LinkedIn as a pedagogical tool for careers and employability learning: a scoping review of the literature.


Purpose – Professional networks are conduits for career insight, vehicles for career exploration and incubators of professional identity. Accordingly, LinkedIn is a rich environment for university students’ careers and employability learning. In this article, the authors review how the pedagogical use of LinkedIn has been conceived, implemented and evaluated in higher education research. Design/methodology/approach – The authors conducted a scoping literature review on research articles and chapters investigating the use of LinkedIn for careers and employability learning. The authors conducted a systematic database search and screened the results, resulting in 30 eligible studies. Each study was analysed for research characteristics, theoretical foundations, reported affordances or outcomes and critical concerns. Findings – The authors find little evidence of cohesion or consistency in the existing research. Studies draw on different theoretical and methodological approaches and use different measures of networking behaviours and competencies. Studies tend not to consider ethical concerns about using LinkedIn as a pedagogical tool. Practical implications – The authors argue this is not yet a body of research that supports the synthesis necessary for a reliable evidence base. The authors recommend that educators employing LinkedIn in the curriculum ground their work in more coherent, cohesive and integrated theories of careers and employability learning. Originality/value – This review summarises a body of literature on the use of LinkedIn as a pedagogical tool for careers and employability learning in higher education. This review describes and critiques the beginnings of an evidence-base from which educators can further investigate how students can be supported to develop their online professional networking skills.

Education + Training