I know so many who are hurting, financially speaking, that is.  I am certain you, too, know at least one person, and likely more, who have been seriously impacted by the economic downturn. Training provided online by at www.Lynda.com can be the ticket to new employment, even self-employment, so don’t wait to investigate, at least until after you read my report.

Many otherwise capable workers who had been employed for many years in a position from which they were let go have found that the skills required for new positions have passed them by.  These workers may have some casual computer experience but they lack skills and experience requested or required by those who are looking for employees today.

There are also entrepreneurs, young and old, with an idea and time to germinate it into action, perhaps because of losing one’s job.  These individuals have the time, but maybe not the many months it would take to attend tradition classes.  Enter Lynda.com!

Attending actual classes at a community college or vocational school may not be convenient or easily available.  As I discussed this dilemma with a friend in reference to the plight of so many out-of-work workers, I was introduced to Lynda.com, so I decided to have a look.

While I was ramping up to get acquainted with the company, I also learned that Microsoft was teaming up with Lynda.com to offer some FREE training for purchasers of the NEW Macintosh version of Microsoft Office 2008 Business Edition.  Coincidentally, I was about to receive this new Office edition for evaluation, so the synergy seemed just right, and the time ripe for this glimpse into what Lynda.com has to offer.  Choose the FREE training link above to see what will impress you; professionally produced training sessions by instructors from whom users can well learn the basics to get started with each element of the new edition of Office 2008 Mac Business Edition.

Think about the concept of online learning in this way, and, of course, not only for Mac users and not only for Microsoft Office.  “Students” need not leave home, get dressed or take instruction at any particular time.  Participating in this instruction, rich in content may be repeated fully or piece-by-piece.  All instructors are articulate and personable, and, most of all, they know their stuff!

Let me finish telling you about Lynda.com as regards this new Office for Mac before moving on to more general thoughts about Lynda.com.  Purchasers of this new suite receive two DVDs in the package.  The first contains the program info for installing the applications.  The second DVD contains the training lessons.  Training in the basics is what is provided, with more available online, for a fee, at Lynda.com. From what I have seen, there is more than enough offered without charge to teach a basic working knowledge and to provide practice with any element of the free training provided.  This may be enough to help students to be jump-started into the future.  Knowing that much more in-depth training, in the same professional vain as the free instruction, will be available online is an encouragement toward success, in my view.

Lynda.com was kind enough to allow me unlimited access to their resources in order to have a look at training in other areas.  I sampled several areas of interest with about 10-15 minutes of instruction on applications that I have now or have used in the past or that I will want to use, including Microsoft Office, of course. In addition, I looked in on Adobe Acrobat 9, Photoshop, Apple Final Cut Express and Final Cut Pro, to name a few.  Please look through all the courses available at Lynda.com here.  Note that a majority of courses are offered with Closed Captioning!

Traditional in-person classroom training, instruction that is structured around one-hour, two-hour or longer blocks, daily or a few or more days per week, will require months to complete, with much wasted and unproductive time.  Group, on-site instruction generally is paced according to neither the fastest learner nor the slowest.  Everyone participates at the group level, which can be too fast or excruciatingly slow.

So, another advantage of Lynda.com training is the short blocks of time in which each element of each course is divided.  The entire course may be six or twenty six hours.  For example, most segments I have seen listed and sampled range from a few minutes, certainly in the three to six minute range, up to as much as 20 minutes long, but these are a rarity. All instruction is smartly broken up into these meaningful parts of just the right length so that a concept or area of instruction within a program is incrementally, chronologically presented for maximum benefit.  Everything is in the right order to build upon the previous instruction for that program. This segmentation encourages trainees to do self-paced learning, where trial and error and repeated viewing of the lessons or lessons is beneficial.  You have seen from the samples linked above that instruction shows the instructor’s screen and not the instructor.  How can this not be beneficial?  You have seen and experienced that instruction is paced just right, not too fast and not too slowly, also encouraging the information to sink in and not overwhelm the student as is normally the case when in a real classroom environment.

This is no fly-by-night outfit.  I had no idea until I looked for myself and asked among others just how highly is Lynda.com training praised and used by top companies to train their own staffs.  Please look at their Top Ten Benefits to Learning with Lynda.com.

For those whose employment is not at issue, Lynda.com training can be a useful partner.  Let us say you are involved in a project right NOW and you do not have the training and skills needed to complete the project using software with which you are already familiar.  Lynda.com training may be just what you need, anywhere, any time, to learn the next level or the exact skill needed to perform the function that will allow you to complete the job, on time!

