Continuing Education in the Digital Era with Lynda.com

Years after graduating from college, I have come to realize that education doesn’t stop after the tassel is tossed. No matter what profession you enter, you should be expected to expand your knowledge and yo­­u should be motivated to grow your own personal skill sets. Guess what? We don’t know everything. As designers we may think we’re a pro at Photoshop, but with constant upgrades to programs, not to mention NEW challenges we’ve never had to solve – we are constantly scratching our heads. #DoWhatNow

Three years ago, here at Imaginuity, I was given the task to learn Flash Professional (Outdated now? No need to go there). I enrolled in a class at a local community college to get started. Much of what I was learning was through online video courses that were included in our tuition. An education website that is available to anyone on the Internet that is willing to look. Why have long commutes, tuition rates and opinionated professors (come on, we already have a boss!) when Lynda.com has the answers?

What is Lynda.com?

Lynda.com offers online video learning courses (over 1,800) that are taught by active professionals. They continually stay current by adding new tutorials for the very latest programs required by today’s professionals, and right after upgrades are released. Some examples: Learn how to develop a website, execute advanced formulas and functions in Excel, or best utilize Facebook either for personal or even business use. These tutorials aren’t only available on the computer either. They can be viewed on your mobile device, and as they have free apps for iPhone and iPad make it easy to learn on the go.

What are the major topics on Lynda.com?

Major topics and their highlights for Lynda.com include:
* Indicates topics I’ve jumped into

  • 3D + Animation *
    Create, animate, model, texture, light and render 2D and 3D projects
  • Development
    Learn how to build a website, database, desktop application, mobile app and more
  • Audio *
    Learn recording, mixing and mastering, postproduction and more
  • Video *
    Videography and motion graphics, storyboarding, color correction, lighting, video editing
  • Business
    Professional development, negotiation, marketing, SEO, brand building, presentations and project management, Microsoft Office and more
  • Photography *
    Composition, lighting, shutter speed, ISO, aperture, lens choice, camera handling, photo software and more
  • Design *
    Create a logo, publish an ebook, design for print, use typography and more
  • Web *
    Make a website, online portfolio or blog using code, software and content management system


How is Lynda.com setup?

A basic tutorial is organized into chapters. If you have one particular question about a program you’re learning, Lynda.com empowers you to jump ahead to the specific chapter you need. What you want, when you need it. After viewing a single video the site gives you a virtual bookmark on where you left off and tracks your progress in every course. Finish a full tutorial? You’ll receive a certificate of completion that you can have fun showing off to your friends and colleagues. I have three – think you can match my trophy case? #TryMe

You mean you have to pay for Lynda.com?

Something this great can’t be free, but memberships start at $25 a month, which is well worth the money. Compared to college, this is a drop in the bucket. Universities, governments and businesses use Lynda.com tutorials to help do some of the instructing. After paying for a class where Lynda.com did most of the teaching, we decided using this method was much more cost-effective for our company. Now several of our employees are learning new programs everyday. I do recommend purchasing the more expensive package in which you are given exercise files to download. We’re talking hands-on learning for any program – not just watching. This is where Lynda.com easily outperforms the competition. Ever watch a 15-minute tutorial on YouTube that led you nowhere? I have, and I can guarantee you will understand what Lynda.com has to offer. #ItsANoBrainer

Have time to kill? Of course you do.

Lynda.com has something for everyone and over 2 million people are actively engaged in upping their game as you read this (all the cool kids are doing it). Are you a banker and want a new hobby mixing and mashing some audio? Go ahead Mr. DJ – jump in and learn something new. If you don’t trust me (it’s okay, I wouldn’t trust me on blind faith either) there is a free 7-day trial that you can start at any time. If you enjoy learning new things like me, you’ll be sold. #ImANerd

Other online learning resources you can check out:

  • Coursera
    Top universities and organizations offer a wide range of free online courses
  • Khan Academy
    Not-for-profit organization providing free world-class education
  • EDX
    Founded by Harvard and MIT, universities bring higher education to students around the world by sharing free online video courses
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