Learn From an Expert: Jason Manibog and Word 2016

by Brad - Aug 22, 2016


Last month, we released our new Word 2016 course, the second in our line of Office 2016 training. I’ve been using Word 2016 for years, and it seems like each version of Word just gets better than the last one, adding more and more features to help the user work more efficiently.
I recently caught up with our resident expert, Jason Manibog, to ask him a few questions about this course.

  1. What advice would you give to a user new to Word? Know that this program is there to help you build documents of all types: letters, simple flyers, booklets, term papers, lists, basically anything you can write on paper. As to the program, learn the ribbon and the Backstage View as what you need to do will usually be found in one of those two places. And, don’t worry about typing perfect documents right away. Get your thoughts typed up and then use the tools Word has (like spelling and grammar check and the thesaurus, to name a couple) to help you proofread and edit your documents.
  2. What type of student did you have in mind when you were creating this course? Actually I had two types: First, students looking to pass the Word 2016 Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification test (exam 77-725). This course has a session for each exam domain, so one can basically follow the course and the test objectives at the same time. Secondly, people may just want to acquire job-ready skills needed for Microsoft Word. This course has plenty of practical situations to help one make that goal.
  3. If a student has very little experience using Word, how would you recommend they start using our training? At the beginning (ha ha). Seriously, though, spend time in the “Tour of Office” and “Tour of Word” sections, especially the Tour of Office section. This will help lay a foundation on how to navigate through the program. And, don’t be afraid to try a couple of things on your own. You can usually click the Undo button if needed.
  4. What are some of the new features in Word 2016? Three in particular stand out to me. First, the Tell Me feature, which allows one to ask a question on how to do something, like “add borders to text” and then get the actual task presented to do. Secondly, a document can be saved to a OneDrive site and then multiple users can collaborate, real-time, on a document. Thirdly, research features have been enhanced through the Smart Lookup feature, which allows one to search for a term and get definitions, explanations, website links on the term, and many other types of information on the term.
  5. What was your favorite thing about filming this course? That the filming went well and for me, it was a relatively easy shoot given I’ve been working with Word since, well, before the turn of the millennium :)


MTA 98-375: HTML5 Application Development Course

by Jason - Aug 19, 2016


Hello, everyone! Hope your summer is going well. This week, we are back in “filming” mode and the course we are filming is a course called HTML5 Application Development, which covers the material in the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) 98-375 exam.

While the focus of this course is the exam material, it also serves as an excellent introductory HTML5 course. HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language, is the markup language used to create webpages, like the one you are reading now. And this course covers version 5 of HTML, hence the HTML5 in the course title. We start with the very basics of HTML and then move on to some advanced HTML concepts. By the way, HTML5 makes it much, much easier to embed a video or audio clip inside of a webpage when compared to previous versions of HTML. That is just one of the many HTML5 features covered in this course.

Now, you may have noticed the words “Application Development” in the course title. Alas, HTML5 is not the only piece of HTML5 application development. To format and shape text on a page (by shape I mean boxes, rows, and columns when needed), we use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). An entire session of this course is dedicated to CSS version 3, or CSS3 for short. CSS3 is great for a concept called Responsive Web Design, which is the act of designing a webpage to where it will display well on something as large as a full screen, or, when needed, automatically move items around to display well on a 4-inch mobile device screen, all without having to build separate webpages for each.

Webpages are more interactive now than ever. HTML5 by itself is not interactive (well, if you count pressing a play button and having a video play, OK, a little interactive). Seriously, though, HTML5 is static in nature. To make webpages more interactive, we need to use a scripting language called JavaScript. JavaScript takes items on webpages and gives us a chance to make them interactive. And, this course covers introductory JavaScript concepts for both making webpages interactive on a full screen and on a mobile device.

Lastly, this course covers the introductory points on what it takes to put together, test, and debug a web application which has been built using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. At this point, you indeed are talking about a web application, not just a single webpage.

All of the material in this course, which includes several hours of video training, a pre-assessment and post-assessment test for each area of the course, a glossary, and a project workbook full of exercises to help you practice these concepts, serves two main purposes: to get you ready to pass the MTA 98-375 exam and gain a certification, and to get you job-ready skills needed for an introductory HTML5 Application Development position.

I will leave you with this thought: If you had any inclination of maybe learning about HTML application development as a whole, now is the time to learn! There will always be a demand for people who can build these applications. And, having first learned HTML in the (let’s just say a previous decade), HTML has come a long way. We really have a “less is more” situation now, meaning with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, we can write less code than before yet produce more quality content for webpages. Now I call that a win-win.



