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Degreed Acquires Upskilling Platform Learn In

June 24, 2022 Learning and Development
Mike Prokopeak
By Mike Prokopeak

Learning and talent management technology company Degreed has acquired Learn In, a two-year old technology company that offers what it calls "upskilling as a service," the companies announced on June 23. 

The deal reunites Degreed with co-founder David Blake, who stepped down as Degreed CEO in February 2018 before starting Learn In in January 2020. He will take over the reins of the combined company from Dan Levin, former president and COO of storage tech company Box, who has run the company since April 2021.

Blake, who had remained executive chairman of Degreed after stepping down as CEO, has plans for the company's future that "were divergent with the current direction," according to a statement, resulting in an "amicable decision" to replace Levin as CEO. Terms of the announced deal were not released.

Combining an LXP With Upskilling-as-a-Service

Pleasanton, Calif.-based Degreed, founded in 2012, is a pioneer in the learning experience platform market, a group of educational technology products that boast a set of user-friendly, consumer-facing features that allow users to create individualized learning pathways and access personalized recommendations for courses and content based on their interests and career goals.

Salt Lake City-based Learn In provides upskilling-as-a-service by allowing companies to establish internal Talent Academies, or in-house skill and career development pathways that integrate corporate learning benefits such as tuition assistance with development programs and delivery services, such as coaching, and a marketplace of skill-building programs. The vision is to combine Degreed's technology prowess with Learn In's integrated set of services.

“Businesses that can quickly build effective talent are the ones that will be able to deliver on strategic business goals,” Blake said in statement. “Just as Degreed created the LXP market, Learn In has begun for talent academies. Now together, we have the product and technology to help our customers deliver business capabilities at scale with continued innovation in the learning and skills space.”

Related Article: Learn In Wants to Reinvent Employee Skill Development

A Shifting Learning and Talent Technology Market

The deal comes at an interesting time for the learning and talent management technology market. Degreed, once an upstart looking to shake up a market dominated by more traditional learning management systems, grew rapidly to reach tech unicorn status.

But as larger technology companies began to build or acquire their own learning experience platforms, Degreed found itself in a battle for market share. Case in point, competitor EdCast was acquired by learning technology giant Cornerstone in March 2022, one of a series of aggressive moves by Cornerstone to expand its market share and compete in the LXP arena.

For Degreed, the maturation of the market meant a need to look for growth in a new direction. Learn In's focus on integrating programs and benefits into talent academies offers a way to target employee skill-building that is complementary to Degreed's LXP-based approach. The aim is to create a skills-based engine that will continually power an organizations' talent operations. Blake equated the difference between the current corporate learning model and what's needed as the difference between watching a fitness video and actually doing the hard work to become an athlete.

"There’s a pre-pandemic view of the world, where tactical training tools like the LMS for compliance or the LXP for bite-sized content served the purpose of delivering scheduled one-off or job-aid training," Blake told Reworked in April 2022.

"We believe that the world has significantly tilted in the direction of helping every employee learn the skills needed for the bigger moments in their journey, such as onboarding, preparing for a new role or learning a new tool or process."

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