You wouldn’t believe the things my husband can do in Microsoft Excel. Watching him is addictive; I have no idea what combination of keystrokes he’s pressing but suddenly everything is auto summing and columns are where I want them, and it’s just… magical. He never even has to reach for the mouse. He can do things in Excel I had no idea were possible, and he has redefined my understanding of the program and what it can do.
I’m starting to realize how little I know about the programs I’m using every day. I have never taken a WordPress tutorial. I get frustrated just trying to fix the spacing in my “About” page, not even basic html knowledge has helped me there.
I know that Google Analytics could tell me really cool things about my web traffic… if I had any idea how to use it.
Enter lynda.com. When I asked my Facebook friends where I should go to learn about SEO (expecting book recommendations or links to articles) someone immediately said Lynda.com. It’s an online software training and tutorial site with monthly or annual memberships. You can pay as little as $24.99 a month for unlimited access to all their training videos.
Here’s my current to-watch list:
WordPress Essential Training (5 hours 15 minutes)
SEO Fundamentals (3 hours 27 minutes)
Google Analytics Essential Training (3 hours 35 minutes)
Lightroom 6 Essential Training (5 hours 43 minutes)
There are video courses on using twitter, pinterest and other social media, on how to publish an e-book, and on almost every software I could think of. You can skip right to the parts that interest you easily, or skim a transcript if you’re not sure you need to watch a specific section. If you go to lynda.com, you can search their course offerings before deciding to subscribe to their service.
I’ve just started the WordPress course, and have already learned something new (how to set a featured image) that would have been helpful to know several years ago.
Pros: Inexpensive. You can do it on your own schedule. Lots of course options. Rankings show whether a course is designed for beginner, intermediate, or advanced users. Transcript available. The tutorials are divided into small 2-5 minute video clips with detailed titles allowing you to select or skip specific topics.
Cons: It’s easy to sign up, get busy, and end up paying for a monthly service you don’t use. There’s no engagement with instructors or peers. You may end up watching video showing you things you already know. It bills automatically, so even if you’re a month-to-month subscriber you need to actively cancel your subscription. You need to actually sit down and watch the videos in order to learn, and then practice what you’ve learned so you don’t forget everything after you’ve canceled your subscription. Lack of accountability or urgency because you didn’t sign up for a course with specific deadlines.
Bottom line: It would probably be faster and better to sit down with an expert and have an in-person tutorial where you could ask tailored questions based on what you usually do in your software… but is that really going to happen?
I’m hoping lynda.com will make me a more powerful and less frustrated user of the software I use every day.
What’s something new you’ve been learning, and how? Do you have favorite documentaries, podcasts, or places you go to improve your blogging? I’d love to hear from you, via comments or send me an e-mail!