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.

Comments Off on MTA 98-375: HTML5 Application Development Course Filed under: Insights, New/Upcoming Releases Tags: , , , , ,

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!

Comments Off on The New Cisco ICND Series: Some More Details Filed under: Insights, New/Upcoming Releases Tags: , , ,

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!

Comments Off on The Good “R” Word in IT: Resourcefulness Filed under: Insights, Just For Fun Tags: , , , , ,

Updated Course Release Schedule: A Preview of the Second Half of 2016

by Jason - Jun 08, 2016

One year ago, I arrived at LearnKey as the new, in-house Senior Instructor. And over the past year, I’ve filled this space with many blogs about current and upcoming courses. You may wonder, “How do you all figure out which courses to build?” Or, you may not be wondering that at all. But, one of my duties as Senior Instructor is to take in many different factors, such as industry trends, technologies in hot demand, client needs, and other factors typical to a company attempting to produce world-class certification courses and other types of courses, such as the character-building soft skills courses we released last week.

And with any schedule, sometimes things happen which cause a little shifting around of things schedule-wise. This is kind of like a chef thinking a recipe is great and then realizing a few tweaks need to be made here and there (not that I would really know much about that given my limited cooking repertoire). But in the computer training business, the only real constant schedule-wise is the frequent adjustments of the schedule. In our case, that means the course release schedule.

So what are the specifics in this schedule adjustment announcement, you ask? Well, we had one Cisco course in the works, Cisco Implementing Cisco Network Security (IINS) for exam 210-260, but with Cisco’s announcement of a new version of their Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND) exams, that number of courses jumped from one Cisco course to three Cisco courses.

This combined with a few other changes in industry trends and certifications, along with our quest to always put out courses to give you the job-ready skills needed to succeed in this ever-changing technology landscape, has caused the following adjustments in the course release schedule. Here is what the rest of 2016 looks like, broken down by quarter:

Summer 2016:

  • Excel 2016
  • Word 2016
  • PowerPoint 2016
  • IC3 Spark – You will hear plenty about this course in the coming weeks
  • Cisco ICND Part 1 (Version 3) for exam 100-105.

Fall 2016:

  • Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals (for exam 98-375)
  • MTA Cloud Fundamentals (for exam 98-369)
  • Cisco IINS (as detailed above)
  • Cisco ICND Part 2 (Version 3) for exam 200-105
  • Adobe Certified Associate Test Prep series for the Creative Cloud 2015 versions of Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and InDesign

Winter 2016:

  • Outlook 2016
  • Access 2016

Now, you may wonder “Where did the big new programming track go?” The programming track will be the big series we roll out early in 2017. Microsoft, as a matter of fact, is revamping their programming certification track. As they complete that process, we will pick that up and bring you a fun, interactive, and world-class programming track where you will learn by doing.

You can always stay updated on the latest detailed course release schedule here:

Comments Off on Updated Course Release Schedule: A Preview of the Second Half of 2016 Filed under: New/Upcoming Releases Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cisco News Alert: Exam Changes Coming!

by Jason - May 18, 2016

Here’s a story for you all: While trying to hustle out of the house yesterday to get to work and continue filming our upcoming PowerPoint 2016 course, I got an email message from a coworker asking me “are we up to speed on the upcoming CCENT and CCNA changes?” My first reaction was “Am I…what? What changes?”

Understand that, as the LearnKey Senior Instructor, one of my duties is to scan the Microsoft, CompTIA, and Cisco websites for exam changes (and I do this every week to 10 days). In fact, I was just on the Cisco website last week. I must have been in between scans because, sure enough, I went to the Cisco website, and, there they were, announcements on new exams, and, more importantly, retirement dates for current Cisco exams.

So, after some further investigation, here is what we discovered: First, no Cisco certifications are changing. But, several exams are indeed being replaced. Here is the story, in a nutshell:

Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND) Part 1: The current exam is exam 100-101. The new exam is exam 100-105 (and yes, it is out there). The last day to test on exam 100-101 is August 20, 2016.

Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND) Part 2: The current exam is exam 200-101. The new exam is exam 200-105 (and yes, it is out there, too). The last day to test on exam 200-101 is September 24, 2016.

