Lynda.com poised to Shake-up Learning Content Market
By Jim Lundy
Lynda.com is a name to remember in Learning Content and this is a short post about my visit with them. For those who have spent anytime in learning and development, you know that quality learning content is hard to come by. Over the years, I have recommended a very limited set of off-the-shelf Learning Content providers, which to date has been dominated to a large extent by Skillsoft, which has made it their mission to buy-up any meaningful competitor. Boutiques still abound but for technology related training content, but quality has been mixed. So, it was a pleasant surprise to meet Lynda.com at the HRTech Conference in October.
I visited the world headquarters of Lynda.com in Santa Barbara, California last week. It was a short, but memorable time that I spent with the team. They have invested heavily in producing quality learning content for the topics that they cover. Having sampled a few courses, which is always recommended, I can say that it is high quality. It should be since Lynda.com has some renowned topical experts that deliver some of the courses in question. The focus is on workplace technology topics and products. For example, there are many courses on Adobe related products, as well as Microsoft. I found ten different courses for Microsoft SharePoint.
On top of that, they have courses on one of the fastest growing Open Source Web Content Management offerings that often are ignored by others: WordPress. Yes, for all you CMS duffers, you can get high quality WordPress Training from real experts. As an example, one of the hottest trends in Web Content Management is having a ‘Responsive Theme’, one that acts similar on a browser and on a mobile device. Lynda.com has a course on how to create a responsive theme in WordPress.
Lynda.com and Quality
Quality is the number one issue that people discuss when it comes to Learning. First, it is important to point out that Lynda.com isn’t a small firm, they have been growing for years. The studios where they produce their content are some of the best we have seen. They have all of the roles covered in what it takes to produce a quality course and they clearly have a methodology.
Assessing your Learning Courseware Spending: Add Lynda.com to Evaluation list
The great thing about competition is that it provides enterprises with choice. Enterprises increasingly have had fewer choices for quality off-the-shelf technology related learning content. With Lynda.com, the choices just got better. Our advice has always been to evaluate every course before signing a blanket licensing deal with a vendor. Many enterprises fail to do that and they end up with some level of frustration after users complain.
That has led to a consumer revolution to some extent in Learning. Users have decided to go out on their own to source their own learning (Consumerization of Learning) and we suspect this has been a key reason for the growth of Lynda.com. Learning and Development professionals can now mix things up before renewing their existing Learning Content contracts. Our advice is not to sole source your off-the-shelf courseware spending. Have more than one supplier.
Of course, Lynda.com doesn’t cover every technology topic, but their breadth surprised us. As we wrap-up 2012, the good news is that business professionals already take advantage of Lynda.com. L&D professionals should take note. Quality sells and we expect to see a lot more from Lynda.com going forward.