Three ways of taking LinkedIn Learning courses for free

Posted by Greten on 08 Nov 2020 under Tips

As educators, our duty is not just to impart knowledge and skills to others but also to improve our own to impart them better. The Wuhan virus pandemic (COVID-19) suddenly requires many teachers to learn new skills that many never used before to facilitate online classes. To remain on top of the game, educators must invest time and money in professional development.

LinkedIn Learning is an excellent source of online courses. Its courses come in the form of videos, with some containing quizzes. When you finished all the videos and passed the quizzes, you obtain a certificate you can include in your LinkedIn profile. If you are an instructional designer or elearning developer, these courses are also good inspiration for developing elearning lessons.

I will stop praising LinkedIn Learning now because they're not paying me for endorsement. Let's talk about what you came for. Here are the three ways of taking LinkedIn Learning courses for free.

Fail a skill quiz

Go to your LinkedIn profile, scroll down to the Skills & endorsements section, and click the Take skill quiz button to open Assessments.

The Take skill quiz button in blue font and border under the Skills and endorsements section header.

The Assessments lightbox lists all the quizzes you can take, with recommendations for skills listed in your profile.

The Assessments lightbox has Quizzes and Results tab. The Quizzes tab has three sections: How it works, Recommended quizzes based on your skills, and All quizzes. Each quiz has a circle with right arrowhead in it.

If you pass the quiz, you receive a badge for that skill in your LinkedIn Profile. Otherwise, LinkedIn offers you free LinkedIn Learning courses to help you improve that skill.

The Assessment window appears if you failed an assessment. It recommends courses with previews for each course. You can see three at a time, but buttons allow you to scroll sideways to see more courses. The bottom section allows you to rate your experience in using the assessment.

Advantage: You can take an assessment and access the free courses immediately. No need for a credit card, to have a complete profile, or to be active in LinkedIn.

Disadvantage: You cannot access all LinkedIn Learning courses in this manner, only those related to the assessment. Most of the assessments listed are about programming languages and desktop applications. If you want to learn soft skills like negotiation and leadership, you cannot access the courses about these skills. Moreover, you cannot download certificates, and you need to finish the course within 24 hours after you started.

Considering that Assessments is a new function (launched around September 2019), LinkedIn may be building more assessments, and more courses will be available.

Take the 1-month free trial Premium membership

LinkedIn Premium membership offers several benefits, including unlimited access to all LinkedIn Learning courses. The other benefits are not that useful to regular working citizens unless you're working in human resources or recruitment, a hiring manager, or actively looking for work.

To activate LinkedIn Premium membership, click Try Premium for free on the upper-right corner. LinkedIn will ask you questions about subscription plans and what subjects you're interested in. It will also require you to enter a credit card number.

The upper-right corner of a LinkedIn webpage for a logged-in regular user showing the profile picture used as Me icon, the Work icon (a 3 x 3 matrix of nine squares), and the Try Premium for free link.

When you have a premium membership, notice that a new icon, Learning, replaced the Try Premium for free link. Click it to go to LinkedIn Learning.

The upper-right corner of a LinkedIn webpage for a logged-in preimum user showing the profile picture used as Me icon, the Work icon (a 3 x 3 matrix of nine squares), and the Learning icon (a rectangle with dim horizontal gray lines and a small right-pointing triangle).

Browse the different courses in LinkedIn Learning. Notice that you can now access any of them without restrictions.

Your premium membership is on a one-month free trial. Once a month expired, LinkedIn will bill your credit card. To prevent this, deactivate the premium membership.

  1. Click your profile picture near the upper right corner and select Access My Premium.
  2. On the menu on the right, expand the Manage Premium account menu and select Cancel subscription.
  3. Click Cancel and lose credits.

After doing this, repeat step 1 above. In the right-column of the My Premium page, the Manage Premium account section should have a text similar to the one shown below.

The Manage Premium account menu replaced with a message after cancelling a premium subscription. It says: You have cancelled your Premium Business account. Access to My Premium and all Premium features will expire at the end of your current billing cycle: December 7, 2020.

You have one month to enjoy unrestricted access to LinkedIn Learning courses. Then, your account will revert to normal after one month. In my experience, I initially thought that the one-month free trial is over after I used it. To my surprise, after a year, LinkedIn sent me an email saying they are again offering one-month free trial. I am not sure if the offer resets every year or if it's hinged on other factors such as the number of connections, percentage of profile completion, and the frequency of LinkedIn use.

Advantage: Unlimited free access to all LinkedIn Learning courses for any subject or skill you can think of. Use the search function to see if a course for a skill you want to learn is available. You can also download a certificate upon course completion.

Disadvantage: You must have a credit card or a Paypal account.

Look out for courses unlocked and taken by others in your network

Sometimes, on your LinkedIn home page, you will see a news feed where one of your connections finished a course, with a link View course for free at the bottom of the post. If the free course is about the knowledge or skill you're interested in, you may take it right away.

To see if other people in your network, including those separated from you by three degrees or more, are taking and finishing courses, enter "just finished the course" (without quotes) in the search function.

The search results in LinkedIn for keywords: Just finished the course elearning. It shows a result from more than three degree separated connection, a preview of Brain-Based Elearning Design ccourse, and a link at the bottom: View course for free. Although only one is shown in this screen capture, the label on top indicates that there are 11,689 searcg results.

You will see the courses other people in your network finished. Scroll down to see if you find any of the courses listed interesting. You can also modify the search to look for courses. For example, you can search "just finished the course elearning" or "just finished the course project management" to narrow the results to courses about elearning or project management, respectively.

Advantage: It's free, no need for credit cards, and you can use the search function to find subjects and skills you want to learn.

Disadvantage: The link "View course for free" is not available to everyone. Its availability seems to depend on factors such as profile completion and activeness in LinkedIn. However, I do not have sufficient information to determine the point where the link becomes available. Also, the certificates for the courses taken in this manner is not available, and you need to finish the course within 24 hours after you started.

For most professions, including educators such as teachers, trainers, and instructional designers, obtaining your degree and building your expertise through years of experience is insufficient. It would help if you also actively seek ways to educate yourself on techniques, technologies, and new concepts to better practice your profession. LinkedIn Learning is just one of the many resources on the Internet that can help your professional development. Ensure that you can find some time and use these resources well.

Last updated on 08 Nov 2020.

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