Continuing education is a vital component of process quality and efficiency; as well as employee professional development and satisfaction. Eking out time from busy schedules for workshops and training sessions is a challenge. Kraus-Anderson recently rolled out a new online offering, Linked In Learning (LIL) in an effort to deliver training on demand to its employees.
Formerly known as Lynda.com, LIL has already gained widespread following for its high-caliber online trainings on a vast spectrum of technical and leadership skills. LIL offers some 11,000 classes, with about 30 new classes added each week. KA employees can now access LIL via their Citrix desktop or from iPads and smartphone apps, enabling them to listen to a class while traveling, working out or doing just about anything. There is also an option to download a class for review when wireless access is not available, such as on a flight. Below, some KAers share their takeaways from test driving LIL.
Q: How is the new platform different from its predecessor?
MIKE SMOCZYK, Director of Professional Development, Kraus-Anderson Companies: The classes are consistent with Lynda.com content, but the layout looks much more like LinkedIn. LinkedIn Learning is extremely user friendly, making it easy for users to intuitively navigate the system.
PAUL NOLL, Assistant Project Manager: Coming from the U of M (where each student had a Lynda.com subscription), we utilized Lynda.com for on-line trainings as supplements to MANY of our courses. Because LIL has acquired Lynda, the previously uploaded trainings as well as the current trainings (& future trainings) of LIL conform to the same high standards of content and production quality. They are very similar.
Q: Is this designed for individuals, or groups/departments to learn together?
MIKE SMOCZYK: Either or both! Individuals can take classes they feel are beneficial to them and groups would ideally watch the same course and then reinforce and apply the concepts during follow-up group discussions.
Q: What do you like about LIL?
- Easy to find topics of interest
- They recommend topics that you might be interested in
- You are able to bookmark classes that you are interested in but want don’t have the time to watch or listen to and can easily go back at a later date and time
- The APP and the ability to listen in my car
- You don’t feel overwhelmed by seeing that the topic you have is a hour (they break them down into chapters or manageable pieces that if you can’t finish you can easily pick up where you left off
- Video and instructors are really good
- I love that they give you filters on user level, time fame, etc.
- I like the fact that as a department as a group we can come up with topics/content we want to watch and then discuss as a group what we got from the video and important points
ROB WURZL, General Superintendent: I like that information can be shared throughout the entire company without a lot of input to get it out there. The recommendations from LIL are very useful. I am looking forward to creating our own content to share. I hope to be getting a few short videos made to share with all of the field staff in the next couple of months.
- Clear & concise content.
- Knowledgeable & industry-leader instructors.
- Top-notch production and video quality.
- East-to-follow training outlines – ability to skip around.
- RELEVANT and RECOMMENDED content based off of your Linked-In “skills”.
- The APP!
Q: What are some of the technical topics you have learned more about through LIL?
PAUL NOLL: Microsoft Project, AutoCAD, REVIT, Sketch-Up, Photoshop, Illustrator, 3DSMax, & the Microsoft Office Suite.
ROB WURZL: PlanGrid, Bluebeam, BIM, Revit, new technology like Virtual Reality and how it can be useful to us as a tool.
ROB WURZL: Problem solving, how to be a better manager.
- Rewarding employees
- Managing stress
- Building resilience
- I am still new to it and have a lot of content that I have book marked and will be watching in the future
PAUL NOLL: Public Speaking, Leadership Training, Interpersonal Communication, & Organization.
Q: In our time-crunched world, what are some of the components of LIL that you’ve found helpful?
WURZL: The App; I like how the videos are a snapshot of a much larger discussion by the instructor. Typically once I start watching the 3-5 minute video of the topic, I am interested in starting to watch more of that video and I find the content to be useful.
- The ability to be able to listen to this in my car
- Easy to search for and get right to your topic of interest
- When you have a little bit of time there may a couple 5 minute segments you can watch
- The iPad/iPhone APP! It’s the first thing I downloaded. Over lunch, before bed, or on the elliptical – just pop open the app and leave off right where you left off.
- The outlines allow you to jump past section that you already know about or just aren’t interested in.
- “Search & filter” and “Recommendations by Skills” – Quickly search a topic and find hundreds of trainings relevant to it or just let LIL recommend trainings that it…knows…you will be interested in (based off of your history and current skills).
GARY ZIFKO, Senior Project Manager: Perfect way to make the commute a little more productive and learn something while sitting in traffic.