The New Cisco ICND Series: Some More Details

by Jason - Aug 16, 2016


Hello, everyone! So many releases have happened recently I’ve taken a break from this blog space. But, I’m back and here to tell you some more details about the new Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND) exams, specifically exams 100-105 and 200-105. Both courses are slated for a fall release and will each include several hours of video training, pre-assessment tests, and post-assessment tests — all with the purpose of getting you ready to pass these two exams.

In these two courses, we are happy to inform you we are working with Boson’s NetSim, a top-quality simulator tool for Cisco exams and we will be featuring this product in many of the demonstrations in the course videos.

Let’s start with the ICND part one exam, exam 100-105. Many have wondered about the differences between this exam and its predecessor, exam 100-101. I have examined both objective sheets, studied this carefully, and here is a general view of what has changed from the old ICND part 1 exam to the new one (in no particular order):

  • RIPv2 for IPv4 (configure, verify, and troubleshoot). This is the only dynamic routing protocol featured prominently on the ICND1 exam.
  • OSPF (speaking of routing protocols) has been moved to the ICND2 exam.
  • Be able to configure and verify host routes and floating static routes.
  • LAN Design and Architecture are featured, with star, mesh, and hybrid topologies being the prominent topologies mentioned.
  • Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) is now covered (in addition to Cisco Discovery Protocol).
  • Device monitoring using syslog is now on the ICND1 exam instead of the ICND2 exam.
  • Device management is now on the ICND1 exam instead of the ICND2 exam.
  • Frame Relay is gone from this series.

Overall, the objective list for this exam is slightly larger than that of the 100-101 exam. Passing this exam will get you a Cisco Certified Entry Level Network Technician (CCENT) certification, get you halfway to the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing and Switching certification, and satisfy the prerequisite for several other Cisco exams.

Now, on to the new ICND part two (200-105) exam, which replaces the 200-101 exam. Here are the general differences from the old to the new ICND part two exam:

  • Frame Relay is gone (just in case you didn’t hear me say it the first time).
  • Most management topics have been moved to the ICND1 exam.
  • Gateway Load Balancing Protocol (GLBP) and Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) are gone.
  • Layer 3 EtherChannel – Routed Interface needs to be known in order to handle other exam topics.
  • Be able to configure Multilink Point-to-Point Protocol (MLPPP).
  • Be able to configure, verify, and troubleshoot Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) tunnels.
  • Be able to describe Dynamic Multipoint Virtual Private Networks (DMVPN).
  • Be able to configure and verify single-home branch connectivity using External Border Gateway Protocol (eBGP) IPv4. This is the only BGP objective on the exam.
  • Understand cloud services including virtualized services and the basics of a virtual network infrastructure.
  • Know Quality of Service (QoS) concepts, including managing congestion of traffic and prioritization of traffic.
  • Know the difference between control planes and data planes.

All of these exam topics will be covered in our Cisco ICND courses. The purpose of this blog is simple: to draw out the differences in the two exams for the old ICND series and this new series. Good luck!



Key Contributor Award Winners – all about Teamwork and Support!

by Jeff - Aug 12, 2016


Last week Better Learning Systems announced the recipients of our 2016 2nd quarter Key Contributor Awards. One of the key benefits of this announcement is I use it as an opportunity to remind our team members of how important a role our core values, Ease, Value, & Trust, have in this accomplishment.

You see this award truly rolls up to making sure those individuals exemplify our core values, and the one thing that stays constant is they can’t do it alone; it takes a team. Our past recipients, Kim Johnson, Wyett Ihler, and Jason Manibog are big team players and truly support any team member they can.

Speaking of support we also had a theme this past year and it has been SUPPORT. There is a ton of that going on within our companies – it truly is part of our culture. Our production teams, mobile workforce, sales/client services, Veteran Services team, technical support teams, and administrative support working together is what is helping drive our success.

One team that really jumped out year-to-date was our Know Your Talents team. The behavioral consulting arm of the company is not only living our core values and supporting one another, they have also increased revenues 200% vs. same period last year.

That is why it gives me great pleasure to announce the Better Learning Systems Key Contributor Award winners for the 2nd quarter are Melanie Benitez and Sarah Blik!