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing and Switching: The current exam is exam 200-120. The new exam is exam 200-125 (also out). The last day to test on exam 200-120 is August 20, 2016.

What has not changed: The ICND Part 1 exam will still get you the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification. And, the ICND Part 1 plus the ICND Part 2 exams will still get you the CCNA certification, with the option of just taking the 200-125 exam instead.

With this information, we at LearnKey have already gone to work in updating our Cisco curriculum. In fact, look for an updated ICND Part 1 exam course early this fall, followed by an updated Cisco Implementing Network Security (IINS) course for exam 210-260 (another new recent exam), followed by an updated ICND Part 2 exam course. I will have some details of these courses in a future blog entry. In the meantime, here is the link to the details on these changes:

For now, those of you studying for the CCENT or CCNA Routing and Switching exam have about three months to complete your certifications under the current exam versions.

Our Third Office 2016 Course: PowerPoint 2016

by Jason - May 11, 2016

Hello there! With all of the activity the past couple of weeks here, from the release of the A+ 220-902 series to the release of the Photoshop CC 2015 Test Prep course, I haven’t had the space to tell you about the third of our “major” three Office 2016 courses, PowerPoint 2016, due out this summer, along with Excel 2016 and Word 2016.

The PowerPoint 2016 course will have some features similar to the Excel 2016 and Word 2016 courses, in that the course will contain real-life examples businesses use (in fact, we are using the same fictitious business we used in the Excel 2016 and Word 2016 courses) and will help one prepare for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam for PowerPoint 2016.

This course will have several hours of video training, a large assortment of practice labs, a project workbook with practice exercises, and pre-assessment and post-assessment tests to help you learn valuable skills not just for the MOS exam, but to be job-ready for any position needing PowerPoint skills.

There is one subtle difference with this course when compared to Excel 2016 or Word 2016 though, and that is for this course, we will, for the most part, be building a single presentation from start to finish, covering the important elements of PowerPoint along the way. This is a slight contrast to the Excel and Word courses, where in those courses we used many different files to cover the concepts for those programs.

And before I leave you today, I would like to share with you my favorite new feature for PowerPoint 2016: The Screen Recording feature, found on the Insert tab. This feature allows you to, when on a PowerPoint slide, actually record video of what you do on the screen and embed that video into your presentation. This is a great way to show a coworker (or that relative who always calls you with a computer problem) how to do something, step-by-step through video. Quite often, a video will explain things in a better fashion than will a step-by-step manual. Which would explain one reason we do video-based training around here, wouldn’t it?

Comments Off on Our Third Office 2016 Course: PowerPoint 2016 Filed under: Insights, New/Upcoming Releases Tags: , , , , ,

Microsoft Word: Our Second Office 2016 Course

by Jason - Apr 13, 2016

Hello again, everyone! Last week, I told you all about the Office 2016 series of courses we are building here at LearnKey and, specifically, I mentioned what we have in store for the Excel 2016 course.

Today, I want to tell you a little about the second course in the Office 2016 series, Word 2016. Microsoft Word has been the standard-bearer for word processing programs for well over 20 years now. And Word 2016 has many of the same new features the other Office programs have, such as the Tell Me feature (to get fast how-to help on tasks), and the ability to collaborate real-time with others on documents.

For our Word 2016 course, we are going to take the same approach we took for Excel 2016 in that this course will help you get ready to pass the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) 2016 exam for Word and get you important, job-ready skills needed for using Microsoft Word in the workplace. This course has something for everyone from a true beginner in Microsoft Word all the way up to those who are experienced in Word and looking to round out their knowledge of Word. Similar to the Excel course, we will be looking at Word through the eyes of a company and how it uses Word on a day-to-day basis to get documents created and formatted, add tables and lists to documents, and, when necessary, add graphics to documents. Which type of company you ask? Well, you have to watch the course to find out.

Plus, for those of you looking to work with longer documents and who need a way to easily add a table of contents, footnotes, endnotes, and other reference points, this course will help you achieve those goals and be able to do these tasks in Word efficiently and effectively.

