Leveraging Lynda.com Videos as a Training Resource

LinkedIn Learning which was previously Lynda.com is a “massive open online course website offering video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative, and business skills” (“LinkedIn Learning”, n.d., para 1). It is only recently that I have become more interested in its function as a potential supplement to instruction in our current portfolio of professional development and training programs. Our continuing education division offers educational programs and courses (credit and non-credit) across all disciplines and modalities to a range of learners from children to working professionals to retirees. A key concern is ensuring that our programs continue to meet the needs of our diverse range of learners, are adaptive to workforce and industry needs, and are fiscally viable.

Faced with dwindling resources, yet the need to increase output, generate revenue, ensure innovative and successful learning experiences…it can be quite daunting to build out and deliver programs that meet all these requirements. Competition is heavy, especially in a fast-paced industry where online learning vendors such as EdX, Ed2Go, Coursera, etc. have the resources to market and deliver their online courses globally. With a wide selection of videos and over 4,000 courses, Lynda.com offers high quality videos developed and designed by industry experts and instructors (Morin, 2017). With ready-made videos already accessible through our institution, our unit is exploring how we can integrate them into our existing portfolio. In doing this, we hope to reduce in-house production and development costs, and expand the use of high-quality video resources such as Lynda.com to benefit our learners and support our instructors. We know we cannot compete against large online learning vendors, but perhaps leveraging Lynda.com as a resource, we can at least continue to better support the learning needs of our regional community.

Having perused their topics, I was quite impressed at the diversity in content and the features for Lynda.com courses. The self-directed pace appealed to my learning style, especially as I was able to spend as much time as I needed on a topic, in this case how to edit digital photos on my phone using Snapseed. In a very short time, I had learned how to use Snapseed. Now did I truly master how to use it? Probably not, but with some practice and the ability to refer back to it, I am confident that I will use it in the future.

This perception of feeling like I learned something has also prompted my inquiry into how continuing education learners might benefit from Lynda.com videos embedded into existing courses. A pilot study that gauged learner perceptions and benefits of using Lynda.com for skill enhancement and knowledge development at Lethbridge College revealed a perceived sense of “improved performance, increased efficiency, and improved quality of work” from non-academic staff who participated in this study (Benoit, 2016, under discussion, para 2). Although there are limitations to this study, the results give rise to further questions as to Lynda.com’s value in supporting learner engagement and skill development in online learning – especially for professional development and training purposes.

Additional Questions I am Exploring:

  1. If we begin using Lynda.com videos in some of our training and development classes what will the perception be from our learners who are paying for these classes? Could they be unhappy because we are using a vendor-based video as opposed to our in-house produced videos?
  2. Since the acquisition of Lynda.com by LinkedIn Learning, there has been an increase in institutional subscription fees (Lieberman, 2017). If we begin embedding Lynda.com videos into our courses, and the University decides to cancel our institutional membership, what will be the implications?
  3. How effective are online videos such as Lynda.com in enhancing student engagement?

References

Benoit, A. (2016, June 27). Evaluation of lynda.com at Lethbridge college. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2016/6/evaluation-of-lynda-dot-com-at-lethbridge-college

Lieberman, M. (2017, October 25). Outsourcing career skills training. Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2017/10/25/lyndacampus-offers-technical-and-other-skills-students

LinkedIn Learning. (n.d.) In Wikipedia. Retrieved April 18, 2019, from  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinkedIn_Learning

Morin, J. (2017). Flipping the Classroom With Lynda.com, Books and Resources Reviews p. 627–630.

 

To Video or not to Video…That is the Question!

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels
This team blog post is co-written by Beata Kozma, Danielle Stokes, Melem Sharpe, and Tanya Heck.
Our technology group called “Team Lynda” selected curated video courses on Lynda.com to experience and provide a summary and curiosities about current and future uses. Curated content has quickly become a popular means of organizing and collecting professional quality resources to support learning and development (Hogle, 2017). Lynda.com is an online video-based learning platform with more than seven thousand courses ranging in various skill and knowledge levels. These curated courses are accessible to anyone with an adequate internet connection. Our team has varying degrees of experience with this modality but we all agreed the investigation would provide valuable feedback that we could apply to our current contexts.

