Let’s go CADDing – New Course, New Series

by Jason - Apr 09, 2019


Hello and happy spring from your humble senior instructor. I am very happy to announce that we have released the first course in our new series of courses on Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD). The course? Autodesk Certified User for AutoCAD. For those of you who are wondering what exactly is AutoCAD, let me tell you: it is computer-aided design (CAD) software that architects, engineers, and construction professionals rely on to create precise 2D and 3D drawings (that’s the description from the official website, so let’s go with that). The course itself, which covers the material on the AutoCAD Certified User exam, takes one through building some lamp drawings for the inside of a house.

In fact, “house” is the major theme of this entire series. Our second course in the series, Autodesk Revit, centers around building a house. The major use of Revit is designing buildings, hence the house design. The third course in our series, Autodesk Inventor, focuses on mechanical drawings. Thus, in that course, you will see how mechanical parts of a house are built.

CADD as a whole is a growing need, with a 7% growth expected for demand in the job market in the next decade, according to the Department of Bureau and Labor Statistics. This series of courses will help increase your employability prospects for many areas of CADD. And, for the AutoCAD and Revit courses, we have brought in an expert: Gary Roberts, who has over 20 years’ experience teaching Autodesk and similar applications at the high school level. In fact, through his teaching, I can say with confidence that I can now draw the architecture piece for something besides a golf course. Just don’t ask me to draw a raindrop as I’ve been told that’s not my best drawing skill (get the Animate CC 2015 course and you can decide for yourself).


Microsoft Office 2019, Here We Come…

by Jason - Feb 12, 2019


A belated Happy New Year to you all. January is over, so I can say that. As I sit here writing this wondering when winter will ever end, I am happy to let you all know that we are in the midst of building and producing our Office 2019 suite of courses. As we are always trying to improve our product and your employability prospects, here is what you can expect to see as these courses start to roll out this spring:

Word 2019 – building a resume, cover letter, schedule, and small brochure.

Excel 2019 – building a small budget, a schedule list, and multiple summaries of data.

PowerPoint 2019 – building recruiting presentations for a small business and a school club.

Outlook 2019 – the whole personal information management package, from email, to calendar, to contacts, to tasks, to notes, and how all are used for continuity in the business world.

Access 2019 – a database to manage a small business.

Oh, small business, yes, I almost forgot: all of these courses are going to revolve around scenario-based learning (here are part I and part II of the scenario-based learning blogs for your reading pleasure) as we cover most of the material through two avenues: day-to-day usage at a fictitious athletic club business, and practical scenarios for students and those looking for a new career, as outlined in some of the scenarios above. We are not only about helping you pass the Office 2019 MOS exams (yes, these courses will help you do so), but we are also about making learning fun, fast-paced, enjoyable, scenario-based, and, most importantly, there to improve your employability.

And, these courses are loaded with practical tips, brought to you by our new “face of LearnKey,” Marie, who is helping us bring you a rich, practical, and full learning experience not only for Office 2019, but for more of our future courses. We look forward to start bringing you this series later this spring. Until then, here’s to spring getting here. Now. At least pitchers and catchers start reporting this week. Hope springs eternal!


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Future Ready Schools and Lifelong Learning all leads to in-demand 21st Century Skills

by Jeff - Jan 23, 2019


We are always looking for organizations that align to our why “Improving Employability Every Day”.  Be it social services organizations, K-12 & post secondary schools, employers, and not-for-profits. The good news is there are a lot of programs educators can leverage and share best practices around that are going to help youth, adult, and under-served learners gain key in-demand 21st century skills.

Here is a program we are pretty excited about that enables educators to prepare future-ready schools (FRS). Their effort to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, a career, and citizenship is something we fully support and applaud. We work with hundreds of schools and districts nationwide that use our video-based courseware in the Business and Career & Technical Education programs. Every year we learn about more success stories and the FRS program is pretty impressive.  The future-ready school programs and partnerships support, thousands of district leaders have planned and implemented personalized, research-based digital learning strategies for millions of students to achieve their full potential.

At LearnKey our goal is to offer employability skills learning programs that teach 21st century in-demand skills.  Therefore, we want to ensure our curriculum, instruction style (i.e. scenario-based), and assessments are tightly aligned with and designed to engage students in personalized, technology-empowered, deeper learning experiences that build life-long learning skills. This year our new learning management system (OnlineExpert.com) is getting a significant makeover/technology upgrade that will drive more engagement and collaboration between learners and instructors.

It has been proven that learners who successfully “learn how to learn online” have over a 70% greater chance to become successful lifelong learners. Why is that important to us? Well, since lifelong learning is the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, but also self-sustainability, as well as competitiveness and employability.  That goes back to our “Why” which is improving employability every day!

