Are you weighing up where you want to do your online learning?
There’s a whole range of different e Learning platforms, and Lynda and Pluralsight are two great choices that are worth considering.
In this article I’ll do an in-depth comparison and review of them both, and point out the key differences between them so you can choose the right one for whatever and however you wish to learn.
These two online course platforms are remarkably similar in terms of course quality, price, and other factors. Lynda has a slightly more broad range of topics, while Pluralsight tends to excel most at technology related subjects.
In this article you’ll learn all about both of these online learning sites. Including how much each costs, what sort of time commitment is required, examples of courses that are offered, and more
from $10 per course
Pluralsight is a course platform with quite a large selection of different course topics to pick from. You can choose to study things such as coding or business, or more creative topics like graphic design.
Although the site as a whole does seem more focused toward technology-related topics overall. In total, there are over 6,000 different courses on Pluralsight to choose from.
You can view Pluralsight courses on your desktop, iPhone, Android, tablet, or even on your television. Which really provides a great level of flexibility when it comes to where and when you can learn.
Lynda is owned by LinkedIn and has been rebranded as LinkedIn Learning, although many people still refer to it as Lynda.
Lynda’s course library is more impressive in terms of sheer volume when compared to Pluralsight’s, with over 10,000 courses on a wide range of topics to choose from.
Lynda tends to be more focused on professionals who are currently employed, but are looking to devote time to continuing education and improving their skills.
Generally it takes a practical approach to learning and will provide you with specific skills, such as how to work with a particular software such as Excel.
One of the best parts of both platforms is that they each operate on a subscription model. That means you pay a single monthly fee in order to get unlimited access to their entire course library. So if you’re eager to learn, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
Both Lynda and Pluralsight offer a good balance between providing high-quality content while still being flexible. They aren’t quite as informal as platforms such as Udemy where anyone can sign up to become a course instructor and start selling courses.
But they also aren’t as rigid as more academic online learning platforms like Coursera or edX which tend to have courses with set start and end dates.
They’re the perfect mix for a busy professional who is just looking to continue honing their craft in their spare time.
You can try out Lynda for 30 days with a free trial. Anybody can take advantage of this, so I would definitely try them out for free before committing to a monthly subscription.
After your free trial, Lynda (aka LinkedIn Learning) costs $29.99 per month.
For that price, you have access to more than 10,000 expert-led courses that you can access either from your computer or mobile devices.
Even when you’re offline. You get access to project files to practice with, as well as quizzes that will help assess your progress on the learning material. After successfully completing a course, you also earn a certificate.
Pluralsight costs $35 per month, or $299 per year if you pay the full annual amount up front. Alternatively you can pay $449 per year for their Premium subscription.
A regular subscription will get you access to the entire course library, suggested learning paths or channels to follow, plus skill IQ and role IQ evaluations to determine your current levels of competency.
You also get exercise files, course learning checks (short, self-paced quizzes to test your retention of course material,) and course discussions where you can engage with your peers and instructors.
The Premium plan is required to unlock three additional features:
Lynda’s courses can be roughly broken down into the main categories of developer, business, design, web, photography, and marketing.
The most popular courses on the platform involve web development, software development, graphic design, photography, and web design.
Pluralsight has a much stronger focus on technology and IT related topics. However you’ll also find courses on business, construction, manufacturing, creative professionals, and even more soft skills. Overall it offers a bit less course variety than Lynda does.
Some Pluralsight courses may also require you to go through a skill evaluation before you can start studying more advanced topics.
Pluralsight also offers what it calls paths. Paths combine together specific courses and tools into one cohesive experience. They are aimed at teaching you everything that you need to know about a particular skill from start to finish.
They are specifically aimed at your knowledge level to help you build the right skills needed in the correct order. You also have the ability to engage one on one with an expert mentor if you need some extra help on a particular subject.
However, it’s worth noting that Lynda also offers similar learning paths.
For example, you can take the “become a 2D Digital Animator” path which contains 8 courses and 29 hours of videos in total.
Here are some examples of courses that are available on each platform.
Pluralsight and Lynda both use instructors who are vetted industry experts. For many courses, you have instructors who are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.
Neither of these sites are like Udemy where anyone can just sign up as an instructor and start teaching their own courses right away.
These platforms recruit instructors to work for them, and won’t take on anyone who isn’t qualified to teach on a particular subject.
This helps keep the quality of course content much higher than what you might see on some other online course platforms.
For example, Pluralsight has over 1,500 instructors (which they refer to as authors.) They’ve also teamed up with companies like Microsoft, Oracle, and Adobe for certain courses to bring you high quality content straight from companies themselves.
Lynda also works closely with different organizations and universities. So some courses on their platform are taught by experienced academics. All of their instructors go through an application process to verify their credentials.
Experts are picked based on their personal and professional accomplishments, education, and other factors.
Pluralsight also offers one on one mentoring to help support your education.
If you’re struggling with something, instead of searching in Gooogle for an answer, you can simply ask an expert and receive a solution in real-time.
Courses have mentors that are usually available any time of the day, and connecting with them is just one click away.
Neither Lynda or Pluralsite are accredited institutions. That means their course certificates don’t quite hold the same weight as a degree from a university or other academic institution.
While Pluralsight isn’t accredited, they do have quite a good reputation with many large companies, which is only continuing to grow. A university may not accept a certificate from a course you complete on Pluralsight as credit.
