The College of Liberal Studies prides itself on attracting and producing the highest caliber of lifelong learners, individuals who are dedicated to the “ongoing, voluntary and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge throughout the course of their lives. This year, the University of Oklahoma has been lucky enough to enter into a partnership that just might make the learning process a little bit easier – one with lynda.com.
Lynda.com is an online learning company that provides tutorials for people looking to become more knowledgeable in the fields of business, software, technology and creativity. Subscribers gain access to a massive video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by industry experts.
Tutorials like those offered by lynda are particularly useful for people wanting to develop or hone a skill set without depleting their savings accounts in the process. Widely available online or through formalized educational programs, tutorials offer topic-focused instruction that is often more interactive and detailed than learning from traditional textbooks or lectures. An added bonus is that tutorials allow users to search for solutions that are specific to their individual needs, helping to eliminate the need to rifle through unnecessary content in the search for useful information about a particular problem.
Seth Hartman, User Interface & User Experience Designer for OU IT and the individual primarily responsible for bringing lynda to OU, became interested in web tutorials long before he began working at the university. As a college graduate entering the workforce in the midst of a struggling economy, he personally used this method to widen his own field of expertise. Years later, he committed himself to making the same technology easily available to students at the university.
“With the advent of e-learning and my own experiences both in school and as a staff member at OU, I realized how helpful it would be to have an online learning system for faculty, staff and students,” he said. “Lynda.com has had a tremendous impact on my own career, and I believed it would benefit others at OU if we could provide an opportunity for them to utilize it. Since lynda.com offers software training for a variety of skill levels—from undergraduate to adult professional development—it is a perfect fit for a university setting. It can help individuals develop their skills and careers without them having to incur a financial burden.”
This means that OU’s student body has the opportunity to explore and develop interests outside of the classroom in addition to receiving the excellent traditional instruction for which the university is known – for no additional expense. As an institution committed to cultivating students who are both theoretically knowledgeable and practically talented, OU has certainly raised the bar.
If you’re asking yourself, “How does this apply to me?” you’re not alone. Many people cease seeking new information the moment they walk across the stage at graduation. In today’s rapidly changing world, however, this will very soon cease to be a viable option. In many ways, the ability to adapt to new ways of producing work is becoming just as important as learning it in the first place. In some cases, adaptation is even more important, particularly for those whose work involves the application of technology. “We’re just going to keep things the way they are,” said no software company, ever.
It is clear that the utility of web tutorials is not currently confined to a university setting, and this fact is only going to become more obvious as new technologies develop. Already, this method of learning is becoming more valuable for people in the real world because they face real-time challenges on a daily basis without the resources or safety net that access to a dedicated professor provides. As the technology continues to develop, people will begin to look to resources like these to help them solve real-world problems, become more adept at their jobs and create order in the ever-increasing chaos of the modern marketplace.
Whatever the future holds, one thing is certain: lifelong learning has become a little easier for everyone.