Both students and instructors at College of DuPage have access to Lynda.com (if you haven’t yet signed up, the Library explains how here). A division of the popular social networking site LinkedIn, the site offers training videos and courses on a wide range of topics, from creating Excel spreadsheets to editing high-quality videos in Adobe Premiere, with the aim of helping users develop their professional skills and abilities. Did we mention that’s it’s also free? In short, if you’re not already using Lynda.com, now is the time to check it out.
What Can You Do with Lynda.com?
Lynda.com offers a wide range of content that’s relevant both to professionals and students but it has a few bells and whistles that go beyond simply collecting content for users to consume. You can also earn professional course completion, track your progress to personal goals, and create playlists catered to your personal needs. As an instructor, you can also use it to curate content that might be relevant to your course, especially courses focused on skills like programming, design, and office skills.
Becoming a Pro Lynda.com User
So how can you make the most of these features? Here are some tips:
- Set goals. Have some professional skills that need some polishing? Want to learn how to use a new technology? Just hoping to dabble in something for fun? Whatever your goals are, the site can help you find the content you need to meet them. Use the goals tool to select the skills you want to learn or the job you’d like to have (very useful for students).
- Take baby steps. There’s A LOT of content on Lynda.com. So much so that it can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re interested in learning a number of things offered there. Start by choosing a few courses or videos that interest you, making sure that they match up with your experience level and your interests. You’ll be able to get a feel for what Lynda.com content is like and where you should focus your energy on learning going forward.
- Stack up certificates. When you complete a course on Lynda.com, you will earn a completion certificate. These certificates can be linked and displayed on your public LinkedIn account, acting a bit like a badge in letting you show off your professional development achievements. This is nice for working professionals, but can be a huge assets to your students who are just starting out and may need a little something to set their profiles apart.
- Create a playlist. See something you like? Add it to your playlist! To get the most out of the site, it’s a good idea to curate the content to help you home in on the things that you really want to learn. You can also create your own custom courses this way, touching on a range of skills that will help you to achieve specific goals that you have in mind.
- Study like a student. Because Lynda is a fairly informal kind of professional development tool, it’s tempting to not take it as seriously. But you’ll likely get less out of the time you invest in it that way. Experts suggest using the “three-scan” rule. The first watch should be focused on content, the second on detail, and the third putting the information to use yourself.
- Set time aside for learning. Additionally, it’s easy to push off making time for learning modules like those found on Lynda because of other demands on your time (a new season of your favorite show dropping on Netflix), but it’s important to set aside some time to complete online learning. Carve out an hour or so every week or two to tackle some of the course content that interests you so you keep moving toward your goals.
- Take what you need. It can be hard to set something aside, especially a course, without feeling like a quitter, but don’t feel guilty if you want to abandon a course. Sometimes, courses simply may not be a good fit. Sometimes you’ll only need specific parts of a course. Sometimes your needs will change. Lynda offers small “bites” of learning for a reason–you can sample the whole buffet if you want or just have a taste.
- Learn on-the-go. You don’t have to be plopped in front of a computer to use Lynda. The site is also designed to work well on mobile devices, making it possible to easily learn while you’re waiting in line, taking a train, or just getting away from your desk. Even better, you can also set it up to access videos offline, so you don’t even need to have wifi or a cellular connection.
Have you used Lynda.com for professional development? What did you think?