Stay tuned as we introduce other successful learning organizations that support great causes such as lifelong learning!

Best,

Jeff Coruccini


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New year brings goals, exciting partnerships, that drive Improving Employability Every Day

by Jeff - Jan 02, 2019


LearnKey is excited for the new year and for us to continue to grow and exceed the goals we have around our “Why” – Improving Employability Every Day. This coming year we want to see hundreds of graduates from LearnKey and Brighton College gain employment through our learning systems, programs, and strategic partnerships.

You heard LearnKey partnering with Brighton College, yes, to kick off 2019, that is exciting news. Partnering with Brighton college is a great move for us because we cater to the same student demographic. Those students interested in New Collar Jobs. With our dual alignment with Career & Technical Education programs for Information Technology, Allied Health, Legal, and Business Management it becomes a way to leverage what both our organizations are good at, which is programs that lead to in demand jobs.

In the industry we saw strong growth in our K-12 Market and vocational rehabilitation programs. Globally recognized entry-level IT & Career Ready Industry Certifications are on the rise worldwide. We are seeing it first-hand and some of the most popular obtained from our student/learner demographic were tied to: Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) , IC3 Global Standard 5,  which is the newest addition to the IC3 Digital Literacy program,  CompTIA’s  A+, N+, and S+, Adobe, Quickbooks, and Entrepreneurship Small Business. Like all other education organizations in Information Technology, Cybersecurity continues to see strong growth with our students and adult learners wanting streamlined programs for that career.

At LearnKey a Better Learning systems (check out our updated website) company, we have three big goals this year that tie directly to Improving Employability Every Day, and they are: Create a better student learning experience through upgraded learning management technology that our employees really want to use; second, do the exact same thing with our Student Information System (SIS 3.1 upgrade), again want happy employees who use our technology; and third, Improve the student progression success of our team members and students by 40%. This will drive a better learning experience which will lead to more graduates and more of our students getting hired!

Exciting times ahead of us to kick off 2019.

 


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Key Contributor Award Winner- On the road again!

by Jeff - Nov 06, 2018


One of the most difficult jobs is one that requires a ton of travel. It can be extremely lonely and quite challenging with flight schedules, uncomfortable hotel beds, rental cars, and meeting people that are not always as passionate about their jobs as we are. That is not the case for our most recent Key Contributor Award winner – Kelly Woods. He travels no matter what weather conditions are on his journey.

See, Kelly is a Veteran, and his job is to meet with VA counselors and spread the word on how our programs help Veterans get jobs in IT, Cyber Security, Networking, Programming, Graphic Design, and Help Desk/Customer Service. When we say LearnKey truly is Improving Employability Every Day, Kelly is the face of that statement. He takes his job seriously and never hesitates to help out another Veteran or counselor when they inquire about our programs or if they need assistance along their journey. Our programs are not easy, which is why it’s important that Kelly does not mince words in that the program will be hard, but the reward will be great!

Of course Kelly attributes all our success to his supporting team members, which include the other Regional Representatives, LearnKey’s production and support teams, and the great job ready team and tutors, along with our student support representatives. It takes a team and Kelly takes pride in that he has a great team.

Thank you Kelly for your contributions and keeping our core values – EASE, VALUE and TRUST – top of mind.


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Analogies of a Mutt and a Semi-trailer

by Jason - Oct 17, 2018


A few weeks ago, I was attending an online meeting when my phone rang. It was Scott Walker, one of our sales managers/fellow golfers in the company. He said, “You have a minute? I’m at a high school class and the kids want to say hello to you.” Having left my say-hello-to-students outfit at home, I asked if I was on camera. Scott said, no, just the phone. The next thing I know, I’m saying hello to a bunch of high school students who are taking our MTA Networking course and pursuing their MTA Networking certification (smart move for employability, by the way).

We only had a few minutes to chat, as they were reaching the end of their class, but they asked me a couple of quick questions about the networking career path in general. Then one student asked how I felt about a certain antimalware program. I said, “It’s better than nothing,” which drew some laughs (inferences being what they are, I suppose). I then added, “Look. If you put a small mutt dog out to guard your house, even if the dog doesn’t do anything, people will steer clear just because you have a dog there.” Message understood.

Fast forward the clock to today, when another sales manager/fellow golfer, Kelly Woods, asked me to talk to a student about a potential career change to programming. This gentleman was brand new to programming in general. He asked me how best to learn it and where he could apply it as a career. I said, “You work on semis, right? Well, programming has a similarity to that. Not every semi is the same, but once you work on a few you get the basics down and then it’s not too hard to learn about new ones and their nuances, right?” He said yes. I said, “There you go.” This left him with a better understanding of what he may encounter should he decide to pursue this path.