This course will have several hours of video training, pre-assessment tests, and post-assessment tests, with many of the post-assessment exercises geared toward simulations, which is what MOS exams traditionally have been based on rather than standard multiple-choice questions.

And, as is the case with many of our courses, a project workbook will be included to, again, help you get ready to pass the MOS exam and be job-ready for whatever skills are needed for Microsoft Word 2016.

Keep watching this blog for further updates on our Office 2016 series as well as other course series we are working on, such as CompTIA A+, Adobe CC 2015, and, coming later this year, programming!

Comments Off on Microsoft Word: Our Second Office 2016 Course Filed under: New/Upcoming Releases Tags: , , , , ,

What To Expect From Our Upcoming Office 2016 Courses

by Jason - Apr 07, 2016

Hi, everyone! I’m sitting here, taking a break from filming our first Office 2016 course, Excel 2016! We are actually closing in on finishing the filming stage of this course, and soon you will see the finished product in its entirety.

Being that this is the first course in our Office 2016 series, let me tell you a little more about this course and the other Office 2016 courses we will be producing. The courses (starting with this Excel course) have two goals: First, to get you ready for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exams. To accomplish this, we are presenting the material in the exact order of the objectives list on the MOS exams. And, the project workbook accompanying this course will also follow the order of the objectives on the exams.

Secondly, we know not everyone who takes a computer course is trying to get a certification. So, the examples we present are real-life, everyday examples which will help you become job-ready in any position needing Microsoft Office skills (Excel for this course, of course). Thus, the video-based training examples are snippets of what you can expect to see in a real-life situation for these Office programs.

Specifically, each Office 2016 course will have several hours of video-based training, pre-assessment and post-assessment tests (with a heavy focus on simulations, since that is what the MOS exams tend to have), and a project workbook which will help you get valuable practice in whatever Office 2016 program you are pursuing.

So, stay tuned as sooner than you know it, the Office 2016 courses will be in your classroom, or living room, or wherever you have a device to view these courses!

Comments Off on What To Expect From Our Upcoming Office 2016 Courses Filed under: Insights, New/Upcoming Releases Tags: , , , , ,

Test Taking Tips, Part 2: Decoding the Objectives

by Jason - Mar 31, 2016

Hello, everyone! Spring is here, baseball is about to start (which means excitement for some of us and a reason to nap for some of you, I am sure), and here at LearnKey we are finishing up our A+ 220-902 series of courses and ramping up our Office 2016 and Adobe CC 2015 Test Prep series. If you want details of those series, check out what I wrote two weeks ago on the subject.

Today, though, I want to continue a discussion I started months ago, that of test-taking tips. I outlined what I use as a comprehensive plan for preparing for and then taking certification tests. In many discussions with many students, one particular question comes up: How much attention to detail do we have to pay to each test objective?

That question actually has a two-part answer. First of all, you need to pay attention to every objective and every sub-objective. Anything on an objectives list is fair game for a test question, otherwise, the objective would not be listed. Avoid falling into the “I don’t use this so I don’t need to know this” trap. Remember, a certification test is testing your overall knowledge of a program, not what you are going to use the program for on the job. So, study and practice every objective, line-by-line.

The second part of the answer is this: Look for keywords in the objective descriptions and use that as your guide for how detailed you get with your study. To further explain this, here are some phrases we commonly see on test objectives:


Given a scenario…



Install and Configure…

Notice that I’ve only listed the first few words of each type of objective. The reason is simple: first words mean a lot! To break this down further, when you see an objective that starts with “Describe” or “Identify”, yes, you need to practice the concept being covered. But, put your emphasis on the terms and definitions being covered in that area because that is most likely what test questions are going to focus on.

For test objectives which start with “Implement” or “Install and Configure” or something similar, you will definitely need to spend more time on those and be able to do the tasks given. Many of those objective descriptions end up as complicated multiple-choice or simulation questions on tests. Just knowing terms and definitions will not be enough to answer those questions.

For the “Given a scenario” or similarly described objectives, know both terms and definitions and practical application. Those objectives tend to appear on tests in what I like to call real-life or situational questions. So to best study those objectives, get as much hands-on, real-life practice as you can. And when those test questions appear, put yourself in the situation and answer accordingly.

