Critical Inquiry Introduction – Lynda.com (by: Team DeeGee)

Activity 2 of the LRNT526: Inquiry into Contemporary Issues in Learning Technologies course at Royal Roads University challenged students to form groups of four, choose a digital modality that we would like to explore, research that modality, then provide an initial summary of our chosen modality.  Team members for this activity included: Darin Faber, Gavin Sturgeon, Dugg Steary, and George Tam.

The modality that we selected was curated video courses, specifically Lynda.com, an online video-based learning platform with courses that span various skill and knowledge levels and are accessible to anyone with an internet connection.  Placing pre-recorded lessons online greatly reduces the physical distance barrier to learning between the learner and instructor.  The efficacy of these lessons has also been implied, as studies have shown that video-based instruction can be more memorable than standard in-class instruction, which could have effects on student retention and motivation (Choi & Johnson, 2005).

Lynda.com originally offered video-based courses for free to the public (Porter, 2015). Porter (2015) outlined that after many attempts to make the digital learning environment (DLE) popular, the system was eventually transformed into a “monthly subscription service” (para. 11).  As of 2018, Lynda.com includes more than 212,000 video tutorials and over 6500 courses (Lynda.com, 2018), and has been adopted by colleges, universities, governments, and businesses around the world (Lynda.com, 2018).

Studies have shown that learners mostly express positive experiences when using this DLE.  The explanations behind the positive reviews of Lynda.com include sufficient topical material, unlimited access to the system at any time, and the ability to utilize self-paced learning (Dybvik, 2008; Graham, 2013). Lynda.com (n.d.) outlines that one of its key features which makes the “product accessible to all regardless of environment, location, or disability” (Lynda.com, n.d., para. 3) is the implementation of closed captioning.

Through a more extensive search of the literature we hope to discover the potential strengths and weaknesses of such a modality, along with answering the following questions (in no particular order) as we pursue and experience Lynda.com:

1. How is Lynda.com accepted within different societies around the world?

2. What issues still surround this type of DLE?

3. What were the effects of the purchase of Lynda.com by LinkedIn? Has the purchase of LinkedIn (and Lynda.com) by Microsoft isolated or impacted users of other operating systems, i.e. Apple macOS?

4. What are the current and potential limitations of Lynda.com (i.e. access, bandwidth, lack of interactivity, etc.)?

5. What are the general advantages and disadvantages of online learning sites such as Lynda.com, Coursera, or Udemy? What are the advantages and disadvantages of Lynda.com compared to the competition (i.e. access to a wider range of subjects)?

6. What is the education methodology utilized for delivery and assessment during a Lynda.com course?

7. What are the characteristics of a high-quality video course, and is there a demographic that is best suited for video-based courses?

8. Are there any potential conflicts of interest in the videos chosen to be hosted by Lynda.com? How is the presenter in the videos vetted, and by who? How is the presenter chosen? Does the presenter apply to Lynda.com? Is the presenter paid by Lynda.com? Do the presenters pay Lynda.com to be a presenter in order to self-promote?

References

Choi, H. J. & Johnson, S. D. (2005). The Effect of Context-Based Video Instruction on Learning and Motivation in Online Courses. The American Journal of Distance Education, 19(4), 215-227. DOI

Dybvik B. (2008). An Examination of Student Perceptions Of lynda.com Software Tutorial Training. Unpublished

Graham, J. (2013). Lynda.com Gets it Done. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from website

Lynda.com. (n.d.). Section 508 compliance | lynda.com. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from https://www.lynda.com/accessibility

Lynda.com. (2018). All Courses | lynda.com. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from https://www.lynda.com/allcourses

Porter, J. (2015). From Near Failure To A $1.5 Billion Sale: The Epic Story Of Lynda.com. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from https://www.fastcompany.com/3045404/from-near-failure-to-a-15-billion-sale-the-epic-story-of-lyndacom

Thank you for taking some time out of your day.  What are your thoughts on Lynda.com or other online learning platforms?  What courses have you taken through these platforms?  Please comment below.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Image by Fancycrave from Pexels is licensed under CC BY 4.0 (CC0 license).

8 Replies to “Critical Inquiry Introduction – Lynda.com (by: Team DeeGee)”

  1. Nice start, team DeeGee. A few points:
    “The efficacy of these lessons has also been demonstrated,” – maybe change “demonstrated” to “implied” as this is the wording also used in Choi & Johnson (2005). There is much more complexity to video vs text based learning based on a large variety of factors, including types of content. For instance, a video on how to paint would very likely have more success than a text based course; on the other hand, an analysis of a Shakespeare sonnet might well work better in text. So generalizations can be problematic.
    Regarding ubiquity of access to video based learning, this can be true in many cases, but of course it requires playback devices and good internet bandwidth which can be limited by economic status and geographical location. Good to see you raise this question later; it suggests issues of digital divide, and economic/geographical status.
    Question 3: I really like this question. All too often we look at the product without the bigger picture behind it.
    Question 5: A bit of an apples and oranges comparison. How about YouTube, Khan Academy or other video based platforms for comparison?
    I really look forward to seeing what you learn!

    1. Irwin:
      Thank you for the feedback. As suggested, I have adjusted some wording. Great point regarding question 5, we will adjust to include comparatives to other video-based platforms such as YouTube as well as similar services for support and content comparison.

      Thanks again for the feedback!

  2. Hey team DeeGee!

    I’m looking forward to hearing how your research goes with Lynda.com. Our group is also focusing on curated video libraries and we had considered Lynda as well.

    Have you found much information in your preliminary research around the design approach used for short video series? Is there an intended method or process used to create videos for the intention to team rather than to entertain? Are there pros or cons to shortening the message and keeping things concise?

    I look forward to seeing your video!

    Katie

    1. Katie:
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this blog post. It will be interesting to read your critical analysis as well to see the similarities or differences in our perspectives or if a platform for curated content affects the outcome.

      Some of the reading I have done has shown the advantage of micro-learning over longer content and objective-based delivery combined with interactivity when possible. There is a lot more reading to be done and I am looking forward to it.

      Thank you again;
      Dugg

      1. Katie:
        Thank you for taking the time to comment on our first team blog post. We have just begun the research but micro-lessons and objective-based content design is definitely on our list of topics to look into further. Stay tuned!

        I look forward to seeing your video also…
        Dugg

  3. Hi Team DeeGee,

    So looking forward to seeing what comes of your critical inquiry into video libraries. I am wondering as I looked down your inquiry questions whether you were going to dip into the “student/learner” engagement aspects of video libraries and the associated literature? It might fit in under your #4 question but I was not sure. There are some current MALAT research paper students that are examining some aspects of this that you might find useful in your literature review. You can find their summaries for the Virtual Symposium at https://padlet.com/set_admin/r4bh4zbihvhf . Enjoy! Ciao, Elizabeth

  4. Thank you Elizabeth for the comments and for the link to the Padlet. These are great resources for us to look further into. I have a particular interest in engagement and am looking forward to diving into the resources further.

    Thank you again;
    Dugg

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