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LinkedIn Learning releases its 20 most popular courses

This year's list includes courses reflecting the times: How to be productive working remotely, creating a work/life balance, and communicating with virtual teams.

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LinkedIn Learning's latest list of its 20 most popular courses not surprisingly includes three that reflect the times: "Time Management: Working From Home;" "Strategic Thinking;" and "Remote Work Foundations."

No. 4 on the newly released list is "Learning Python." Rounding out the top five is "Developing Your Emotional Intelligence."

Unlike past years, LinkedIn Learning's third Most Popular Courses list shows that people are interested in learning how to be productive remotely, create work/life balance, and communicate with virtual teams.

"Most people are focused on skill building and what are the skills they need, like project management or Python if they're a programmer, or how to communicate more effectively," said Mordy Golding, director of content for LinkedIn Learning. "If you think about where the world is today and how employees are showing up for work, there are people bringing their entire self to work."

There is a "huge trend" right now in taking courses on what it means to work from home and work remotely, Golding said.

SEE: Microsoft and LinkedIn partner to help 25M workers gain digital skills (TechRepublic)

"A lot of organizations are thinking about what it means to support a home/work lifestyle," he said. "That really requires people to think from the ground up about how to participate in team meetings and allow people to grow in their careers, so we see a lot of shifts and interest in watching content that relates to that idea."

LinkedIn Learning is subscription-based and offers over 16,000 on-demand free and paid courses in seven languages, Golding said. They typically run between one and two hours and are broken down into three- to four-minute videos.

"We find the average person finishes a course in a day or two or if they really want to learn something specific,'' he added. Some courses are designed to be 30 or 40 minutes long so people can "pick up a skill while at work," Golding said.

One of the surprise findings on this year's list was that "Improving Your Listening Skills" ranked at No. 15, up from No. 185 in 2019, he said. Another surprise was the popularity of a Microsoft Teams Essential Training course (No. 9), he said.

"Normally, we see tools like Excel in the top 20 but it was shocking to me to see people leveraging tools to build communication and the ability for teams to still feel connected and still work spread out in different locations," Golding said.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Courses on soft skills is another big trend, he said, especially among IT professionals. Software engineers comprise one of LinkedIn Learning's biggest audiences, and they are focused on courses that help with "better communication and improving interpersonal communications and improving listening skills," he said.

LinkedIn Learning has 50 subject matter experts who continuously sift through LinkedIn data and industry data to see what skills are most important for working professionals, Golding said. The data is used to make decisions on what courses to create and then LinkedIn Learning partners with instructors to offer the content.

LinkedIn Learning's 10 most popular courses among IT professionals are:

  1. Learning Python
  2. Time Management: Working From Home
  3. Strategic Thinking
  4. Learning Cloud Computing: Core Concepts
  5. Remote Work Foundations
  6. SQL Essential Training
  7. Cert Prep: Project management Professional (PMP)
  8. Networking Foundations: Networking Basics
  9. Microsoft Teams Essential Training
  10. Power BI Essential Training

Courses are available free for a one-month trial and then the cost is $29.99 per month. They are included with a LinkedIn Premium subscription. Users also have the option of buying individual courses.

If people want to add a newly acquired skill to the skills assessment feature on their LinkedIn profile they will receive a badge after taking an exam at the end of a course, Golding said. This is helpful for recruiters looking to fill certain types of positions, he said.

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By Esther Shein

Esther Shein is a longtime freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in several online and print publications. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of Datamation, a managing editor at BYTE, and a senior writer at eWeek (formerly PC Week)...