What’s my point here? There are two. First, analogies are great at taking something foreign and making it seem not so. Being able to learn using analogies improves employability, as it makes things easier to understand. I use those as much as I can when teaching. Second, one of the favorite parts of my job is connecting with students, both current and potential. It keeps me engaged with people as cameras and computer screens don’t talk back to me… at least not yet.

So, to Scott Huerkamp, the teacher from Niceville High School in Florida, thank you for allowing me to say hello to your class and talk to them for a few minutes. And, to the potential student who is thinking of moving from semis to programming, thank you and good luck with whatever you decide.

And, since I mentioned golf, I’ll leave you today with this: A friend of mine called me and complained about how he can’t put four good shots in a row together. My response: “That’s OK. You only hit one shot at a time.” Analogy? You decide.


MTA Cloud Fundamentals (98-369) Course Released!

by Brad - Aug 02, 2018


Today, we are excited to announce the release of our MTA Cloud Fundamentals (98-369) course.

MTA Cloud Fundamentals (98-369)

The MTA Cloud Fundamentals (98-369) course is a perfect starting point for those who want to learn about cloud computing, a computing method that is ever-increasing in popularity and is a career field in great need. This course helps with employability prospects in the fields of general cloud computing and support for Office 365 and Intune. The course will also prepare students for the 98-369 exam. Topics in this course include: understanding the cloud, enabling Microsoft cloud services, administering Office 365 and Intune, using and configuring cloud services, and supporting cloud users.

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.


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Scenario-Based Learning – Part Two

by Jason - Jul 27, 2018


Hi again. Yes, I know: two blogs for me in one week is a record or something. So was hitting every fairway but one the other day (accuracy in golf is not my strong suit, but, I digress.) A while back in this blog space, I detailed how we structure our courses around scenario-based learning and how, through scenarios, our courses not only help you get ready to pass certification exams but also give you strong employability skills in the fields in which you may be pursuing.

That was the past. Today, I want to talk present and future. First, the present. We have just put together a video further explaining the concept of scenario-based learning and its importance. You can watch it at the end of this blog.

Secondly, the future. Here is a list of courses (not complete, but a list) we are releasing over the next few months, and, to help you look forward to these, the scenarios tied to these courses:

Course Scenario
Word Expert (Exam 77-726) Writing and formatting a term paper
Excel Expert (Exam 77-728) Analyzing data from an international bike shop
Photoshop 2018 Getting photos ready for a magazine
MTA Cloud Fundamentals (Exam 98-369) A company thinking of moving part or all of their infrastructure to the cloud
ASP.NET MVC (Exam 70-486) Building a robust website for a book store

After all, as the video points out, in our courses, we not only give you the knowledge to complete a task, we give you a task to complete. And that, my friends, is the essence of scenario-based learning. Oh, yes, the video. Enjoy!


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Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun, It’s Doublemint – No, It’s Double MTA

by Jason - Jul 24, 2018


Hi there. Long time, no talk, I know. We’ll it’s the busy time of year (what time isn’t) as we have been working on a number of courses. And I’m happy to say that we have two “new” courses in the MTA family: MTA Windows Server Administration Fundamentals (exam 98-365) and MTA Networking Fundamentals (exam 98-366).

I put “new” in quotes because while the courses are new, the certifications are anything but new. In fact, both certifications have been around for several years. But, this year, they have been updated. First, the 98-365 exam now covers Windows Server 2016, not Server 2008 (poor Server 2012…). And, the 98-366 exam has been updated to reflect current networking fundamentals. Both courses/exams are a great stepping stone into more advanced certifications. Let me explain.

The 98-365 course covers basic Windows Server fundamentals. It is a great prelude into the MCSA Windows Server certification series. This course covers server installation, server roles, an introduction to Active Directory, storage, server performance, and server maintenance. It is a great course for those looking at a possible career in server administration.

The 98-366 course covers basic networking fundamentals. It is a great bridge between computer fundamentals and the CompTIA Network+ certification. This course covers network infrastructure, network hardware, and protocols and services.

Both courses will help you get ready to take and pass their respective exams. Both courses will help you gain employability skills in entry-to-mid level server and/or networking positions. And, if you are thinking, “maybe I want to get into these fields, but I’m not sure,” both courses will go a long way to helping you determine your best career path.

Watch this space for more announcements on new MTA courses and, coming this fall, a brand-new Adobe 2018 certification series.


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Manic Marrakech

by Beth - Jun 28, 2018


Manic Marrakesh

Morocco and I had a rough start. That new normal I found in Vietnam, well, it turned into a dumpster fire. My suitcase broke, my phone broke, my phone was repaired, my phone broke again, Wi-Fi stopped working, cellular service was not available, my computer stopped charging.

