Learn From an Expert: Jason Manibog and Cisco ICND Exams

by Brad - Oct 18, 2016


Back in May, our resident LearnKey expert Jason Manibog wrote about some changes that were coming to the Cisco certification exams. These changes necessitated the creation of new courses to cover the updated content, and later this week we will be releasing the first of those new courses, Cisco Routing and Switching Fundamentals Part 1. I recently caught up with Jason to ask him a few questions about this new course and its second half, set for release next month.

  1. What tests do the Routing and Switching Fundamentals courses cover? These two courses cover the two new Cisco Routing and Switching Fundamentals exams. The part one course is mapped to the Cisco Interconnecting Network Devices (ICND) part one exam, exam 100-105. The part two course is mapped to the Cisco Interconnecting Network Devices (ICND) part two exam, exam 200-105.
  2. What advice would you someone taking the Cisco ICND exams for the first time? Be ready for a lot of “real-life” troubleshooting questions. The most important skill in that is to be able to read the output of a show command, interpret what is going on, and use that to answer test questions. There are a lot of “Configure, Verify, Troubleshoot” topics in the exam objectives. Don’t just learn the configuring part. Spend time on the verify and troubleshoot parts as well. And, for exam objectives which start with the word “Describe,” know the terms, definitions, and concepts on those topics. And, make sure to get some hands-on practice. I know, most of you will not have Cisco equipment lying around to use. That is no problem, as there are a lot of simulation tools out there to help you get some practice. We highly recommend the Boson NetSim simulation tool, and we feature it prominently in the course.
  3. What type of student did you have in mind when you were creating this course? Basically, a student who is interested in learning about Cisco routers and switches and how to use them in a network, and students interested in getting their Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing and Switching certification or, at the very least, the Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) certification, which one gets upon passing the 100-105 exam.
  4. If a student has very little experience with computer networking, how would you recommend they start using our training? I would start with the Network+ course, as that course lays a very good foundation for all things networking. Some of that knowledge will carry over to the Routing and Switching Fundamentals courses. To put this another way, it’s kind of like learning about cars in general (the Network+ course) and then learning about particular models (the Routing and Switching Fundamentals courses). Funny that I would make that comparison when I can’t even find a dip stick in a car (but that’s a separate issue, obviously).
  5. What are some of the major changes between the new ICND exams and the previous versions? I’ve outlined those changes in a previous blog, The new Cisco ICND Series: Some More Details. And I’ve got labs up with some information and interactive exercises on our resources page.
  6. How do the ICND exams differ from the Cisco IINS exam? The ICND exams are general exams for Cisco routers and switches while the IINS exam focuses primarily on one topic: Security.
  7. What was your favorite thing about filming this course? That there are a lot of simulation tools out there to make it easier for people to get some good, hands-on, practice, and that we are able to use Boson NetSim, which is an excellent simulation tool.

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Learn From an Expert: Jason Manibog and Adobe CC 2015 Test Prep

by Brad - Oct 05, 2016


A couple of months ago, we began releasing a series of Adobe Creative Cloud 2015 test prep courses. These courses are one session each and serve as supplemental material to our full Creative Cloud courses. I recently caught up with our resident expert, Jason Manibog, to ask him a few questions about these courses.

  1. What is the purpose of the Adobe CC 2015 Test Prep courses? The purpose of these courses is simple: To get students ready to pass the Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) exams for the 2015 version of these programs. We decided to do test prep courses rather than full-length courses because the programs and test objectives have not changed much from the 2013 to the 2015 versions of these programs. What has changed, however, is how the tests themselves are delivered. Now, one can expect several scenario-based question per exam. In these, a real-life scenario is presented and then several questions are based on that scenario.
  2. How many courses will there be? Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Premiere…that’s five if I’m counting correctly :D. For Adobe Animate we are going to do a brand new course since that program, in effect, replaces Flash.
  3. What are some of the new features in CC 2015? In a nutshell:
    • Photoshop – Work can now be done with artboards (previously, only Illustrator had that). The Brush features and image export features have been enhanced as well. And, glyphs are now available.
    • Illustrator – If Illustrator crashes, there is now a good change your work can be recovered. Plus (and I have been waiting for this for a while), the Pencil tool now allows for auto-closing a shape (meaning you can draw a shape and have it actually behave like a shape). The Shapebuilder and Curvature tools have also been enhanced.
    • InDesign – Graphics can now be inserted directly into tables. Shading and borders can be added to paragraphs. And it is easier to publish online now than it was in previous versions.
    • Dreamweaver – Multiple tags can now be selected in the Document Object Model (DOM) panel, making it easier to move multiple tags around on a page. Plus, tags, classes, and IDs can be added and changed through the DOM panel. The Visual Media Query feature has also been enhanced to make it easier to change measurements on objects. And, similar to Illustrator, should the program crash, there is a good chance your work will be recovered.
    • Premiere – Native support for QuickTime files is now available. Plus, several new workflows are available, including a Virtual Reality (VR) video workflow, which allows one to edit and create a VR-type experience. And many editing enhancements have been made (such as several new keyboard shortcuts).
  4. What advice would you give to a new user of Adobe products? Go the speed limit when learning and be conceptual in learning. For example, in learning Photoshop, it is fine to learn all of the tools and effects and filters and other options (as they can be quite nice to work with), but, knowing what the these tools do and when one would use them is just as important. Just as an example: You wouldn’t use dodge and burn when trying to change a color effect on a picture as dodge and burn lightens or darkens overall exposure (and people who develop pictures the old-fashioned way, in a darkroom, will use these tricks by hand). On the flipside, if you are used to doing things manually and know of photo or design concepts, you will have fun finding these tools in these Adobe programs.
  5. What type of student did you have in mind when you were creating these courses? Basically, a student trying to learn valuable job-ready skills in Adobe products and also looking to gain one ACA certification or maybe multiple ACA certifications.
  6. If a student has very little experience using Adobe, how would you recommend they study for the exam? I would start with the CC version of the courses of study. For example, if one is trying to learn Photoshop, start with the Photoshop CC course, go through all of the pre-assessment and post-assessment tests for each session, and do the projects in the project workbook. Anyone can get a 30-day trial of any Adobe program, so there is no reason to not practice these concepts. And then, do the same for the 2015 test prep course to gain further knowledge of these Adobe programs. And, have fun!

