Lynda.com (now in 2020, Linkedin Learning) is an online educational site for coders with a vast array of multimedia learning experiences. Around for 20 years now, Lynda serves more than 10,000 businesses and provides lessons in five languages. They are a go to for business training as well as individuals. Their reach is global, with students from around the world using the site to increase their skills and learn new things.
Possibly the best site of its kind, Lynda.com allows students a way to learn coding from instructors through a huge library of video content. Students can work at their own pace. Unlike Udemy or other sites there is not a per-video or per-course charge. For one subscription fee, students have unrestricted access to as much content as they can take in for the month.
Additional resources are often included, including worksheets and other instructional materials. Lynda is a one-stop place to go to for learning tech skills and techniques in a wide variety of technical disciplines. Beyond that, they also offer business, money management, and other advanced courses. For the purposes of our review, we will focus on the technical and coding aspects of Lynda’s educational offering.
Getting Started with Lynda.com
The signup process at Lynda is quick and easy, and allows you to start creating playlists of your desired training right off the bat. There is a credit card requirement for even the ten-day trial. Be advised that if you forget to cancel within that ten days you will be charged.
Once you have created an account, Lynda will help you find training based on your areas of interest. You are greeted with a long menu of choices, which is made of drill-down sections. You select the areas that you would like to learn from. Selections here will create a list of recommended coursework later.
During the initial setup, Lynda will show you some of its most popular courses as you go, letting you know that expert training is at hand. The most requested and relevant courses are extremely easy to find. to view more of what we described, visit the official site here.
Recommended courses appear with the course title and a preview image, as well as date of creation. This information is important especially in the tech sector as while some things like C programming will not change a whole lot, other skills become obsolete quickly. Be sure to pay heed to creation date and the dates of recent updates. they teach other tutorials as we saw like various php frameworks, jquery, java and more.
A course on Objective C from several years back may not include some of the more relevant updates that help it integrate seamlessly with iOS applications. Also, new extensions are coming out all the time in the realm of web development, so the fresher the content the more likely it is to be useful and not outdated.
Courses are broken down into a series of videos which can range from minutes to over half an hour. This depends on the instructor, the material, and what is being studied. You are not required to watch all the material, as you would be expected to attend every course session in an on-ground campus.
Clear and concise video titles and descriptions make finding the content within the course that is most relevant to your learning a snap. A quick hover over the course title with your mouse will give further information such as total runtime and other course details. You can work ahead to where you want to be, or go back if you need clarification on a topic. You will never wonder which video is which.
Videos and courses can be added to a playlist, which allows you to decide which content you wish to view and in what order. You can name your playlists and make them relevant to a specific track. For instance, if you were looking to learn front-end development, you might stack courses in your playlist.
Since Linkedin bought Lynda.com in 2014 for over $100 million dollars (WHAT!?) they have since took over their main youtube channel. It is called “linkedin learning solutions“. Below is a quick video from the founders explaining how they do things within Lynda.com. this includes a production team, a film crew, programmers and developers for website infastructure as well as professional instructors in all areas.
For mobile users, Lynda.com also offers apps for the iOS system as well as Android. This allows users with the requisite subscription to use their videos and materials on the go.
Quality of Service
Lynda.com boasts some of the best video quality of any online instructor. The videos are high resolution and so the large video player does not detract from the sharpness of the image. The video player itself has tabs beneath that allow you to access details of the course, the video transcript, frequently asked questions, and notes you have taken.
The Transcript tab will allow you to see the full text of the video, and it highlights the words as the video goes on so you can follow along in the text. This is a huge feature not only for those who have difficulty following what the instructor says. It is also an important accessibility tool for those who are hard of hearing or who use assistive technology to help them with their learning path.
The people who present the videos are professional, informative, and it is obvious that they are comfortable speaking with the camera present so you get the most out of each video. As you watch videos, you can keep track of what you have watched and what you intend to watch in the playlist. Finished courses are denoted with an eye icon so you can easily track your progress.
Hundreds of courses and over ten thousand videos exist for those in the programming track. These cover such topics as Web development and programming as well as hard programming. Others begin at programming foundations and algorithms and data structures. Students can take courses in user interface design, mobile app development, and just about any course you can think of.
