How Important is Business Communication? Important Enough For a New Certification

by Jason - Oct 14, 2019


About two months ago, I was having a conversation with our CEO and he said, “Brother (he calls me brother, how nice), wouldn’t it be nice if we could do a soft skills (meaning non-tech) course that could help improve communication skills for business? Is there a cert on that?”

At the time, the answer was yes, I could come up with a course but no, there was no official certification for this. But wouldn’t you know it: two weeks later, Certiport announced a new Communication Skills for Business (CSB) certification that will be out later this fall. Great minds think alike.

We, as you well know, are dedicated to improving employability every day. But that doesn’t just mean tech skills and being able to do a COUNTIFS function in Excel. Far from it. Strong employability requires strong communication skills, and this is where this course fits in to the overall employability umbrella.

Every so often we decide to change things up and bring in a guest author to do a course. For this course, we are very excited to have Jennifer Stubblefield, the reigning Certiport Educator of the Year, bring you this course. Jennifer has been a business teacher for over 25 years and is a champion Microsoft Office Master instructor as well. She understands both the tech side and the communication side of employment and it shows in this course.

We filmed the course last week and we are very excited to bring you this course. This course is like no other in that though the exam is heavily topic-based, our course is scenario-based and interactive while teaching to the core exam topics of
:

  • Describe Basic Communication Principles
  • Plan for Effective Communication
  • Apply Best Practices for Creating Business Deliverables
  • Deliver Your Message
  • Receive Communications
  • Analyze Communication Scenarios

This course applies to both those looking for jobs and those already in a career. I was going to say this course applies to those looking to improve communication skills, but let’s be real: everyone could use improvement in this area. And Jennifer covers this literally from head to toe (as in wardrobe for an interview – I knew a tie is supposed to come down to a belt buckle, but did you?). She also points out that whoever runs the front desk at a company is watching interview candidates from the moment they walk in and will divulge what is seen to the hiring decision-makers. A good reminder for all of us.

The truth is, we as a filming crew learned a lot even though improving our communication skills wasn’t on our minds when Jennifer arrived to film this course. For example, did you know there is a big difference in meaning between having a meeting in a L-shaped seating arrangement vs. sitting across from someone? I didn’t. Now, I do. I learned a lot about improving business communication skills just in the three days it took us to film this course. And I talk for a living. So, if I can learn a lot, so can you, no matter where you are on your career path

Further info on LinkedIn


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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).


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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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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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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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Network+ (N10-007) Course Released!

by Brad - May 31, 2018


Today, we are excited to announce the release of our Network+ (N10-007) course.

Network+ (N10-007)

The Network+ (N10-007) course is an excellent course for those looking to gain employability skills in the area of network administration and gain the CompTIA Network+ certification. Specifically, this course covers the five domains on the N10-007 exam: Networking Concepts, Infrastructure, Networking Operations, Network Security, and Network Troubleshooting. This course covers the material through the eyes of a brand-new junior network administrator, learning both what it takes to pass the exam and the real-life job skills necessary to succeed as a junior to mid-level network administrator.

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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MTA Introduction to Programming Using Java (98-388) Course Release!

by Brad - Apr 17, 2018


Today, we are excited to announce the release of our MTA Introduction to Programming Using Java (98-388) course.

MTA Introduction to Programming Using Java (98-388)

The MTA Introduction to Programming Using Java (98-388) course is excellent for someone wanting to learn how to code in Java, a powerful object-oriented programming language. This course will also help students get ready to pass the MTA 98-388 exam and improve employability prospects for any software development position requiring Java coding skills. Specifically, this course covers Java fundamentals, data types and variables, flow control, object-oriented principles, and compiling and debugging code. These concepts are covered through simulating writing code for an online store, thus adding a real-life scenario to this course.

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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Security+ (SY0-501) Course Released!

by Brad - Feb 21, 2018


Today, we are excited to announce the release of our Security+ (SY0-501) course.