Melanie Benitez and Sarah Blik

Sarah has had such a great year with her new sales and growth of existing customers. The largest to date for Sarah has been the Sundt/DPR joint ventures that she has sold.  AND she continues to gain referrals across the country due to her success and relationships built with all the Executive Directors of the projects.  Sarah has also launched us into the Title and Escrow industry, setting up a paid speaking engagement as  general speaker to 200 plus executives.  This is now an industry that we are beginning to circulate in which there are not many competitors.  Customers always have and do love Sarah. For fun, if you know her ask her why people call her ‘Gnat’!

As for Melanie, she has almost 5 times the amount of workshops on her plate, which includes coordinating, printing, and follow up exercises after each and every workshop.  She creates a ‘turn-key’ box of all ProScans, workbooks, badges, handouts, and framed certificates for each workshop and her contributions make everyone’s (all facilitators) jobs so much easier.  Melanie has developed such tremendous relationships with all clients from a customer service standpoint.  As we have had two large national accounts launch this year with ‘unlimited platinums,’ (Creative Testing Solutions, in all Blood Systems facilities, and HealthPlanOne) it requires a ton of coordination from the beginning of implementation and integration throughout the entire company, and Melanie has been in the forefront making this happen.  Her Tutor Tuesdays now compete with Tristan’s at LearnKey in that she is gaining more and more attendance each week.

Both Sarah & Melanie make it Easy for our customers to work with them, as well as always bring Value to the equation, and we know there is no better way to build relationships unless there is a lot of Trust. That’s our core values at work.

Please join me in congratulating both of them for their great accomplishments this past year.

 

 

Jeff



Excel 2016 Released

by Brad - Jul 28, 2016


Today, we are excited to announce the release of our Excel 2016 course. If you are looking to start a career in business or finance, having a working knowledge of Microsoft’s Excel 2016 is a must. Our new and exciting course taught by LearnKey’s Senior Instructor, Jason Manibog, will teach you how to reveal insights hidden in your data with the help of new features such as the Tell Me feature, chart options, and more! This course will also help you study and prepare to take the Microsoft’s Excel 77-727 Certification exam.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed. For more information and to learn about additional LearnKey products visit our website.



Word 2016 Released

by Brad - Jul 22, 2016


We are excited to announce the release of our Word 2016 course. If you are working toward becoming career-ready you must have a working knowledge of Word 2016. LearnKey expert Jason Manibog will teach the basic concepts of Microsoft Word and build on those ideas to help you master this program. This course will teach you how to create and manage documents, and format text, paragraphs, and sections. This course will also help you study and prepare to take the Microsoft Word 77-725 Certification exam.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed. For more information and to learn about additional LearnKey products visit our website.



IC3 Spark Released

by Brad - Jul 21, 2016


Today we are excited to announce the release of our IC3 Spark course. LearnKey’s IC3 Spark course is focused on teaching younger students the basic foundational knowledge covered in LearnKey’s IC3 GS5 training. Join LearnKey expert Wyett Ihler for over 2 hours of online video training and project-based activities. Students will learn a broad range of computing knowledge and skills including: software, hardware, operating systems, key applications, and living online.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed. For more information and to learn about additional LearnKey products visit our website.



Certiport CERTIFIED Conference was fun!

by Jeff - Jul 01, 2016


This past week, June 28th – June 30th, I had the great opportunity to attend the Certiport CERTIFIED conference in Orlando, Florida. It gave me the opportunity to learn more about how we can help Career Technology Education (CTE) Teachers teaching Microsoft MOS, Adobe, IC3, MTA, Autodesk and many more in-demand courses that map to Certiport’s industry certifications.

They had excellent breakout sessions where teachers shared best practice sessions on topics that included: Creating new certification opportunities in college and communities; Product deep dives for: Adobe, IC3, and Autodesk; Celebrating student success in the classroom; Preparing to implement MOS 2016 certification in the classroom; and, one of my favorites, Integrating Certification Learning Materials and Practice tests into your lesson plans.

The keynote speakers were also amazing. Rich Lehrer’s story about being a full time 8th grade science teacher and becoming the Coordinator of the Enable Educators Exchange through guiding a project that built a 3D printed prosthetic hand for a recipient, in this case his son, through a project one of his 8th grade classes accomplished was wonderful. Manual Scott, an original freedom writer, whose story is told in the Hollywood movie Freedom Writers, had an incredible and unique message, one that has inspired, educated and empowered almost a million people, helping them make the most of their lives.

The message is clear: teachers really have a profound effect on students, and when these students achieve industry certifications it builds tremendous confidence along with great skills that they can take forward in their college and career readiness efforts. We are so proud of our new partnership with GMetrix and Certiport, as it gives us the opportunity to better serve both teachers and students through learning, practice testing, and certifying resources.

