Microsoft is schooling LinkedIn users in some of its most popular Office apps.
When Microsoft announced it was acquiring LinkedIn for $26 billion back in June, the company hinted at plans to link the massive professional network with its productivity software ecosystem. By pulling LinkedIn's user graph into Office-based workflows, Office may one day suggest experts that can help users complete the task at hand.
Before Office-LinkedIn experiences begin to materialize, Microsoft is working to acquaint LinkedIn's massive user base with two of its most popular Office applications with new LinkedIn Learning courses. "The new courses are available today and focus on helping you get the most out of Outlook 2016 and Excel 2016," wrote Peter Loforte, a general manager at Microsoft's Office Modern User Assistance and Localization group in a Sept. 22 blog post.
"Learn how to use Outlook 2016 to set up an email account; send, receive and organize messages; add a signature; manage contacts and calendars; manage meetings; and collaborate and share with others," continued Loforte. "Get started with Excel 2016 by learning how to enter and organize data, create formulas and functions, build charts and PivotTables, and use other time-saving features."
The announcement follows last week's launch of LinkedIn Learning, which is based in large part on Lynda.com. LinkedIn acquired the provider of online courses last year for $1.5 billion.
In announcing the acquisition of Lynda, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner (who now reports to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella), said the service's "extensive library of premium video content helps empower people to develop the skills needed to accelerate their careers." Like Lynda.com, LinkedIn Learning is a paid service, but new users are entitled to a free month before subscription charges kick in.
The service generates personalized, career-boosting recommendations for individual users based on intelligence gleaned from the network. Businesses can also create multi-course "Learning Paths" for their teams. LinkedIn Learning offers more than 9,000 online courses, a number that rises by at least 25 courses each week, according to the company.
LinkedIn Learning is the latest in Microsoft's efforts to help train a new generation of workers and help today's professionals learn the skills to enhance their careers.
This summer, the company announced a new online "learning-as-a-service" program aimed at narrowing the IT skills gap. Based on the Open edX online education platform and hosted on the Azure cloud computing platform, the Microsoft Professional Degree program teaches professionals in-demand skills. The first curriculum offered by the program is a Data Science Degree.
In April, Microsoft announced two new free cloud training programs. Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials includes a free Pluralsight online training subscription along with free Azure credits that allow users to explore dev/test, backup and other popular cloud-related tasks free of charge. For professionals looking for some pointers on navigating the cloud IT job market, the Microsoft IT Pro Career Center offers guidance on the coursework required to attain a desired IT role, along with salary information and expert advice.