Our quarterly award (Key Contributor) is something we are very proud of at LearnKey. This person or team is recognized for exceeding expectations and or demonstrating our core values (Ease, Value and Trust). Our newest recipient is someone who has been with us for almost 5 ½ years, and here is an amazing number that we want all of you to know about her: two seventy-two (272). That number, 272, represents the total number of globally recognized industry certifications (i.e. Microsoft, CompTIA, Cisco, Adobe, etc.) her students achieved in 2019. Take that number, along with her “can do” attitude, and you have our one and only Mrs. Susan Somerville.
Susan is Senior Student Services Representative. Someone who gets to see first-hand how our programs can touch and change people’s lives. She handles anywhere between 60-80 students at a time, helping them complete their online training on time, practice & study for exams, assisting them in coordinating any special tutoring needs, documenting and distributing monthly reports to counselors, the list goes on and on. She is someone who is always smiling and looking at the positive in everything, even when she has to give a student some “tough love” and remind them of their “Why” and motivator to complete our online programs. Her work directly impacts our students and their success in achieving their end goal: gaining employment. She has changed many people’s lives.
Here is what some of the leaders who nominated her had to say: “Susan has an amazing ability to help her students’ progress and is a pro at having the ‘hard conversations’ with them.” Another person said “she’s very helpful in our Cedar office, has a wonderfully positive attitude, and strives each day to help her students succeed.” Another added “she truly lives our mission of improving employability for her students, every day.”
When we presented Susan with the award she was actually spending the day in our St. George, UT office sharing best practices to some of our newer student service representatives so they can do their jobs as effectively.
Congratulations Susan for a job well done. Keep being present, doing your job, and making LearnKey better every day!
At LearnKey we like to start the new year fast. So 2020 is here and we are super happy we just completed one of our most important goals: LearnKey’s new Certification and Support Program catalog. This truly is our calling card, as it gives you the opportunity to learn and access the great courses, career pathways/programs, and support we offer through our national online vocational school and education as a service business we provide to businesses and strategic partners.
For 2020 we expanded and added over twenty (20) enhanced career pathways with multiple levels (i.e. entry & advanced) as our research continues to validate that these are high in-demand jobs that lead to upward mobility careers. Specifically, in the areas of Cyber-Security, Help Desk, Networking, Cloud, Programming, and System Administration.
We hope you enjoy our catalog as we are very proud on how we present our offerings, products, and services to those schools, counselors, and organizations who want to help learners get jobs. Another skill in demand is communication, and a course we are pleased to be releasing this month is Communication Skills for Business, which maps to one of the first globally recognized industry certifications offered through Certiport.
We at LearnKey believe our catalog is the purest example of who we are, what we do, and why we do it.
Of course everyone knows our “Why” – Improving Employability Every Day
My father taught me many years ago to learn a trade or in-demand skill, as well as always have a plan “B”. In this day and age that is so important, especially for those in high school, going to college, or adults trying to obtain a well-paying job. It just so happens I took that advice back in the 80’s and learning my first skill/certification was how to use American Airlines “Sabre” reservation system. See, my trade was working in a travel agency. I learned reservations, ticketing, operations, business development, and sales.
Knowing and getting certified in multiple reservation systems like Sabre, United Airlines Apollo system, TWA’s PARS, and a few others allowed me to go from doing reservations to becoming a team lead, then operations supervisor, to Director, then V.P./General Manager. Yes, I was climbing the corporate ladder, even ran start-ups over my 30-year career.
But it all started with making sure I had skills. Now, in this day and age “first jobs” are on the cusp of being eliminated this article that speaks to “AI is replacing first jobs” which is very concerning but not surprising due to advances in technology. So now more than ever, I stress to everyone learn a skill/trade, get certified, so you can have a fall back plan “B”. College degrees are important, however, in today’s world so is getting certified in many fields such as: Technology, Allied Health, STEM, Legal, and many more.
The good news is its not just me advocating the importance of certifications. A recent Forbes article just came out titled “non-degree certificates and certifications are fast, cheap and effective”. This is a great read and while they are not necessarily cheap it validates how important non-degree certificates and globally-recognized industry certifications are in today’s workforce. Here are some key highlights of the article & survey which are sure worth sharing:
- Adults with a short-term certificate or industry-based certification were more likely to be employed (85%) than adults without such credentials (78%).
- Adults holding certificates reported their median annual income to be $45,000, compared to $30,000 for adults without any certificates.
