Critical Inquiry Introduction – Lynda.com

This was originally posted through collaboration by my student team with Royal Roads University through Creative Commons license as part of a course requirement.  Original article: Student WordPress

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.  Student 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 demonstrated, 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 fastcompany.com

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).

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