Coursera meet LinkedIn – LinkedIn meet irrelevance?

An email today alerted me to a new option for easily adding Coursera module completions to your LinkedIn profile:

LinkedIn Coursera Email
LinkedIn Coursera Email

I have complained before about some of LinkedIn’s functionality but I thought I would give it a go.  Indeed, I do like LinkedIn for what it has done to transform business communication and have been impressed with the company, not least that they were one of the first to develop cross-platform mobile apps which actually made best use of mobile use cases.  Here is what the Coursera content looks like when added to my profile:

Coursera on LinkedIn
Coursera on LinkedIn

A little odd that this seems to be presuming that completion of a Coursera short course is ‘certification’ rather than education, especially when the business model for many contributors is potentially tied to issuing university credits.  It also seems odd that when MOOCs are proving the value of short courses (without the disproportion high costs of many short courses) they represent these with individual listings on LinkedIn, I doubt anyone lists every short course they have done.  This becomes especially problematic when you think of the full range of informal learning that someone can do, is a Coursera certification more valuable than a Tweet of praise, a positive Slideshare comment, etc?

This then makes you think they are likely to be an advertising piece for Coursera.  However, thankfully, this does not seem to be the case as they appear as non-descript certifications:

News feed of contact's Coursera-ing
News feed of contact’s Coursera-ing

However, this comes with problems as they seem relatively random updates.  Potentially you could appear certified in “Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets” without any context.

So, how could they be better?  Well Tin Can and/or Open Badges might offer a solution in feeding to LinkedIn selected development activities that you want to present.  These could appear in their own section rather than forced into certifications.  Indeed the problem I am having with these changes is perhaps that they are leading to ‘scroll of death’ on profiles, would it not be better to link out to a store such as a Tin Can LRS profile, much in the same way you have ‘personal website’ links to allow you to show reflection on your blog?

Presumably Coursera is just the start (or might not be and I just have not realized this already existed) and LinkedIn will be looking to aggregate, in place of Open Badges, work done on other platforms.  Overall, a riveting development but another which threatens to put too much information into LinkedIn profiles and create barriers to career-centric conversations.

Author: iangardnergb

My name is Ian Gardner and I am interested in various topics that can be seen as related to learning, technology and information. To see what I am reading elsewhere, follow me on The Old Reader ( and/or Twitter (@iangardnergb).

2 thoughts on “Coursera meet LinkedIn – LinkedIn meet irrelevance?”

  1. It’s great to read about the demographics of LinkedIn. My most important takeaway is that you want to be posting on LinkedIn at least once a week. Thanks for the tip… off to share this on LinkedIn

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