The flipped classroom model involves assigning instructional material and associated assessments before class. This helps set the stage for productive use of classroom time to scaffold the development of higher-level cognitive skills (i.e., see Bloom’s taxonomy pyramid for more information) (Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University, n.d.). Consider the value, for example, if students already have an introductory knowledge of key terms and concepts. You can then spend more time where it matters – by having students practice higher-level cognitive skills, such as analysis, evaluation, or critique – under your guidance. You can also provide real-time affirmation, critical feedback, and early intervention to usher students to deeper levels of knowledge and mastery.

Students engage lower-level skills before class ("remember" and "understand" as foundational learning of course topics. This frees up much-valued instructional time during class to practice mid-level cognitive skills ("apply" and "analyze") and benefit from social learning with support of instructor and peers. Students are then able to employ more complex, higher-level cognitive skills ("evaluate" and "create") in after class assignments.

Once you’ve selected an appropriate LinkedIn Learning course to utilize in your flipped classroom model, restructure your allotted class time to include relevant and meaningful active learning activities, (please see item #4 on the above linked page for specific examples). Please visit our Online Assessment Best Practices page for specific ideas around creating more authentic, meaningful, and effective assessments. Although this page was written directly for online teaching, many of these strategies work seamlessly across any modality.

The Power of Optional Resources

As an instructional designer, I’m a big fan of providing optional resources to students. Why? Well, frankly, just as students begin your course with varying levels of prior knowledge, they also start the semester with various intentions and motivations. Consider the “I’m just here because this course is required” student versus the “I’ve been looking forward to taking a course like this for the past 3 years” student.

Types of Students

Selectively curating optional content may pique interest and further curiosity, offer additional means to explore the subject matter of interest, and proactively help students get up to speed with current knowledge in the field (Wiley Online Classroom, n.d.). If these goals appeal to you, search LinkedIn Learning’s wide array of specialized content to pull into your course to fulfill this purpose. Make sure to note that the content is optional, along with a bit of context explaining the benefits of using those resources.

Continuity of Instruction

Welcome to Florida – a frequent annual destination for hurricanes. Severe weather episodes, global pandemics, and other unexpected events may lead to the cancelation of instructional days in any given semester. In the event of such occurrences, UNF strongly encourages faculty to consider continuity of instruction. Assigning relevant LinkedIn Learning content as a part of your continuity of instruction plan means that students have an alternate means of obtaining vital knowledge and skills necessary in your course. Although we have zero control over adverse events, and when they happen, instructors can proactively develop a plan by leveraging this vast repository of LinkedIn Learning courses, so there are no lost instructional days.

Ready to Dive in?

If you are interested in learning more about LinkedIn Learning in general, or how to navigate the course repository, please reach out to us at CIRT. You may send an email to cirtlab@unf.edu or call 904-620-4294.

Also, please feel free to sign up for the Getting Started With LinkedIn Learning self-enroll course created for UNF faculty. Inside, you will find sample syllabus language, sample assignments, and other instruction for how to embed LinkedIn Learning content into your Canvas course.

Lastly, UNF faculty who desire additional help with implementing LinkedIn Learning best practices, as detailed above, please visit the Instructional Design Team webpage and schedule a consultation with an instructional designer liasion for your academic discipline. We are more than happy to assist you!

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Picture of Khia Thomas
Khia Thomas
CIRT | Instructional Designer