By now I am sure you are interested in the cost. I found the costs to be surprisingly reasonable, too!  Persons out of work may not only find this availability of instruction a godsend, but it is also individual student-paced, enabling users to go forward as quickly as their abilities permit, or as slowly as needed.  No one will care what the student is wearing. A student is never late for class.  Breaks are at the student’s discretion.  There is no transportation cost or time and effort required to get to class, unless the student does not own a computer and needs to go to a location where one is available for the training (and upon which the software may be installed – More on this later). There may be a childcare issue, but this certainly has to be better than childcare needs of students actually leaving home to attend classes.  Graduation?  It’s whenever the student feels ready to move on and look for work with these new skills.

Now that we have explored the areas that would be financially impactful upon students in a traditional learning environment, here are the real costs of training at Lynda.com.  Training cost starts at about $1 per day, just $25 per month with no commitment and no contract.  Signing up for one year is just $250, and, again, there are no longer-term commitments and this saves users $50 over month-to-month fees for one year.  A premium annual plan, their best and available for $375, provides access to instructors’ exercise and practice materials in addition to the lessons themselves, and appears to be the best value and most comprehensive option.  Now, spending $375 may be tough to many who are down and out and out-of-work, but it is a darn sight less than the actual costs of outside instruction and the results may be better, quicker, and leading to more rapid employability and on to employment!  The benefits of anytime access to more than 42,000 tutorials by experienced and “learnable” instructors with pause, rewind and replay capability just cannot be overstated.

Another important payment option exists for those who would want to offer a hand up to family or friends in an employment “anomaly.”  Lynda.com offers reasonably priced gift subscriptions, so you or someone you know could provide the course cost to someone in need!  Have a look at these plans.

I’ve seen, over the years, some of the other canned computer instruction on DVD and, though the price is less in some cases and more in others, I think Lynda.com has THE winning strategy and THE winning way to get the job done.  There is just no contest between what I have experienced with Lynda.com and the others tried, including those we have all seen advertised on TV.

In addition to their online training, Lynda.com offers courses for sale on DVD.  Prices range from $25 to about $150 to OWN the instruction.  Some courses are split with one set of instruction for the basics of a program and a second course that is “beyond the basics.”

I sincerely urge and encourage ANYONE, EVERYONE, whether a current student outside the home, a homemaker who really needs to get out into the work force, a currently employed person who would like to learn more to earn more and anyone in need of a fresh start toward earning a living to log on to www.Lynda.com.  Sample materials of interest and look through their catalog, whether for Mac or Windows users.  It is likely you will find more than one session of interest and during which you will be made to feel encouraged about your own ability to learn and earn.  You will be invigorated as I am. Now, I want to learn more, to learn from the get-go some applications I know would be fun and save me time. Now, I am encouraged to take instruction on software I otherwise would not even have investigated.  And for the cost of $25 for a month, isn’t it worth your time, effort and not much of an investment to seek knowledge that can improve your earnings or train you toward employment that will achieve for you earnings that now do not exist?  I would suggest learning your way around basic programs, such as either the Windows or Mac version of Microsoft Office as a good place to start.

Now, of course you need access to a computer and the Internet.  I will leave it to you to find a way, if needed, to get this done.  However, you know you can get this training from anywhere at any time.  If you do not have the software upon which you want to be trained, this, too, may be an easy problem to overcome, at least temporarily.  For example, Microsoft offers FREE downloadable trial editions of exactly the software you need, Office for Mac 2008 or Windows 2007.  These trial versions will work for up to 60 days, which should be plenty of time to learn what is needed to jump-start you into your future.  Popular software from others may also be available on a similar trial basis, but, frankly, the ability to use the Office suite of programs is, arguably, where training might best, first begin.

And did you know that Microsoft also offers student pricing on full versions of the Student and pro versions of their software, and at significantly reduced rates? How about $100 – $150 instead of more than double to triple the amount?  While you are not a student enrolled full-time in a traditional educational institution to personally qualify you for the best prices, it is likely that you know a student who would help you.  Search and shop online for “student edition Microsoft office Windows” or “student edition Microsoft office Mac” and see what you find, locating your best price, and then determine if the reseller requires verification of student status.  I’ve purchased software for my own children who have been eligible at the time for student discounts, only it was dear old dad who went online to buy without any problem at all.

Stop making excuses and start planning your future or brushing up on skills needed to do better with software you already use.

Did you know that you can do a good deed and help yourself by supporting your employees’ training efforts and paying for their Lynda.com training?  Wouldn’t your operation be more efficient if you provided the employee training in the software used by your employees?

Thank you Lynda.com, for the opportunity to look into your excellent software training.

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