Lynda.com was founded in 1995 and offered free video-based courses to supplement co-founder, Lynda Weinman’s books on web design (“Lynda Weinman,” n.d.). The platform evolved into an online virtual knowledge library where people had access with a monthly subscription fee. In 2015, LinkedIn purchased Lynda.com and rebranded it to “Lynda.com From LinkedIn”. In 2016, Microsoft acquired Lynda.com’s parent company LinkedIn. This acquisition of Lynda.com seems to be driven by LinkedIn’s efforts to excel its growth in the field of online education (Chaykowski, 2016). Although Lynda.com was renamed as LinkedIn Learning, the original website still exists until the full merger is completed.

Depending upon the level of membership, members may take courses in several categories and interests such as accounting, animation, social media, and interactive design. Lynda.com separates itself from a MOOC by offering an option to commit to an entire class on one topic or to select a single video of interest from a library of choices (Porter, 2015). Lynda.com has created “learning pathways” which offer a series of courses that build on knowledge and skills for a specific career path (ie. instructional designer) (Chaykowski, 2016). Upon completion of a pathway, the recipient is awarded a certificate of completion that can be added to the user’s LinkedIn profile (Chaykowski, 2016). The video can be used for more than just interest as they can assist the learner in making a career change.

As of 2019, Lynda.com has more than 236,601 video tutorials and over 7450 courses and has been adopted by colleges, universities, governments, and businesses around the world (Lynda.com, 2019). These numbers suggest a growing use of the platform and have left our team with plenty of questions. To deepen our understanding of this platform, our team is taking a Lynda video course together. We will use an inquiry approach to learning as we view the video courses and experience the learning hands-on (Justice, Rice, Roy, Hudspith, & Jenkins, 2009). The following list of questions generated from our first team meeting is intentionally broad as we did not want to narrow our curiosity in the learning process just yet. Upon completion of watching the curated video and through further research into the literature, we hope to have more answers.

  1. What are the limitations and advantages of Lynda.com (such as quality, access, bandwidth, interactivity, accessibility, learner engagement)?
  2. As a predominant training and development force in the e-learning industry, what effects (if any) might Lynda.com have on the way online continuing education evolves in the future, or how this might impact other e-learning providers?
  3. What is the social-economic accessibility of Lynda.com?
  4. How can Lynda.com videos be used for a flipped classroom? Is there any research available to support this?  
  5. Does the design of the Lynda.com videos and courses follow research on how to reduce cognitive load, promote active learning and engage students (length, style, interactivity, the balance of audio and visual element)? 
  6. How well are the videos optimized for accessibility? Do they follow inclusive design best practices?
  7. Who are the “experts” presenting the videos; is there a requirement to produce these videos? Are they credible?
  8. How does Lynda.com ensure the video content continues to be relevant? Who creates/writes the content? How frequently is the video content re-evaluated?
  9. How is learning assessed on Lynda.com?

References

Chaykowski, K. (2016, March 31). LinkedIn launches lynda.com ‘learning paths’ in push to grow education business. 

Hogle, P. (2017, March 22). Six reasons to incorporate curated content into elearning development. 

Justice, C., Rice, J., Roy, D., Hudspith, B., & Jenkins, H. (2009). Inquiry-based learning in higher education: administrators’ perspectives on integrating inquiry pedagogy into the curriculumHigher education, 58(6), 841-855.

Lynda.com. (2019). All Courses | lynda.com. Retrieved April 9, 2019, from https://www.lynda.com/allcourses

Lynda Weiman. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved April 13, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynda_Weinman

Porter, J. (2015, April 27). From near failure to a $1.5 billion sale: The epic story of Lynda.com.