However, lots of your potential employers are likely to see the value of having completed a Pluralsight course. Particularly in the technology industry.
Certificates of completion from Lynda arguably have a bit less credibility on your resume or CV when compared to one from Pluralsight.
However, it’s still likely far superior to a certificate from a platform like Udemy where there are no restrictions on who can become an instructor.
To some extent, the skills that you gain from taking courses on either of these platforms can speak for themselves.
You may not necessarily have a degree from a prestigious university, but you might have much of the same knowledge and abilities that a graduate would have.
For example, during an interview for a programming position, your interviewer is more likely to present you with real code to work with. They’re looking at how you resolve the situation, without much regard for where you learned that knowledge in the first place.
But if you’ve completed a course on either platform, it’s still good to add your certificate to your resume or CV, as well as providing it to potential employers, colleagues, or clients.
As well as adding the details to your personal LinkedIn page. That way it will give a more accurate overview of your professional skills, interests, and education.
Pluralsight and Lynda fall somewhere in the middle in terms of time commitment, when being compared to other online course platforms you may also be evaluating.
Some online education websites have courses that can be completed in as little as 30 minutes. Others have courses that may take weeks or even months to finish.
Lynda and Pluralsight fall somewhere in between that. On either platform, the majority of courses will take you more than a couple of hours to complete. But they also won’t take weeks either.
The exception is if you’re following a teaching path comprised of multiple courses. These are more advanced and you should expect them to take about 20 to 40 hours to complete on average.
Lynda’s courses are aimed at both beginners as well as advanced students.
While Pluralsight tends to have more specialized and in-depth courses for those who are really serious about specific topics like programming.
So Pluralsight likely has longer and more dense course material overall.
Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages for both Pluralsight and Lynda.
Pluralsight has learning paths, which help lay out exactly what courses you should take and in which order to master a specific skill.
Pluralsight courses are presented by experts and the company has internal editing staff that reviews every course video before it goes public. That means video, audio, and overall content standards are held to a consistently higher standard than you can expect to find on some other course platforms.
Some course platforms are tailored more toward beginners. But Pluralsight offers a lot of intermediate and advanced courses. So whether you’re new to a topic or already experienced with it, you’ll likely get a lot more depth out of Pluralsight courses than those of some of their competitors.
Since Pluralsight operates on a subscription model, there’s no way to get individual courses for free. All of their course material is kept behind a paywall. This is unlike some other platforms like edX or Coursera that allow students to audit much of their course material for free.
Pluralsight still has some courses up that are several years old. For some courses this is less of an issue. But for courses dealing with software or other technology that is constantly being updated, it can be a real drawback.
There have been some reports online that suggest Pluralsight might not have the best customer service.
Many of Lynda’s courses take very hands-on approaches. They push you to actually apply what you learn to projects, instead of simply passively taking in course information. Their video tutorials are easy to follow.
Admit it. Some lectures just get a bit boring. Luckily you can speed it up to get through course material faster. Sometimes lecturers talk very slowly, to the point that it can be hard to stay focused. Speeding up the video a little bit can help with that.
Lynda has over 10,000 courses available, and their catalog is still growing! Not only that, but they also offer quite a large variety of subjects and topics as well. So there’s a good chance that there’s a course on Lynda for most things you want to learn.
Although Lynda has iOS and Android apps, their mobile options may lack a bit when compared to a desktop experience, according to some users. Video streaming is also reported to be a bit slow at times.
Lynda courses don’t have a forum for students. So there isn’t much opportunity to discuss course material and engage with other students.
If you want to learn some skills on a more casual basis and with lower costs, then you might find that Udemy suits you better.
-> You can read about how Udemy compares to Pluralsight here
-> And how Udemy compares to Lynda here
If you’re interested in another subscription-based course platform like Lynda and Pluralsight, you might want to check out Skillshare.
It works out to be a lot cheaper than either Lynda or Pluralsight. About half the monthly cost. Although the content may not be quite as high quality or thorough.
-> Read my in-depth comparison between Lynda and Skillshare here
If you’re looking for super in-depth and academic courses, I would try Coursera or edX. Both allow you to audit most or all of their courses for free, and you only need to pay if you want to receive a completion certificate.
-> Read my in-depth comparison between Lynda and Coursera here
-> Or my comparison of Coursera vs edX here
If you want a broader overview of all the top e learning sites, what features to look out for and how they all differ then read my Complete Guide To Online Learning Platforms.
Both Lynda and Pluralsight are great online course platforms that use a subscription model to give you unlimited access to their full library of courses for a single monthly or annual fee.
They’re about the middle of the pack when it comes to cost, time required, and other factors.
But they’re closer to the high end when it comes to course and video quality, more so Pluralsight in particular.
Lynda is a great way to learn about a wide range of different topics. It offers lots of flexibility. You can pick and choose courses however you want, and you have the freedom to watch them on mobile devices, even without internet access.
However it requires the discipline to actually sit down and work through the content.
Pluralsight is a better choice if you’re looking to learn about a technology-related topic like programming or web development. It also offers self-assessment tests to see exactly where your knowledge and skills are from a technical standpoint before you pick a course to get started with.
Both Pluralsight and Lynda are great learning platforms that have large libraries of courses to choose from.
You can take advantage of a free trial on either one, so there’s nothing really to lose except some time to check them both out.
Jacob has a background in finance and engineering. Outside of his day job, he is a lifelong learner, who enjoys reading, taking online courses, and writing about what he's learned.
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