LinkedIn and Kaplan: Redefining the Professional Development Space

What a blockbuster! After years of planning and development, LinkedIn and Kaplan University have recently unveiled their collaborative resource to help professionals of all ages advance in their careers.

Utilizing one of the largest API integrations with the LinkedIn platform, the Career Journey microsite provides a highly personalized experience based on each individual’s LinkedIn profile and network. As one of several new services offered by Kaplan, Career Journey is the first free online course and customized application dedicated to teaching people how to advance in their careers using the LinkedIn network. The partnership is a step for both organizations towards a fundamental redefinition of how we think about value, career, credentials, and education. It also suggests that evidence of learning and the link between learning and career advancement can be located in a dynamic setting far from a college or employment office.

There are several critically revolutionary components in the LinkedIn/Kaplan service. Although each of the components taken individually would be a significant service to LinkedIn users, taken as a cohort of services, there is no equivalent to what they can do. In its initial stage, Career Journey allows users to access current and specific information about jobs, careers, and the fit between their experience and knowledge and job requirements. In a friendly, almost game-like way, Career Journey walks with users through a series of questions and answers, gradually helping them form their vision and understanding of what a given career path might mean for them.

Embedded in Career Journey is the Learning Recognition Course LRC100: Documenting Your Experiences for College Credit, offered by Open College at Kaplan University (OC@KU). So, not only will the users be able to identify the skills and abilities they need to advance professionally, they will also be able to get a clear reading of the value of their experiential learning in terms of the future they seek. This all adds up to a major advancement in the way we use big data to inform career preparation, academic fulfillment, and work readiness.

The ability to network information about learning and careers using rich and current data, to calculate impact, economically and educationally, and to network with others in a professional community is unparalleled. Moreover, the establishment of a repository for learning, career, and economic data that is accessible and public is, in and of itself, a significant development. With these tools, we will be able to determine when a person is ready to work, not simply ready to graduate.

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