hands-on digital skills

Hands-on digital skills. Image by ISG Interactive Content Team CC-BY

This blog is another about some more institutionally provided technologies. #openblog19

At University of Edinburgh we know that our people are our strength. This is a place of knowledge creation, and a place of knowledge sharing. It is a place in which we invest in the digital skills of our staff and students. It is true in any job that there is a need for learning and development and when you work in the digital sector the need is even more urgent in a rapidly changing environment.

As Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services I am lucky to have responsibility not only for the institutionally provided learning technology, but also the institutionally provided digital skills training provision.  You know me, I like to have a strategy or framework for such things.

Our strategic investment in Lynda.com  has been a huge success. The digital skills training team are excellent and they have invested the kind of time and effort in managing this service for the institution which has brought us return in terms of take-up and impact  which puts us at the forefront of the  UK HE sector.

All staff and student at University of Edinburgh are offered an account with Lynda.com. We’ve seen a steady increase over 3 years  to the current 15,000 users.

I am particularly pleased that uptake is highest in Information Services Group (87%), and is consistent across all three Colleges (23-28%). The service is most popular amongst taught postgraduate students with 47% having a Lynda.com account. Between 1,200 and 1,800 hours of video is viewed every month. ,

The vast majority of courses viewed are on digital skills topics. Programming courses are consistently the most popular (Programming Fundamentals, HTML, Python) but data skills courses have recently gained popularity.

Lynda.com has been heavily and proactively promoted by ISG.  We appointed a dedicated  Service Manager to get out and about around the university to encourage engagement.  We have reached out to users across the campuses and to our 3,000 distance learning students.  We use Lynda.com to to develop staff and student skills, to supplement curricular teaching and to increase operational efficiencies for the other training providers on campus.

Developing student skills

  • Providing extra-curricular learning to enhance the student experience, aligned to frameworks such as the Digital Skills Framework or the Researcher Development Framework.
  • Developing employability skills, both digital and business, through the Careers Service.
  • Increasing visibility of achievements by downloading course completion certificates or posting them to LinkedIn profiles.

Developing staff skills

  • Developing the digital skills and capabilities of our workforce, enabling staff to play an active role in digital transformation and keep up to date with new technology.
  • Helping managers to support staff development and reviews by signposting a broad range of Lynda.com courses for their staff through the Digital Skills Framework.
  • Encouraging career development by mapping courses to professional development frameworks.
  • Enhancing curricular teaching by supporting digital classroom technologies.

Use by training providers

  • Enabling training providers to offer resources across a wider subject range and provide an alternative to classroom-based delivery. Examples include the Effective Digital Communication (Web Publishing) course which was re-designed from a face-to-face to online course using Lynda.com materials; HR’s business skills toolkits (launched in summer 2018) and ISG’s digital skills toolkits (to launch in April 2019) both of which signpost Lynda.com resources.
  • Including links to Lynda.com resources in pre- and post- course emails on Digital Skills Programme courses for preparation and further skills development.
  • Providing immediate help to those on waiting lists
  • Assisting in software and systems rollouts including Office 365, Windows 10 and lecture recording.
  • Reducing spend on external training courses by offering a just-in-time online alternative.

Lynda.com will be upgraded to LinkedIn Learning in summer 2019 and will bring benefits of a more personalised learning experience, more courses, the facility to include University of Edinburgh resources, the power of worldwide member profiles for trend and market analysis, and improved learning analytics. As an organisation we can add our own learning content to LinkedIn such as guides, videos and links to University web pages and online resources for viewing by an internal audience. There is a new reporting dashboard providing more learning analytics and data on learner behaviour, including aggregated trend data from across the globe.

There’s no doubt that the resource has been a good investment in the staff and student experience at  University of Edinburgh.

“This type of resource is critical in underpinning a number of projects, both Digital Skills and Capabilities and Digital Scholarship.”

“I wanted to let you know how helpful I have found Lynda.com. I have not used SPSS for 20 years! So going back to do statistics has been daunting. The  SPSS videos have been brilliant and helped enormously with my thesis.”

“This year, in Residence Life as part of my annual training program, I made all 220 of our Resident Assistants sign up to Lynda and throughout the course of the year have assigned them all courses to complete; time management and developing your professional image as well as encouraging Line Managers to set annual review objectives relating to courses which has all been incredibly positive.”

You can keep up to date with our ‘Learning with Lynda.com at The University of Edinburgh’ e-newsletters. Six editions have been published, with over 5,000 views to date and our dedicated Lynda.com web pages at www.ed.ac.uk/is/lynda or follow @LyndaUoE on Twitter

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