An interesting feature is that some courses also feature experts weighing in with opinions on the topics being presented. These experts are from the heart of the industry and not just education. While Lynda may not offer the interactivity of other sites, it makes up for it with a much larger selection of courses from which to choose and a great breadth and depth of knowledge. Also, unlike some of the marketplace and social choices for videos, the quality of Lynda’s offerings is consistent from video to video in a much greater fashion. On sites where the instructor creates their own course content, the quality can vary greatly.
Lynda.com offers certificates of completion for courses that have been finished. This does not translate directly to a resume, but gives one a sense of accomplishment and is a tangible tool which can be used if your employer offers a tuition or education reimbursement program. The certificates give proof that you have completed continuing education in the field of choice.
There are other ways to get similar online content, such as the venerable YouTube and dedicated online learning sites such as Khan Academy which compiles free learning material. However, the delivery system for Lynda.com is more focused than either of the above. Also, the material at Lynda is vetted and more prescient for the topics at hand.
The other video sites have material dedicated to various topics and don’t focus specifically on coding. YouTube is hardly a topical master, and Khan Academy was originally developed as a core learning site in hard academia. Therefore, it doesn’t have as strong of an offering in coding and development.
Based on their strengths, the prices for Lynda’s subscription plans are completely reasonable. If you need a course in a specific technical topic, Lynda has a lineup of specific courses for it. With other sites, you will need to search and hope for the best.
Lynda offers monthly or annual subscriptions to their website. A few of their videos are available as a free trial, but to access the breadth of the Lynda catalog you really need a subscription. There is a ten-day trial period if you are not satisfied or feel that Lynda will not meet your needs. They have a two-tiered subscription program:
- A basic plan costs $25 per month or $240 per year, including unlimited access to all the videos on the site. Rather than paying for a course, you pay a flat fee for all that Lynda offers for the duration of the subscription.
- A Premium subscription is just $10 more a month. For $35 a month you get to download the files; for $360 per year and a savings of $5 per month over the monthly Premium subscription you can get offline access to the coursework. Note that offline viewing is not available to monthly subscribers.
The subscription plans have the flexibility to allow you to take as much or as little in the way of education as you want rather than having to pay on an a la carte basis for each course. Many other online coding sites charge per course track or even per course, making Lynda.com more flexible. There are limitations to the Basic plan.
While you have access to the entire video library, you cannot download any of the videos on a mobile device or download the course content files. Premium membership remedies this, and allows you to take Lynda anywhere, anytime.
Lynda offers great support outside just the training arena. A phone number is available for both domestic and international learners, and is toll-free inside the United States. Email contact is also available for technical support or questions about your coursework.
There are help files on the site to act as a form of knowledge base as well. This is useful if you cannot reach a live person or have a question that is simpler. It is a way for you to find help outside normal hours.
Lynda.com offers well-crafted, and meticulously detailed learning content online. This shines through especially for programming languages and high-end software. Members of the site are welcome to watch as much content as they want, when they want, and with the correct subscription, where they happen to be.This basic subscription is well within reach of most people. However, we recommend the Professional annual membership, so that anywhere with an internet connection becomes the classroom.
Course content can even be pulled down to be used offline. Those with a basic subscription will need to have WiFi at a minimum on a laptop computer to use the training materials on the go, and learning becomes much more portable with the Professional membership. Either way you choose to go, Lynda.com is an excellent way for you to reach your potential as a coder.
With effort one could search for and probably find similar material online to learn the skills cost free. But Lynda removes the barriers, avoids bad advice and content, and provides consistent and easy to grasp video content with full transcripts for the learner. If you need more interactivity than videos and add-on content to retain the information, Lynda may not be for you. But if you are a visual learner and able learn from lectures and videos and apply that to a practical context, the cost is extremely reasonable.
Even more so given the extremely high quality of the content. Much like Udemy, there is not a lot of guidance about what path you should take within a given subject. However, once you have decided on subject matter, related subject matter is automatically suggested. If you don’t like a course you can simply change courses without being out anything other than time. So, if you’re looking for a top-notch video based education, go and give Lynda.com a try.
Need more support? Try Treehouse and Code School. They both provide more structure in the learning environment than Lynda, and provide a quality education as well. Visit our reviews for them here on Coder’s Eye.