- Among the non-degree adults with a certificate or certification, two-thirds were inclined to recommend the educational path they had followed to others, compared to less than half of the non-degreed adults without such credentials.
- Among certificate/certification holders, 60% believed their educational experiences made them more marketable to potential employers, compared to 44% of those who had not earned certificates or certifications.
At LearnKey we are all about “improving employability every day” and we do that through ensuring our message around “Learn a skill, Practice as part of your preparation, and get Certified” is loud and clear. The world is changing and now more then ever, you need to have a plan “B” and I have my father to thank for that!
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.
Today we are excited to announce that LearnKey will begin production next week on an “Exam Ready” video-based training course that maps to Certiport’s Entrepreneurship Small Business (ESB) certification and will be available in April 2017!
This course will be authored by Wyett Ihler, certified instructor who has produced LearnKey’s IC3 GS5 & Spark courses over the past year. This course will help students/adult learners and teachers prep for the ESB certification exam, which is a 50-minute exam with 45 questions covering the following objectives: The Entrepreneur, Business Management, Starting a Business, Business Operations, Marketing/Sales, and Financial Management. In addition to the course being available on LearnKey’s OnlineExpert Learning Management System, the course will be available through our strategic partner GMetrix‘s skills management system.
We are thrilled to offer such an exciting and in-demand certification training, as the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) both cite statistics that underscore the benefits of entrepreneurship education. These benefits include improved academic performance, school attendance, interest in attending college, an increase in occupational aspirations, as well as leadership behavior.
LearnKey is all about helping learners improve their employability skills and this course covers an important topic that currently has no certification/validation of skills tied to it.
Last week in this blog space, I wrote about the new, streamlined certification paths Microsoft recently released. This week, I have another piece of Microsoft certification news to share with you, and that is, Acclaim badges!
What do Acclaim badges give you? Industry recognition of your newly earned certification. Instead of your having to log on individually to any social networks you may be a part of and individually post your new accomplishments, Acclaim allows you to connect to your social networks (I am on LinkedIn, for example), and add these badges to your profile. To give you a personal example: This year, I renewed my Microsoft Office Master Certification. To do this, I had to pass (hold on while I count…) three core exams and two expert exams (I actually took all five core exams for a total of seven Microsoft Office certifications). Now when it comes to telling anyone about this through social media, well, I’m lazy. But, thanks to these Acclaim badges, I can just log in to Acclaim, find my new certification, and connect to LinkedIn and post the badge there. In fact, I am in the process of doing this as I write this. Here is what the pending badges screen looks like:
All that has to be done is to click the Accept button, log into whatever networks you have for social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or others) and from there, you can post these badges to your social media profiles.
There is the option of emailing these badges to others or posting these badges on a website. Either way, these badges provide an easy means for announcing to whoever and wherever your newly earned certifications.
And recently, Microsoft has added MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) badges in addition to the existing Microsoft Office badges, so now you get a badge for passing an MCP test. Finally, though this is a Microsoft post, many other companies participate in the Acclaim badge program, including, for example, Adobe.
The best part of this: In the time it took me to write this blog post, I also claimed the three badges you see above plus an Adobe ACA badge for a test I recently passed and posted those on my LinkedIn profile. You, too, can obtain and use these Acclaim badges to let people know of your certifications so you can broaden your career opportunities. Now that is what I call a win-win.
In my 15+ years of classroom training, and my now-nearly 1.5 years as LearnKey’s Senior Instructor (see the asymmetry in numbers there?), I have obtained many Microsoft certifications. What I always found challenging at times (besides the exams themselves) is having to figure out which test goes with which certification, and which tests I need to take (or can take as electives) in order to obtain a certain certification I have wanted or needed. While I was able to figure things out, it often took, well, more time than I wanted to spend reading a certification road map.
On that note, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you good news: Microsoft has revamped and streamlined the process and requirements for their certifications. I don’t quite remember how many certification paths there were before, but now there are only five. They are:
Mobility – Focuses on Windows 10 installation and configuration and configuring Windows devices.
Cloud Platform and Infrastructure – Focuses mainly on Windows Server 2012 and Server 2016 (which has exams in beta as I write this), and Microsoft Azure.
Productivity Path – Similar to Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, but swap Microsoft Azure for Office 365.
Data Management and Analytics Path – Focuses on SQL Server, SQL Server, and…you can guess the third one (hint: SQL Server).
App Builder Path – The path for programmers and aspiring programmers, as it covers web development, C#, and mobile apps, just to name a few.
