Here’s what I’ve learned about how I learn: I love online, how-to videos. I can play anytime I want for as long as I want. I can pause, “rewind,” and start over. I can break for coffee and then pick up right where I left off.
Armed with a free trial, I recently tried out Lynda.com, a popular computer training Web site. Named for co-founder Lynda Weinman, this site offers nearly 900 computer skills courses taught with byte-sized, on-demand training videos. Learn graphic design, computer languages, and business applications on your own schedule. Spend an afternoon polishing your tech skills. Spend a day learning new ones. Training doesn’t get much more flexible than this.
So how does Lynda.com training stack up? To find out, I tackled Microsoft Word 2007: Styles in Depth with Mariann Siegert. This course offers more than 3 hours of practical training, practically presented. I liked Mariann’s comfortable, show-and-tell approach. I also liked the short, manageable lessons.
And I just love anything SEO. So I really enjoyed SEO: Search Engine Optimization Getting Started. Jill Whalen of HighRankings.com packs a lot of information into a fast 2 hours and 20 minutes. She covers everything from targeting keywords to tweaking Google Analytics. Just one complaint: I wanted more. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a “Getting Started” course. There wasn’t time to go deep on every topic in every chapter.
Overall, I was pleased with my Lynda.com experience. It worked for me.
And anybody can sample individual lessons from any Lynda.com course. Free! There are budget-friendly subscriptions, too. Get unlimited, anytime access to all online tutorials for $25 per month. It’s $37.50 per month if you want the exercise files. An annual subscription runs $250 ($375 with exercises).
Bottom line: Online computer training is a practical alternative to classroom instruction or how-to books. Some things you should consider before you sign up for online training:
- As good as Lynda.com is, there are many other Web-based training programs available. Do some research. Choose the training program that works for you and your budget.
- You’ll get out of online training what you put into it. If you just want an overview of the software or technique, sit back and watch. If you want hands-on training, pick a vendor that offers practice sessions and/or materials. You can practice on your own, too. Just remember to do it!
- Schedule your training when you can complete all the tutorials on your wish list. Time flies, life interferes—and your list will be long. A month goes by fast—and so will your subscription.
Now if Lynda.com would just do SEO: Search Engine Optimization Continued . . .