Security+ (SY0-501)

This CompTIA certification course helps to prepare students to take and pass the SY0-501 Security+ exam and obtain the Security+ certification. This course is excellent for those looking to increase their employability prospects in security administration careers. Specific topics covered in this course include: security threats, attacks and vulnerabilities, tools and technologies, architecture and design, identity and access methods, risk management, and cryptography.

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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Lying Down on the Job

by Jason - Dec 15, 2017


I know, I know. I haven’t been in this blog space for a while. As you can see, I’ve been lying down on the job. Well, not really. The past several weeks I’ve been doing anything but lying down as our production crew has been busy filming not one, but two new CompTIA courses: Security+, and Network+. The Security+ course, which will be out soon, is tied to the new Security+ exam, exam SY0-501. The exam covers these security topics:

  • Threats, Attacks, and Vulnerabilities
  • Technologies and Tools
  • Architecture and Design
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Risk Management
  • Cryptography

Security+, in my humble opinion, has really gained in importance for anyone who wants to be employable in an IT Security position. I’ve known companies to actually make this a requirement as a condition of employment, i.e., get the Security+ certification in the first 90 days to stay at the job.

The other major course we are working on is the new Network+ course, tied to exam N10-007. Again, a Network+ certification certainly helps employability, specifically in the area of network administration jobs. The Network+ course goes through these topics:

  • Networking Concepts
  • Infrastructure
  • Networking Operations
  • Network Security
  • Troubleshooting

This course and exam will be out early in 2018.

By the way, which concept were we filming when I was lying down here? It is one that is actually in both the Security+ and Network+ courses. And, a certain TV character named Malcolm would get it right away. That’s your hint. The answer will come in the next blog. In the meantime, with around 1400 exam objectives between the two courses, I think I will lie down here for a just a few minutes longer and rest a little before resuming production.


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September Flew By; October Disappeared

by Beth - Nov 06, 2017


Graduates of the SNAP Program.

Did I just have an unusually long blink? Where did September go? AND October is gone?!

Lots of exciting news from September, maybe that’s why it went by so fast…

It all started with getting to meet a LearnKey Alumni that relocated to AZ for an IT job at Spectrum. It was an honor to shake his hand and see the joy in his eyes brought on by finding a career in his field. LearnKey has assisted nine Blue Ocean graduates finding a new career in their field in the last six months.

Next, I was shocked by the final itinerary for my Remote Year experience! It could not have imagined a better list of places! Emotional roller coaster is a term that I continue to use to describe my experience but it is more like ton of happy, exciting, anxiety bricks hitting you at any moment, like when you are celebrating a moment with a friend who you may not see for an entire year, presenting a resume and interview workshop in Las Vegas, or ya know, just breathing, just hits you. Seeing the places in which I will live made this experience become very, very real. And, here they are https://remoteyear.com/itinerary-kanyini .

Speaking of that resume workshop and Interview workshop, I had the pleasure to work with an amazing company called Three Square. Three Square is Southern Nevada’s only food bank providing food assistance to the residents of Lincoln, Nye, Esmeralda, and Clark counties. Three Square’s mission is to provide wholesome food to hungry people, while passionately pursuing a hunger-free community. We combine food banking (warehousing canned and boxed goods), food rescue (obtaining surplus or unused meats, bread, dairy and produce from hospitality and grocery outlets), and ready-to-eat meals to be the most complete food solution for Southern Nevada. They, in partnership with LearnKey, have stepped up to take its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, outreach efforts to the next level. Three Square approached the state with a proposal that it create a pilot program to train SNAP recipients in call-center work, with an eye toward becoming a certified third-party training provider.

I had the privilege to administer the Resume Writing and interview Workshop to the students in the pilot program for Three Square as of October 10, 2017, 3 out of the 5 participants have been hired.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Went to the HeroZona Launch Luncheon for Arizona’s Veteran’s week, find more information here: https://www.herozona.com/
  • Met with an AZ Congresswoman’s Community Liaison who mentioned that the VA is moving to hire more work-from-home customer services representatives, more information will be shared as it is received.

September 2017 has changed my life for the better with all the inspiring events. I look forward to sharing my October with y’all!

 


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