I first became acquainted with Lynda Weinman years ago when I created my first web site using Dreamweaver®. I was new to the software and found the floating toolbars foreign and confusing. It was apparent I needed something more than the Macromedia manual. As usual, I headed to Borders Books and scoured the shelves where I found one of Lynda’s books. I was impressed with the content and her hands on style of training.
The Online Library
Although I appreciate books, I prefer seeing how something is done. You can imagine my delight when Lynda.com started offering online video tutorials besides the stand-alone training CDs. This Online Training Library™ includes 950 courses and countless instructional videos. The library has grown beyond the initial offering of Macromedia and Adobe products to include software training for Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, Outlook and others. The library has also expanded beyond popular software titles, as you’ll see tutorials for “Networking and Security” or “Digital Photography”.
One appealing aspect about these online tutorials is the organization. You don’t have to watch 45 minutes to find the one item that interests you. Instead, the videos are broken down into discrete topics. Most of the lessons last from 2 to 20 minutes. You’re also not restricted in how you take the course. You could start on lesson 4 and skip to lesson 1. The service is flexible as you control the pace, direction and viewing time. If you allow cookies, the site will remember which lessons you’ve viewed.
Another great feature of the training library is pricing. The site offers four ways of reviewing content:
- You can buy a month’s subscription for $25.00. This allows you access to all the videos.
- You can buy a yearly license for $250.
- You can buy a premium license that allows access to all the videos and downloadable instruction files for a year for $375
- You can buy CD versions of individual courses for $100, which also include the instructional files.
Task Based Software Training
Each class is done by one or more professionals in a recording studio. The content consists of fully narrated QuickTime videos. In most cases, you can purchase a stand-alone CD of the class contents. I’ve not tried this option but it is well suited for people who need permanent access to the content or have a slow dial-up connection.
The example below is the Table of Contents for the Word 2007 Essential Training class. You can see from the entries that most lessons are task based. This detail makes it easier to focus on the topics that best suit your needs. Conversely, you can skip the sections that you know. I also appreciate that I can see the contents and time length before I start a course.
You’ll also note that each title displays a number of bolded entries. This indicates free lessons you can view without a subscription. I find this helpful in judging the instructor’s pace and style. I’ve yet to encounter a course where I didn’t like the instructor.
If you have some software program or programming language you’re trying to learn, I would check if Lynda.com has it in their training portfolio. The video lessons are top notch and the prices are quite reasonable. A month’s subscription is less than what most third party reference books cost these days and that’s before factoring in gas and commute time.
Update: To give you a better idea of the tutorials, the company offers a Free 24 hour pass to lynda.com.
- Cost: $25.00 and up based on plan
- Related Story: Microsoft Offer Free Online Computer Courses
Last Updated (Tuesday, 08 February 2011 13:25)