LinkedIn Learning Review
April 22, 2021

LinkedIn Learning Review

Arthur Kegerreis | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 2 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com)

I have used Lynda.com since they first opened, prior to online course offerings. Their initial classes were delivered on CD-ROM and I was an early alpha and beta tester for them. Personally I continue to use their classes to get up to speed on new software. They no longer offer classes for legacy software versions, unfortunately, which is a terrible limitation of their usefulness to me. I also have used their classes to get a large non-profit team I work with up to speed on software we use collectively. I have frequently recommended Lynda.com to clients so we could work collaboratively with graphical assets. I have continued to subscribe because I loved the company - before it was acquired by LinkedIn. Now I'm on the verge of canceling.
  • They have progressively updated the interface for the video lessons, adding a transcript, and for some time they had several video window options. These were important because you frequently have to refer back and forth between the lesson segments, transcript, and video, which is an extra usability headache when you have to scroll constantly.
  • Their introductory "essential training" videos are generally quite good at getting an overview of software tools, functionality, and work flow.
  • Lynda.com specialized initially in DESIGN. She was the first person to author web design books oriented towards graphic designers instead of programmers. She often included videos with groundbreaking artists in their field.
  • Transcripts are an essential tool in the lessons. Once you've watched everything, there are bound to be things you need to refer to again, and the transcripts help because you don't have to watch each video again.
  • LinkedIn Learning has already made much of Lynda.com's content unusable. Where software lessons were once clearly indexed by company and title, now searches lead to every video segment that mentions a topic among all related software products. Meanwhile, it's often impossible to find courses when you know they exist. For example, Google and G-Suite courses were nearly impossible to find for some time.
  • LinkedIn's interface is already confusing and counter-intuitive. They've wrapped LinkedIn Learning into the existing over-cluttered interface, making it even harder to use effectively. As a company, they've also proven to be untrustworthy; when I first signed up for Linked In, they spammed everyone in my contact list, and there are lots of reports of them billing customers without their consent. I'm being forced to migrate to LinkedIn Learning, but the account migration doesn't work, and their tech support was clueless why.
  • Lynda.com was never terribly great for learning coding. Even if you buy the upper tier subscription with the exercise files, it can often be difficult to debug a problem when you're following an instructor onscreen. If there's something you're confused by, there's no way to ask a question for clarification. LinkedIn is even worse because it's trying to include every IT subject that certifications are available for, and they're weak on design software.
  • The class certificates are basically a joke. All you have to do to "earn one" is let all the videos in a course play through to the end. I think there may be comprehension questions thrown in for good measure, but I never found them to help comprehension or retention.
  • Just like the present site, LinkedIn targets everything towards corporate clients. A large majority of design professionals and creatives in general are contract workers and resent pop-up menus that don't even mention design among the potential departments or any related job titles. LinkedIn Learning is targeted towards IT support personnel, not creative software users.
  • Lynda.com was initially a family business. Together with Bruce Heavin, she offered easily accessible training for people without technical backgrounds. Now she's on the Forbes top 100 women list, valuing her at $310 million. Lynda.com went through a growth spurt that moved them from Ojai to Ventura, and in the process they became less and less personal. Support staff was still friendly, helpful, and responsive though. Few other businesses offered the ability to start and stop a subscription without any penalty. Now LinkedIn's purchase seems to be putting nails in the coffin. No longer is there phone support - only a chat window with uninformed people puzzled why they can't migrate [your] account.
  • Well, they have a team of people debugging each class, so they don't have many typos like, "What are LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com)'s most important features for your or your organization." Their production standards were very high.
  • Lynda.com was initiated for individual learning. That's what it excels at. They have added a bunch of features to try to add sale-ability to your learning efforts, like the "certificates." If you need more time to review something, you can play the video again and read the transcript. That's often harder in an in-person classroom environment. It would be possible to have a team of people viewing the online classes together, but I'd be surprised if that worked well unless the participants liked to help each other out.
  • Lynda.com was set up for you to learn software. LinkedIn Learning is set up to sell you more classes, buy their other products, and lock you in to a purchase contract. My impression is that they could care less whether you actually learn anything.
  • Lynda.com's Macromedia and Adobe software classes gave me a foundation to work professionally as a web designer, helping scores of clients build their businesses, increase their revenue, create passive income streams, and bolster their professional credibility.
  • Lynda.com's G-Suite Administration course, and related Google courses, enabled me and our team to set up and implement our G-Suite software, which became fundamental to our team meetings, role-based email account roll-out, and registration for our events. Some people had mentioned Google's help features as being exceptional, but I found the Lynda.com classes much more succinct and they got me and our team up to speed efficiently.
  • LinkedIn's takeover of Lynda.com is leaving me ready to jump ship. The poor handling of the account migration seems likely to foreshadow more problems with a big corporation that cares nothing about its customers.
Again, this corporate form is trying to force me to choose from products with slightly different names while not offering common options.

Udemy seems similar in many respects, but my recollection is that their subscription model was less appealing. I didn't find they offered much that Lynda.com didn't. Sitting through online instruction is time-consuming, and I didn't want to subscribe to an additional service. I may reconsider now, however, since LinkedIn's take-over. They seem to be most similar to Lynda.com. Others are really offering alternatives to university enrollment-based degree pursuing classes.

Coursera is more of a long-term instructional system. Many of their instructors are academic "celebrities" in their fields, however you only interact with a video of them, a TA, and other classmates. The project feedback from other classmates wasn't helpful, and in some cases was out-right insulting. They seem to be moving away from some of their free courses to suites of paid courses with project certificates, though often with a free non-certificate option as well. Many of the class videos can also be found on YouTube. A big drawback of most of these classes is that they're offered only at certain times, so you may have to wait months for a class to start. The Introduction to Human Computer Interaction class I took with a Stanford/UCSD professor had 4000 students in it! Those lessons had all been on the instructors faculty page as well, and are still available on YouTube, but the class projects were what made it worthwhile.

