They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but try telling that to lynda.com. The 20-year-old online learning company just secured $186 million in private investments for their next round of site revamps, including a new catalog of technical offerings and business skills training courses.
Think of it as an investor-sanctioned shopping spree: lynda.com announced last month that, thanks to private equity firm TPG, the site would begin reaching out to other tech companies poised for acquisition. Three companies are already rumored to be in lynda.com’s crosshairs, with letters of intent pending.
Broadening the Scope
No one would ever fault the ed-Tech field for being unenthusiastic, which historic startup investment deals happening on the daily in a fairly young field. But a company that was founded in 1995 (and profitable by 1997)? It’s an anomaly among competitor sites. But the latest round of funding for lynda.com proves age ain’t nothin’ but a number—and in a field that promotes adult education, that message has never been stronger.
While lynda.com currently offers a catalog of 5,700 courses and over 255,000 classes in four different languages, the Lynda of the future will be less “Learning French 101” and more “Tech Skills 2.0.” A hefty focus on workplace training means the site hopes to become a destination for those looking to increase employability, as well as organizations who want their employees to experience interactive, media-friendly training.
To those with their fingers on ed-Tech trends and overall pulse, it’s hardly surprising news. The natural evolution of the workplace from a set location to a virtual space has effectively catalyzed the need for highly-accessible, highly-adaptive training for employees. At the same time, those employees are leaning more heavily upon technical skills, which may or may not be a strong point. Add that to the skyrocketing price of a traditional four-year degree (Some 30K+, according to the National Center for Education Statistics) and employees are looking to do more with less.
The Natural eLearning Shift
It’s no wonder more and more are being straight into the inclusive arms of eLearning. Whether as a supplement to an existing degree or a method of expanding tech skills, employees are simply responding to the increased demands organizations ask of them.
As lynda.com responds to the rising demand of an alternative method for learning, the entire field gets a major boost from this second successful round of fundraising. Proving that the need is great, the interest is high, and the investors are willing can be enough for startups, small businesses, and newcomers alike to gain some confidence and traction in their own quests for relevancy.
While you might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, that old dog might be primed to teach the eLearning industry a thing or two. And, with $186 million in support for one of the mothers of modern online learning, it’s probably a great time to start listening.