With Google making major roadways into the education sector, what does Microsoft have to say? Well, maybe a 26.2 billion dollar LinkedIn deal is the answer. How, you ask, is LinkedIn linked to education, and how can it help?

Growing a business is like running a marathon. But instead of jogging 26.2 miles, that’s how many dollars—in billions—Microsoft forked over to acquire LinkedIn.

But what does the deal mean for educators? Last year LinkedIn bought online learning platform Lynda.com for $1.5 billion. And earlier this year it introduced “Learning Paths”—packages of Lynda.com courses designed to help people sharpen skills for their current career, or jump into a new one.

Now Microsoft will be able to integrate Lynda videos into its software. In their presentation to investors, the companies note, “In the future, LinkedIn Learning will tightly integrate into Office, enabling users to have a more seamless experience and access to on-demand courses.

Recommending the right course at the right time will enable individuals and companies to be more productive and successful—this will transform learning.”

In a memo to employees, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner also noted the potential to sync Lynda’s videos with Microsoft software: “Accelerating our objective to transform learning and development by deeply integrating the Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning solution in Office alongside some of the most popular productivity apps on the planet (note: 6 of the top 25 most popular Lynda.com courses are related to Microsoft products).”

Part of Microsoft’s decision to pay a 50 percent premium for LinkedIn has to do with the growing market for matching jobs with people who have the right skills or learning experiences, says Ryan Craig, managing partner at University Ventures. Such “competency marketplaces” will pressure colleges and universities to unbundle the degree, he adds.

LinkedIn members use the platform to share badges that indicate professional skills they’ve learned, such as Salesforce training or Google analytics expertise.

“As employers move from degree-based hiring to competency-based hiring, many will determine that degrees are not a priority or even required for certain jobs. Over the next few years, degrees are likely to become MIA in many job descriptions,”

Craig says. “And this will lead an increasing number of students to seek postsecondary education bundles that are shorter, less expensive, and more clearly connected to careers or even specific employers.”

(From EdSurge’s website)