Kadenze if offering a selection of arts-related software and business courses. They have some of the top names in these fields. The class model is nearly identical to Coursera, and suffers some of the same drawbacks.

These shortcomings aren't so much due to the company offering the courses, however; many universities are now offering their classes using the same software that they both use. A friend was extremely upset after moving across the country for a graduate program, only to discover the entire class was being delivered online (before the pandemic) in pretty much the same fashion as Coursera, though with a much smaller class-size.

YouTube offers a huge variety of software training videos, but there's no vetting system, and the quality varies from exceptional to unwatchable. It's often great for tracking down an answer to software dysfunctionality though. I just watched Lynda.com's SketchUp Essentials, and had some un-explained questions that I found answers to immediately on YouTube - not on the software manufacturer's site, however!

MIT has a vast treasure trove of it's classes and syllabi available for free online. These don't include videos of the instructor lectures, however.

Community College certificate programs and classes have been a better option for me, when I just wanted to learn an application.

Do you think LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com) delivers good value for the price?

Yes

Are you happy with LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com)'s feature set?

Yes

Did LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com) live up to sales and marketing promises?

No

Did implementation of LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com) go as expected?

No

Would you buy LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com) again?

Yes

I've learned hundreds of software applications over the last several decades, and trained teams in offices and one-on-one. At one point, books and trade magazines were a great way to get up to speed with an application, but they've become less and less effective for getting started. Video lessons have some strengths; you can get a rapid overview of a program's capabilities and watch an experienced user using its tools efficiently. On rare occasions they'll even point out bugs that could trip you up, but I wish instructors shared more of those issues.

However, it takes a very self-motivated learner to sit through training sessions. Most people don't fit that category, and a subscription may end up gathering dust like a pandemic gym membership. My account is sometimes dormant for months, but then I'll be watching lessons continually the following month. I've often wondered if it was worth it for that reason. I have some friends that voraciously devoured class after Lynda.com class, and built successful careers on that training. But many others never use their account. It's helpful to consider whether you're a self-motivated learner. If not, it may not be the best format for you.

More complicated software often can't be adequately introduced in a several-hour-long series of videos. I found Final Cut Pro (7) hard to learn online, also Logic Pro. Other somewhat complicated programs like DVD Pro were a snap to learn, and I learned a lot about PHP and Actionscript programming from Lynda.com. Some web and graphics software is exceptionally explained by real experts, such as Lynda's Photoshop classes, which are the best I've seen on that subject. Many of her web production courses will take you every step along the way to creating your own website, even if you haven't coded before. Adobe and Apple have both published similar project-based tutorial classes in book form, and I think they're a bit more polished, but the video instructor can help move you along through all the content more easily. Learning software seems to work better from an online video than a book these days; it's helpful to already be sitting at the computer where you're able to try everything out as it's explained. Most people don't seem to retain software principles unless they're trying them while learning.

A bad instructor can make it difficult to sit through a video class. Lynda.com and others generally have a large variety of content creators, so you're not as limited with instructors as you might be at a University, where the same instructor may teach several related applications. Departmental faculty may have much more targeted and creative applications for your software though, while paid corporate software training can be mind-numbingly bad. Continuing ed classes that I've taken usually seemed to just focus on learning the tools in a software product. They often don't or even can't show you how to apply the software for your purposes as full time faculty at a University might. Some Lynda.com instructors weren't great, but most seemed a cut above the continuing ed and corporate software trainers I've learned from or contracted. The majority of the classes seemed to apply the software for an impressive final project.

Redundancy is a real drawback among the online lessons. Often the advanced classes repeat many of the concepts from the introductory "Essentials" courses. If you know an earlier version of an application and just want to learn new features, a book may be a faster route to your goal. I originally suggested the "New Features" lessons that Lynda began to offer for updated releases, and I think they're especially helpful. It's much harder to skim through a video than a page of text, so I'd anticipate having to complement your Lynda.com lessons with other instructional materials.

Lynda.com didn't have as many of the "fluff" courses that LinkedIn is now offering. These titles read like articles from Cosmo. They might be better served to offer "How to respond to a connection request from a recruiter who works in a field completely unrelated to you."

Evaluating LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com) and Competitors

Yes - Lynda.com was the first player in the field.
It was a welcome replacement for in-person training classes and classroom in a book.
Online instruction wasn't an option when they started since bandwidth delivery problems hadn't been overcome yet. Today there are many similar options however.
  • Prior Experience with the Product
A CD-ROM developer showed a demo of a game she had created, and she was a friend of Lynda, pointing me to her books at the time. She was still teaching in Art Center's Continuing Ed program. She moved to Ojai and started her CD-ROM classes, and I was hired to alpha and beta test some Macromedia instructional disks.

I loved everybody I met at the company, and felt it was a company I wanted to continue to support, even when I wouldn't need the lessons for several months, or when my library offered access for free.

None of these factors applies to LinkedIn, however.

LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com) Support

Many of these questions are mis-leading because the company is changing hands.
Lynda.com support was a 10.
LinkedIn Learning is a O.
ProsCons
Support understands my problem
Slow Resolution
Poor followup
Less knowledgeable
Problems left unsolved
Difficult to get immediate help
Slow Initial Response
This is not an option.
Yes - My Lynda.com account wouldn't migrate to LinkedIn Learning, and tech support was clueless as to why.