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Learn From an Expert: Jason Manibog and PowerPoint 2016

by Brad - Sep 06, 2016


Last week, we released our new PowerPoint 2016 course, the third in our line of Office 2016 training. 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 PowerPoint? The biggest thing to remember about PowerPoint is that it is a presentation program, not a document program. Keep everything in nice, short phrases. Use your own notes to describe topics you put on PowerPoint slides. If PowerPoint slides are too wordy, the audience will lose focus. And, make sure information is organized well. A PowerPoint presentation should be an outline on slides.
  2. What type of student did you have in mind when you were creating this course? For that one, there are three possible answers: First, someone new to PowerPoint will benefit greatly because bad habits (like making slides too wordy) won’t be learned (hopefully). Second, someone may be looking to enhance PowerPoint skills, especially ones needed for the current job market. Finally, many students may be pushing toward gaining the Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint 2016 certification. This course covers all of those exam objectives.
  3. If a student has very little experience using PowerPoint, how would you recommend they start using our training? Why, at the beginning, of course. The opening of the course focuses on a tour of PowerPoint and then the different ways in which a presentation is created. What better way to start than that?
  4. What are some of the new features in PowerPoint 2016? The Tell Me feature is quite handy, because it’s not just about getting help on how to do something in PowerPoint. Rather, the Tell Me feature presents direct links to tasks. For example, if you ask the Tell Me feature how to add WordArt to a slide, it lists some WordArt creation options. Plus, the text highlighter prominent in Word is now available in PowerPoint. Finally, those with a OneDrive account can save a presentation to a OneDrive location and then collaborate with others, real-time, on a presentation.
  5. What was your favorite thing about filming this course? That I was able to do what I like to do best with these introductory courses, which is to basically take a project from start to finish. Plus, I was able to sneak a golf picture or two into the course :D. And, I got to showcase one of my co-workers and his band (only for a few seconds, but hey, exposure is exposure, right?)

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MTA OS Fundamentals Exam Update: Same Name, Same Number, Different…

by Jason - Aug 29, 2016


…Oh, hello there! It’s me, your humble Senior Instructor. Today, I’m here to tell you about an update to the existing Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) 98-349 exam, otherwise known as the MTA OS Fundamentals exam.

The exam, which is tentatively scheduled to change later this month, is still going to focus on Operating System fundamentals, but is getting a “refresh” of sorts. Going away are topics specific to the operating system the exam has focused on, specifically Windows 7. Coming into the exam are topics specific to Windows 10. The exam is still geared toward those looking to learn about the setup and configuration of Windows. Gaining this certification will demonstrate that you have enough knowledge to install and configure Windows smoothly and efficiently and manage Windows installations and apps.

We will be putting our own “refresh” on our existing MTA OS Fundamentals as we will be updating the course this fall to match the new exam objectives. Speaking of objectives, this is not a complete list of what is entering or exiting the exam, but, I think you’ll agree that the theme of the exam is “out with the Windows 7 specifics and in with the Windows 10 specifics.” Here are some of the objective changes for the 98-349 exam:

LEAVING:

  • Gadgets
  • Aero configurations
  • Virtualized clients
  • Application virtualization
  • File Allocation Tables (FAT)
  • Cloud storage
  • Local, online, and automated backup methods

ENTERING:

  • File Explorer settings
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Cortana
  • Hyper-V
  • Operating system architecture
  • Windows 10 features
  • Libraries
  • Disk management
  • Windows Update options
  • Insider Preview
  • Current Branch

Our course “refresh” will involve brand new video courseware, a new project workbook full of exercises to reinforce these concepts, and a pre-assessment and post-assessment test for each exam domain. We look forward to bringing you yet another MTA course this fall!


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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 🙂

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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!


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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.


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:
http://www.learnkey.com/elearning/PDFs/LearnKey_Release_Schedule.pdf


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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?


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