Rather than spending time and money reinventing the wheel by creating Web-based tutorials for popular software titles only to sink more time and money into updating them with each subsequent version, schools can use a lynda.com academic site license to enable everyone on campus access to the entire lynda.com library of titles.
Lynda.com has tons of courses, including some on Microsoft Office, Google Applications, Adobe CS4, SQL, AutoCAD, Drupal, and more. Each topic has a table of contents page with hyperlinks to several short 3-13 minute instructional videos on single topics within the course. Learners can follow a course in order via the table of contents for full training, or skip to a single video for just-in-time answers to quick questions.
Overall an academic site license of lynda.com could have a great deal of potential, in a number of applications:
- for staff training
- for user support
- as a student resource
However, there are a few items on my wishlist that once granted would make the academic site license and absolute “must-have”. So here is my lynda.com wishlist for academic site licenses:
I want to be able us to see what subjects and topics we have taken.
Right now there is no way to track individual progress with the academic site license. Bummer. Annual reviews are coming up and it would be great to see what I’ve been doing.
I want to be able link to individual video topics.
Right now I can link to them, but if the learner is logged out, he/she gets the following: “We’re sorry, but the movie you requested is only available to valid Online Training Library® subscribers. If you are currently a lynda.com subscriber your login may have timed out. Please log in again.”
Librarian Dan Hickey states that lynda.com could follow the lead of other electronic resources in providing a permanent link that passes authentication information, “Permalinking, and more generally the standardization of direct access to content within an electronic resource, has become an essential facilitator of information retrieval. In the academic sphere, almost all library resources use permanent identifiers to accommodate users’ need to directly connect to materials, be they journal articles, mp3s, or chapter delineators within videos and ebooks. A hallmark of user-centered design, permanent identifiers often preclude link rot or excessive re-navigation within a resource.”
Why is this an important feature to higher ed? Our helpdesks could link directly to the video that answers a user question or an FAQ. Our instructors could place specific videos’ URLs right into a syllabus. As staff trainers, we could create training modules that link to just the videos that are relevant to a particular position. Or we could recommend videos as remediation in areas where someone could use improvement.
All in all, a lynda.com academic site license could save some serious elearning development time, user support time and staff development time; it’s worth some consideration.