Shifting from Cost to Learning Environment

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This weekend gave me a much-needed chance to research and reflect further on the focus of my critical inquiry into using a commercialized video library such as Lynda.com to support self-directed learning and/or serve as a secondary resource for instructors in our professional development and training programs. What I came to realize is that my desire to reduce in-house video production costs by looking to Lynda videos as a viable substitute for some video content in the delivery of our courses has superseded what should be the real focus which drives this inquiry. That focus is to ensure that our programs “meet the needs of our diverse range of learners [and] are adaptive to workforce and industry needs…” (Sharpe, 2019, para 1).

What has been missing is further examination of how this type of technology adds value in creating a fulfilling learning experience. By fulfilling, I mean an experience that supports independent and collective learning. Seufert & Meier (2016) whose research on digital transformation in organizational Learning & Development pointed to the necessity of “facilitated learning…reflection…collaborative exchange & learning in networks and communities” (p. 30) as essential to supporting the needs of workplace learning. This line of thinking is further evidenced by Garrison and Anderson (2003) through the Community of Inquiry (COI) Theoretical Framework for online learning. In looking at the needs of a ‘knowledge-based society’, Garrison & Anderson (2003) advised the development of learning environments to support independent and collaborative thinking and learning. This in turn strengthens the development of higher-order critical thinking skills (Garrison & Anderson, 2003).

By shifting my perspective from cost-reduction and the business perspective, which admittedly was beginning to bias my inquiry, I plan to examine the pedagogical implications of using a one-way, transmission delivery of knowledge for learning. The convenience of using videos or tutorials such as Lynda, perhaps relays a perception that learning is taking place. However, without any means of assessment or the opportunity to engage in dialogue around the learning content, the technology in this instance has pedagogical drawbacks. My intent is not to dismiss Lynda.com or other curated video libraries as a resource, nor can I ignore the business side of these decisions. Instead, I intend to advocate that a critical community of inquiry would better serve the needs of our adult learners in the context of professional development and training.

Question for my cohort colleagues: Have you experienced challenges with your own biases sometimes getting in the way of your critical inquiry? If so, how are you keeping them in check before you go too far down the road, and they take over?!

References

Garrison, D. R., & Anderson, T. (2003). E-Learning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice. London: Routledge.

Seufert, S., & Meier, C. (2016, May). From eLearning to digital transformation: A framework and implications for L&D. Paper presented at the International Conference on E-learning in the Workplace, New York, NY. http://dx.doi.org/10.3991/ijac.v9i2.

Sharpe, M. (2019, April 19). Leveraging Lynda.com videos as a training resource [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://malat-webspace.royalroads.ca/rru0069/leveraging-lynda-com-videos-as-a-training-resource/

A Resource or Competitor?

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A big part of why I became interested in exploring Lynda.com or other curated video platforms is the wide range of topics they offer for self-directed learning, and that they could be used as a secondary resource in courses. Added to this interest is the business perspective. The attraction of using Lynda.com, as a secondary resource where applicable in some of our programs, is quite frankly very much driven by the ability to reduce costs of in-house video production. Why create our own instructional videos when we can leverage professionally made videos taught by industry experts?

With this interest leading my efforts to research Lynda as a viable secondary resource, aside from the business side of the matter is the pedagogical integrity of making such a decision. In our Team Lynda presentation this past week, one of our MALAT cohort members shared her company’s interest in LinkedIn Learning as a provider for training and development. An attractive feature is the learning pathways which are curated “playlists or related video courses on a specific topic or career track” (LinkedIn.com, n.d., para 1). The convenience of all this seems so enticing! What I began to realize is why would one of our corporate partners want to pursue training with us when they can use LinkedIn Learning? Additionally, if we’re embedding Lynda videos, now integrated into LinkedIn Learning, as a secondary resource in our training, how will that sit with corporate training partners who may already be accessing LinkedIn Learning as one of their resources for training and development?

To this point, Komljenovic (2018) raised the concern that “the acquisition of Lynda potentially makes LinkedIn a direct competitor to those education and training institutions that it is also helping to brand and promote; and makes it a competitor in a market that it is constructing and qualifying” (p. 10). If we begin to actively use Lynda videos and tutorials to supplement some of the instructional content in our trainings, I believe our training partners might rightfully begin to question what they are paying for. This realization is beginning to change how I view Lynda/LinkedIn Learning. Perhaps as cautioned by Komljenovic (2018) Lynda/LinkedIn is starting to feel more like a competitor than a resource…

How would you feel if your company or organization signed you up for training and development through a university provider only to discover that the instruction was supplemented by Lynda.com videos or tutorials? Would you question the pedagogical integrity of the curriculum? Would you feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth (or your company’s money) for training?