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Education doesn’t end when college does. Not with the Internet. The web now allows students to discover new experiences. More and more sites offer free open courses or platforms for students and teachers to connect more closely. Lynda is one of the oldest in the field, and it works so well that LinkedIn has just bought it for $1.5 billion.
Founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman as a complement to her classes at a digital arts academy, Lynda offers online tutorials on topics related to creativity, with a special emphasis on videos. The resources offered range from photography to web design, 3D animation and sound, and its collection is already quite extensive. In 2008 Lynda began producing documentaries about artists and other creative types, and in 2013 raised $103 million (over 97 million euros) in a funding round.
The students can enroll in courses they choose, and learn at their own pace. The service is also adapted to mobile devices, so students can travel and continue with the lessons on their mobile phone or tablet. In fact, there are applications for iOS, Android (supporting Chromecast) and Windows 8, where you can download courses or watch videos online.
On April 9th LinkedIn announced that it had paid $1.5 billion for Lynda, a record transaction for a continuing education company. Some possible reasons for such an acquisition may be to take advantage of the synergies of job searching and job training, to approach the target audience of students about to finish their degrees, and to give people reasons to use the social network for more than just finding work.
Other stories of success
Lynda is not the only educational technology platform that makes good use of mobile devices. Others like Udemy and Duolingo also have a presence in the market — focused, in this case, on the teachers’ point of view.
Udemy, established in 2010, is notable for finding teachers beyond traditional circles. As its COO, Dennis Yang said in a March 2014 interview, “There are very good teachers outside of academia.” In fact, the revenues are shared with these teachers: if they bring their own students, they can keep 100% of the profits. More than 2 million users have already been attracted by this style of education, which can be done in a mobile way. “On the way to work, during free time, at any time,” Yang stated in the interview.
Duolingo, focused on language learning, wants to gain through this mobility as well. There are users who can create their own courses for newcomers. Interestingly, Duolinguo had not developed an application when it began operating in 2011, and now about 80% of the students receive lessons via mobile devices.
The list of web and mobile services continues. Coursera, leader in MOOC courses (online and free) also has applications for iOS and Android. And obviously, if Codecademy teaches you to program “Interactively and free of charge”, as they say, it couldn’t hurt to have it in the App Store.
What more can one ask for?