My Certification Failure

by Brad - Mar 31, 2015


Recently, I did something I rarely do – I failed a test. You may think, “Big deal, it’s just one test, you’ll pass the next one,” and you would usually be right. Except this wasn’t just any test. It was a certification exam.

A couple of weeks ago, I began watching LearnKey’s Project 2013 training to prepare to take the Managing Projects with Microsoft Project 2013 certification exam. I watched the entire course, took notes, passed all of the pre- and post tests, and reviewed the training for the questions I had missed. I was a little nervous about taking the test, but I felt confident in using the software and figured the test would be pretty easy. I passed a couple of Adobe certification tests with no problems, and I thought the Project 2013 test would be similar.

The first thing I failed to take into account was the fact that I have been using Adobe software for nearly a decade. I probably know Photoshop and Dreamweaver better than any other software out there (with the possible exception of StarCraft or Age of Empires, but that’s a whole other ballgame).

Whenever someone asks me for advice on how to pass a certification exam, I always tell them one thing: Explore the software. Open up the menus, learn the features, figure things out on your own, and become proficient. No matter how good a training course is, there is no substitute for real-world experience. As I watched the training, I followed along in Project 2013 and learned enough to feel comfortable using it, but I didn’t spend very much time exploring the software on my own.

The second thing I failed to take into account was that the exam structure may not be the same as the Adobe exams I have taken in the past. Adobe exams place a heavy emphasis on lab-type questions where the students show they know the software by performing tasks in a simulated environment. I thought that even if I didn’t know everything about Project 2013, I could find my way around in the simulated environment.

As soon as I started the exam, I knew I was in trouble. The questions were all scenario-based and there was not a single simulation-based question in the entire exam. I had not prepared for these types of questions! The questions were also more difficult than I had anticipated. It’s not enough to be able to use the software; certification exams are geared toward expert users. I should have spend a lot more time exploring the software.

I just scheduled a retake of the Project 2013 certification exam. I plan to re-watch the training and take better notes. This time, I will follow my own advice, as well as the advice given in our Exam Prep with Tom Carpenter LearnCast course. This time, I will give the exam the respect it deserves by putting in the necessary study time and fully exploring Project 2013. This time, I plan to pass.


New Course Release: OS X Fundamentals

by Beau - Mar 11, 2015


We are excited to announce the release of our OS X Fundamentals course today! This training and assessment video is part of our Computer Foundations video training, and was made to help Mac users with the basic functions and uses of their computer. Many people use computers on a daily basis, so it is important to know the basics of how to operate their computer.

OS X Fundamentals Course

The OS X Fundamentals course is designed for a user new to the world of Mac computers. Specifically demonstrated on OS X Yosemite, LearnKey’s fundamentals course demonstrates the most common functions of the operating system to enable a new user to feel confident in their ability to use a Mac. The course covers systems preference basics, desktop, customization, out of the box setup, installing/uninstalling apps, and much more.

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


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Culture Coach? Newest EOM does that too!

by Jeff - Mar 02, 2015


Melanie Benitez

You always remember when you meet people who are smart and make things appear easy to do. Our newest Better Learning Systems/Know Your Talents employee of the month Melanie Benitez has won over our entire company with that style of work over the past year and a half.

That is why when we wanted to introduce a “Culture Coach” she was the perfect person in our company to launch something new like this, and has successfully started by working with our LearnKey Production teams first. Rolling out something new to employees is a big deal and having someone like her with a positive “can do” attitude is a great quality and strength, which Melanie leverages successfully with her peers.

One who doesn’t like to say no (High P!) and gets things done as quickly as “the snap of a finger” has even been compared to that of Barbara Eden from the TV sitcom “I dream of Jeannie!” Melanie just makes things happen. Supporting internal and external customers and consultants with great success is another part of her job, and couple that with the great reputation she has with long-standing trusted partners such as Maricopa Workforce Connections, WIA folks, and MAXIMUS that is a true testament to the type of professionalism she brings our company.

Please take a moment and get to know Melanie’s personal side with a fun Q&A:

1. How many siblings do you have? I have one older sister and one older brother and then a younger step brother and step sister.
2. What is your favorite movie? Have lots of favorites but I would have to say “Blast from the Past” is my top favorite.
3. What is your favorite band? No favorite really, listen to all kinds of music from Christian to Classic Rock. Like a lot of variety in what I listen to.
4. What is your favorite vacation spot? Napa Valley – could spend an entire summer there just learning about wine and visiting all the amazing eateries there.
5. What was your high school’s mascot? Bulldog
6. What is the weirdest combination of foods you have eaten? I don’t know about a combination of foods, but I did try chicken feet once in Chinatown in LA.
7. What is/was the name of your favorite pet? Well I have two, both my pups I have right now. Annie is a Beagle and Hudson is a Brussel Griffon – can’t imagine life without them!!
8. What was your first car? A 1970 Chevy Chevelle – wish I still had that car!!
9. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? I would love to see Italy!
10. Would you rather sky dive, bungee jump, zip line, or parasail? Ummm, that would be none of the above. Did get into a hot air balloon one time and that was pretty amazing…this stuff… a bit too “risky” for me.
11. What is the funniest saying you have heard around here? Last week from a client during a PDP Certification workshop “If you have to eat a frog don’t stare at it too long” was a new one to me and quoted from Mark Twain.
12. If you could eat dinner with anyone from the past, present, or future, who would it be and why? I would probably say my grandfather, he was a very firm but kind German man, would be fun to have a behavioral conversation with him!

Please join me in congratulating Melanie on her display of all our core values Ease, Value, and Trust, while being a terrific team member and part of the Better Learning Systems family. We are both proud and very fortunate to have her on our team!


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