It was also great to see our good friends and partners Thor Christianson & Quaid Atkinson from GMetrix along with Denise Spence (LearnKey’s Power Point 2013 Author). A teacher conference in Florida could not be complete without a picture of LearnKey’s Representative Scott Walker sharing our courseware that is now on the GMetrix Learning Platform and distributed through Certiport.

Up next, we will be attending the Certiport Global Partner Summit 2016 back in Orlando Florida!



The Good “R” Word in IT: Resourcefulness

by Jason - Jun 28, 2016


Most of my blogs lately have updated you on new courses we have in the works. So today, I figured I would change things up and start this blog with a story: Nearly 20 years ago, when I was still in my rookie year in my Information Technology career, I was sent on a business trip far, far away from my home base (well, not that far, but a plane and a time zone change was involved so, far enough).

I was there to do some software installations and software support, as was my role in this company. When I arrived, I was handed my to-do list for the day. The first half of the list looked fine. The second half of the list was all Windows Server tasks. One problem: I barely knew Windows Server existed much less have the ability to actually do anything with it. And being several hundred miles from home, I couldn’t just say “not my thing” and walk away. And they did not have an IT person on staff.

So what was I to do? Back then, I couldn’t just whip out my smartphone or tablet and start looking for how-tos or solutions online. And I knew that making a wrong move on Windows Server could take down the server. So I did not want to make any mistakes there.

That very day was the day I discovered a very important word in the IT business: Resourcefulness! I immediately thought “what resources do I HAVE”, not “what do I not have”. My resource: the lead network and server administrator back at the home office. I called him up, explained the situation, and after he laughed about sending a rookie to do a non-rookie’s job, he spent, off and on, two hours on the phone with me, walking me through, step-by-step, what to watch for and what to do. As a result, I got through almost every item on that list that day before I had to catch my plane home.

Continuing this, over my first year at this company, I made it a point to never say “I can’t do this.” I always tried to be as resourceful as I could be to tackle user problems and new challenges. This got me a new position and a substantial raise just one year into the job.

Now, what I have shared with you is just one of many examples where I have had to stop, think about how I could be resourceful when trying to solve a problem, and then use whatever resources I have. 18 years ago, it was a phone. Now, it’s a smartphone or tablet and a lot of searching and testing (and, yes, the occasional human contact, too).

No matter how new or not-so-new you are as an IT professional, every situation where you don’t know the solution right away gives you two choices: To be resourceful, or not to be resourceful. Are you the one who is willing to find a solution (and of course, verify before implementing it if you can), or, the one who says “no can do” or worse, you try something and make the problem worse?

There is no reason to not be resourceful nowadays. You have search engines, tutorials on YouTube, LearnKey courses, white papers, forums, and a whole host of other avenues to use. And, one of the best ways to be resourceful is to befriend those who are experienced in your field of work. Figure out who is willing to share knowledge and make those people your best “work” friends.

If there is one thing I can say from experience and observation in my almost-20 years of being in the IT industry, it’s this: Those who demonstrate resourcefulness move up the ladder from position to position and salary scale to salary scale. Those who aren’t either stay where they are, or they find themselves looking elsewhere for work.

So, no matter where you are in your IT career, remember the “R” word: Resourcefulness!



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Making the experience fun producing IC3 Spark Certification Training!

by Jeff - Jun 16, 2016


Filming Spark

Who says you can’t have fun producing certification courses! At LearnKey we take great pride ensuring our courses map to objectives, cover what is in the certification exam, and that our students gain the knowledge they need to succeed. Producing and publishing content is taken very seriously as our goal is to provide our students with the ultimate learning experience.

That said, our learning and development team was thrilled to start producing this week (June 13th 2016) the IC3 Spark training for middle school age children, which maps to the Certiport Exam. This course will provide them with a solid foundation in digital concepts that covers objectives spanning basic computing skills, key applications, and the use of the Internet. Our partner Certiport announced the release of this exam last year and we are excited to be producing this in video, along with workbooks, projects, and assessments so teachers have all the resources they need.

Best of all our production team can really leverage their creative skills so this younger student demographic finds the course easy to understand, engaging, and helps them improve their computer skills! This program will be offered exclusively through our Certiport & GMetrix partnership making it the best of the best when it comes to training, access to GMetrix practice tests, and certification. Be on the lookout for this program to be released in late July, just in time for the 2016 fall school year!



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