It is unclear to me if it was Marrakesh or the series of unfortunate events, or a combination of both, but I was slow to warm to Morocco.


Views from the mall food court in Marrakesh


A small courtyard in the Medina, the old city markets in Marrakesh

I started working during the day again. It was hard to adjust to working during the sunshine. I was enjoying having days to explore and then nights to work, and/or sleep (which is optional during remote year).

The infamous tannery where all the raw animal hides are treated, dyed, and cut for various crafts. The smell was intense.

The landscape is reminiscent of a young, less developed southwestern United States; wild west with a mini-modern city stretched out, painted the same colors as the surrounding, scattered with a casino, an occasional tumbleweed, and a mall with a Chili’s. Baby back ribs, anyone? The old square is where most of the shopping happens. It is bursting with life! Jemaa el-fnaa, the medina or old city, is city jam-packed with trinkets, artisanal crafts, exotic foods, and spices.


Leather Baboosh, aka Moroccan slippers are very common artisanal crafts in the Medina.

I am blown away with the languages people speak, especially in the market! Arabic, French, English, Spanish! The majority of the people were at least bilingual, often trilingual. The best salesmen spoke, what seemed like every language and could guess where you were from just by looking at you.

In Taghazout, camels cruising the beach were just as common as tourists. For a small fee, you can go for a quick ride and take photos.

Breathtaking Sahara Desert.

Side trips (as we call them in Remote Year) included the surfing beaches in the north of Morocco like Taghazout and Agadir, and surfing sand dunes and camel rides in the Sahara Desert. Both adventures were incredible and reminded me that Morocco is way more than just the crazy whirlwind of Marrakesh. The natural beauty of Morocco is stunning and assisted

in opening me to the appeal of the country, but it never quite felt like home, even a temporary one.

Anyone for a magic carpet ride? Artisanal rugs made with the Fez blue cobalt.

Ramadan

During Ramadan, Moroccans fast between dawn and sunset as worship to God. Because there is no separation of church and state, it is illegal for a Moroccan to eat during the day. We have a couple of people in our RY group that could have been mistaken for Moroccans; they were advised to keep their passport on them in case an issue arose when they were eating or drinking in public.

Reminiscent to the dedication during Thaipusam in Malaysia (March’s blog), I am impressed by the dedication that our local friends have for their religion. They describe Ramadan as a time to reflect, become closer to God, and abstain from eating to unify the rich and the poor. I decided to try the fasting for two days.

Day one, I brushed my teeth for 10 minutes as an excuse to try and put moisture back into my mouth. I was sure not to ingest as that would be cheating. No water, no food, all day long. What was I thinking!? A few other girls in the group were fasting in solidarity and around 8:00 P.M. we all met at my apartment to break our fast. It was like Christmas. We sat around the table and enjoyed the traditional meals for breaking the fast. Dates, Harissa (Moroccan soup), milk, and Chebakia (a honey-soaked Moroccan cookie) filled our empty bellies. I thought we were all going to stuff our faces as fast as we could, but we each took time to taste every bite. We sat around for hours and chatted, and of course, drank as much water as we could fit around all the food. Day two was much easier. I had the traditional last meal before sunrise, which I did not do the first night. I stayed awake until 3:00 A.M. just to eat and drink one last time. I had an unusual amount of energy on day two and once fast broke, I only ate a few things. Dates, more cookies, and a small piece of chicken. It was an incredible experience, both challenging myself, and being able to relate to those fasting for an entire month.

Tajine all around! Also pictured is the Moroccan salad and the beautifully crafted Moroccan dishware.

Food

In addition to the Ramadan foods, Morocco is filled with incredible flavors and diverse food selections.

Key Moroccan staples:

Tajines – a version of a Dutch oven and refers to any meats cooked over coals, low and slow.

Msemen – the BEST pancake, thin, soft, and pillow-y served with Amlou (almond butter with argon oil) and local honey.

The TEA! Mint tea, tea time is very important. It was a time to slow down and enjoy time with others. The higher you pour, the better.

Remote Year

The workspace was far away from our apartments and awkwardly quiet, I think I used it twice. I worked from home mostly as it took a lot of effort to go out as there was no Uber (this was the first location with out it), taxis seem to always want to swindle you, and I worked weird hours.

It was weird working during the day again. I found myself adjusting to work late into the evening without even meaning to. It may be that I am more productive at night, or I may have never adjusted to the local time.

Low Atlas Mountains passing through on the way to the Sahara. Reminded me of Sedona, AZ.

The final farewell to Marrakesh and our 100-day celebration (100 days of being on remote year), brought the community back together at the end of the month, which had seemed to be a little disconnected. With our sense of community revived, we set out for Croatia and a month by the sea.

Shukran & Au revoir!