To give you a specific example, the MTA Mobility and Device Fundamentals exam (Exam 98-368) has an objective to describe Active Directory Federation Services. The MCSA Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 Services exam (Exam 70-412) has an objective to implement Active Directory Federation Services. See the difference? For the MTA tests, which are good starting points for a certification track, knowing concepts will often suffice. However, for the MCSA tests, which are considered a higher level of certification than the MTA certifications, you are expected to be able to implement these concepts, not just describe them.

So the next time you are preparing to get a certification, take some time to do some objective “decoding” on your own. Use the descriptors for each set of objectives as your guide to help you better prepare for your certification tests.

Comments Off on Test Taking Tips, Part 2: Decoding the Objectives Filed under: Insights Tags: , , ,

2016 Courses: Evaluation, Improvement, and Job Readiness

by Jason - Mar 16, 2016

A new year always means a fresh start here at LearnKey and a fresh evaluation of what we do, how we do it, and what we can do to make our courses the best possible courses they can be and, for you, our beloved customers, a rich and interactive learning experience to help you fulfill two main goals: get certified in your area of study and be job-ready in your area of study.

The vast majority of people looking to take online learning courses are looking either for a new career or to improve in their current careers. And, we have made job readiness a major part of what we do in our courses, how we do it, and which courses we do. Again, mastering an area of study is not just about obtaining a certification. It is also about obtaining job-ready skills.

With that comes some course and schedule adjustments. I am happy to tell you that to make these goals of getting as many people certified and job-ready in their careers of choice, we have the following four major tracks we are doing in 2016:

A+ 900 Series

Our A+ 900 series, THE certification for those looking to be certified and job-ready as computer technicians, is our hallmark series for this first quarter of 2016. We have already released the A+ 220-901 series of courses and soon, the 220-902 series of courses will start to roll out. These courses will really help those of you looking to get A+ certified and get you job-ready skills for a computer technician position.

Adobe CC 2015 Test Prep Series

Adobe has a new set of exams out for their CC 2015 series. These exams are different than older Adobe exams in that they are including scenario-based questions. We are constructing a series of test prep courses which, combined with our existing catalog of Adobe courses, will get you job-ready for positions such as photo editor, graphic designer, web designer, video editor, and animation artist. And, these test prep courses will get you ready to gain Adobe Certified Associate CC 2015 certifications.

Office 2016

Last week, I wrote about the new Tell Me feature in Office 2016. Our Office 2016 series will not only help you get your Microsoft Office Specialist certifications, but the series will also help you be job-ready for positions to where Microsoft Office programs need to be well-known. How are we doing this? Well, I can’t give away the details yet, but we will building these courses in a way to where you view these courses through the eyes of employees managing company data using Microsoft Office. A single “company” is going to be used for the entire Office suite of courses, giving you the continuity to see how these Office apps interact, and, further sharpen your job-ready skills.

The LearnKey Programming Track

Programming jobs have been in high demand since I have been in IT. And, with the advent of mobile devices and people needing information in many different ways, programming jobs will continue to be in high demand. So I am very excited to tell you that this fall we will be launching an entire suite of programming courses, from an Introduction to Programming course (something I wish I had when I was learning this stuff) to building web applications to higher-end programming courses. Again, the focus will be getting you (if you want to get into a programming career) the job-ready skills needed to be a successful programmer.

I mentioned earlier that there are schedule adjustments and with adjustments, some programs come aboard (like our new programming track) and some programs ride off into the sunset. And for us, the program we are suspending is our Project Management suite of courses, including PMP, CAPM, and Microsoft Project courses. We do so with the goals in mind I mentioned earlier, to help as wide of an audience as possible reach their certification and career goals. You may notice that the four series of courses I’ve outlined in this blog fit a common theme: they are all series of courses geared toward people looking for a career or looking to improve their current career situations. That is the audience that makes up the vast majority of people who take online learning courses, it is the vast majority of our audience, and these adjustments are going to help us help you fulfill your certification and job-ready goals for 2016.

Page 2 of 512345