Learning Profiles – a LinkedIn Killer in the Making?
On Monday, the social LMS (Learning Management System) Lore launched its entirely redesigned platform. It is not just a brushed up version of what is was before but a complete rebuild of the product which the team has worked on in the past four months.
You might know Lore under the name of Coursekit, and I also covered the startup here on Big Think back in January. Since then Lore has been used by instructors at over 600 schools including investor Peter Thiel for his course in Computer Science at Stanford last spring.
Besides a new feature that enables instructors to open their courses to the public, similar to platforms like Udacity, Coursera or Udemy Academic, the new profiles are the thing that excites me the most. With the new version each instructor and student gets an individual profile on Lore, showcasing what he/she is learning/teaching, their achievements and aspirations as well as links to personal websites, resumes and such.
The design, like the rest of the platform, is very modern and minimalist which is still noteworthy as most products in education tend to look like they’d come from the dotcom era. Together with the profile comes a vanity URL – in case of Lore’s co-founder and CEO it’s lore.com/joe.
Now, while there is not much to see on his profile we have to imagine what a profile will look like when a student uses it from the beginning of his college career or even earlier. Of course, this all depends on the different instructors and if they use Lore as the LMS for their courses. But let’s say that everyone uses Lore. In this case, the student will have a complete CV and resume in the cloud which can be shared through with a simple link at the end of his studies. Very interesting when looking for an internship or job.
If we take into consideration that our society is shifting towards the model of lifelong learning the Lore profiles will stay relevant throughout the entire working career as new achievements can be added accordingly. And I think, this would totally eliminate the need for a separate LinkedIn, Xing, Viadeo or other professional online profile.
When I fill out a profile on one of these platforms today I usually start my professional life. Hence, I need to add all the information related to my education going back in time. If I already started a Lore profile at the beginning to my school career, why should I switch and use a second profile for my work life?
And Lore’s vision according to CEO Joseph Cohen is to create a global interconnected network of learners and instructors with similar social features like Facebook or LinkedIn, and you can already follow fellow students or instructors on Lore.
Of course, in order to threaten or even replace professional networks on day, education centered platforms like Lore need to grab quite a piece of the education market to make it significant enough. Also, students would need to spend at least three or four semesters using Lore or a similar service until enough and relevant information was added to the learning profile.
I conclude that the impact will only be seen in about three to four years at the earliest. Until then LinkedIn could easily acquire the biggest fish in the pond to secure its dominant position.