Now, getting down to five certification paths is, well, really nice. But there is more to this streamlining process. Each certification path has a set of two or three exams to earn an MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate). The Mobility path has just one MCSA (for Windows 10) while the others have multiple MCSA possibilities.
Once an MCSA is obtained, you will need to take a single elective exam (and most of these paths have multiple choices) to then obtain your MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) or, as is the case with the App Builder path, an MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer). And, here is the big catch: to keep your MCSE/MCSD current, you need to pass one elective exam each year. This helps keep people current with these certifications.
So, to summarize: five certification paths, a handful of exams for each to reach MCSA status, an additional elective exam to move up to MCSE/MCSD status, and then passing an elective exam each year holds your MCSE/MCSD status. Streamlining indeed! And, we at LearnKey are going to be “freshening up” our Microsoft certification offerings over the next several months to best align our courseware with these new paths.
Finally, here is a link to the details of what I’ve discussed in this blog: https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/weblog/posts/microsoft-streamlines-technical-certifications.
Next week, I will bring you some news regarding Microsoft certifications and earning badges with certain certifications. Yes, these are badges you can use to broadcast your certifications all over social media. In the meantime, best of luck in your certification studies!
…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:
- Aero configurations
- Virtualized clients
- Application virtualization
- File Allocation Tables (FAT)
- Cloud storage
- Local, online, and automated backup methods
- File Explorer settings
- Microsoft Edge
- Operating system architecture
- Windows 10 features
- 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!
This past week, June 28th – June 30th, I had the great opportunity to attend the Certiport CERTIFIED conference in Orlando, Florida. It gave me the opportunity to learn more about how we can help Career Technology Education (CTE) Teachers teaching Microsoft MOS, Adobe, IC3, MTA, Autodesk and many more in-demand courses that map to Certiport’s industry certifications.
They had excellent breakout sessions where teachers shared best practice sessions on topics that included: Creating new certification opportunities in college and communities; Product deep dives for: Adobe, IC3, and Autodesk; Celebrating student success in the classroom; Preparing to implement MOS 2016 certification in the classroom; and, one of my favorites, Integrating Certification Learning Materials and Practice tests into your lesson plans.
The keynote speakers were also amazing. Rich Lehrer’s story about being a full time 8th grade science teacher and becoming the Coordinator of the Enable Educators Exchange through guiding a project that built a 3D printed prosthetic hand for a recipient, in this case his son, through a project one of his 8th grade classes accomplished was wonderful. Manual Scott, an original freedom writer, whose story is told in the Hollywood movie Freedom Writers, had an incredible and unique message, one that has inspired, educated and empowered almost a million people, helping them make the most of their lives.
The message is clear: teachers really have a profound effect on students, and when these students achieve industry certifications it builds tremendous confidence along with great skills that they can take forward in their college and career readiness efforts. We are so proud of our new partnership with GMetrix and Certiport, as it gives us the opportunity to better serve both teachers and students through learning, practice testing, and certifying resources.
It was also great to see our good friends and partners Thor Christianson & Quaid Atkinson from GMetrix along with Denise Spence (LearnKey’s Power Point 2013 Author). A teacher conference in Florida could not be complete without a picture of LearnKey’s Representative Scott Walker sharing our courseware that is now on the GMetrix Learning Platform and distributed through Certiport.
Up next, we will be attending the Certiport Global Partner Summit 2016 back in Orlando Florida!
Who says you can’t have fun producing certification courses! At LearnKey we take great pride ensuring our courses map to objectives, cover what is in the certification exam, and that our students gain the knowledge they need to succeed. Producing and publishing content is taken very seriously as our goal is to provide our students with the ultimate learning experience.
That said, our learning and development team was thrilled to start producing this week (June 13th 2016) the IC3 Spark training for middle school age children, which maps to the Certiport Exam. This course will provide them with a solid foundation in digital concepts that covers objectives spanning basic computing skills, key applications, and the use of the Internet. Our partner Certiport announced the release of this exam last year and we are excited to be producing this in video, along with workbooks, projects, and assessments so teachers have all the resources they need.
Best of all our production team can really leverage their creative skills so this younger student demographic finds the course easy to understand, engaging, and helps them improve their computer skills! This program will be offered exclusively through our Certiport & GMetrix partnership making it the best of the best when it comes to training, access to GMetrix practice tests, and certification. Be on the lookout for this program to be released in late July, just in time for the 2016 fall school year!