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.
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.
Today, we are excited to announce the release of our MTA Cloud Fundamentals (98-369) course.
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.
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:
|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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Today, we are excited to announce the release of our Network+ (N10-007) course.
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.
Designers are so cool and we have an awesome team of them (Bill, Chris and JJ). They make our courses “pop,” hold attention, depict a learning scenario, and many more types of themes. It’s not always easy to be creative on demand which is why the way they work together is amazing.
Our key contributor award is given quarterly to an individual or team that goes above and beyond in demonstrating our “why” – Improving Employability Every Day – or core values: ease, value, and trust.
It gives me great pleasure to announce our latest Key Contributor Award recipient, Bill Wilhelm, based in our Cedar City, UT, office. The last five (5) years Bill has been “steady Eddie” when it comes to consistency in being a great team player, can-do attitude, and one to display our core values when interacting with other LearnKey team members. Jason Manibog, LearnKey’s Senior Instructor had this to say about Bill:
“I can always count on him to do great work and do it on time. If I need something last-minute, such as a flyer or brochure or other graphics piece, he is always there, willing to help out. His work on our courses channels our want to improve employability everyday. He is an absolute pleasure to work with.” Another member of the leadership team, Beth Ciaramello, raves about his can-do attitude. “Bill has helped the job ready team without hesitation! His ideas are creative and innovative but keeps our input in mind AND hits deadlines with accuracy. He also has an amazing sense of humor!”
Sheena Chamberlain, our Quality Control and Content Publishing Manager, sees someone who is not afraid to help out other team members any way possible. “Bill is one that I can count on for anything, and I know he will never hesitate or say no to helping out with any project (even if it’s loading up boxes or rearranging the storage room). He is a wonderful designer, a human version of Google, and consistently amazing at everything he does.”
This past week I had the honor to present Bill this award in person and it was the best part of my week. Thank you Bill for all your contributions to LearnKey as we truly feel so fortunate to have you on our team!
I arrived in Vietnam on Saturday, March 31st! Hanoi is a busy, chaotic, energetic city exploding with eastern culture. It’s incredible, the kind of Asia I have been looking for. Until now, I have felt the previous destinations were so westernized, and have enjoyed them, but was looking for something with more shock.
Vietnam is that something more.
Everything in the city is risky. Crossing the street felt like you were swimming through a heavily populated school of fish but instead of water you are swimming through “zebra crossing,” in the concrete jungle and the fish are thousands of motor bikes that swarm around you. Stay at a steady pace and just keep walking, it may not comfortable for everyone, but once prepared, it is an energizing adrenaline rush. Eating street food is risky because of high potential for food poisoning or because of the police coming by to usher people and tiny tables off the sidewalk. If they came by in the middle of your meal, you would have to grab you table and food and pretend to move inside until they left. If you were lucky, they just did a quick drive by. In the previous cities we had Uber as a transportation option, here it is Grab Bike, a motor bike shared with a local driver. They offered a helmet so the risk of injury is slightly lessened, until they just drove on the wrong side of the road.
Because of the French colonization, the architecture is colonial, bursting with life down tiny alleyways, that would open to a beautiful maze of skinny, tall story homes where the ground floor served as their place of business and the floors above where the multi-generational families live. Each mini-street has a different craft, party city street, bike repair street, food street, lamp street, plastic container street, casket and flower street, small appliance street, like a Vietnamese version of Home Depot disorderly organized around the city.
The culture is a combination of everyone out for themselves and a strong sense of community. The sidewalks are where the community gathered. They were for everything but a walkway. Sidewalks were filled with live roosters, dead roosters, dogs chained up, crates filled with various small animals, millions of motor bikes both parked or driving around the obstacles, tiny baby furniture, blood, haircuts, shaves, markets, dead fish, you name it, it is happening on the sidewalk.
We were lucky enough to get out of the city we trekked through the wildly unexplored jungles and national parks. Jungles, trekking to the caves of Hang Va, where we learned of the Son Dong cave system that is still unmapped and mostly undiscovered. The caves we entered have been explored by less people than have summited Mount Everest.
During the trek to the caves I was overcome with emotion when I thought of the young Vietnamese and American soldiers trekking through the jungle during war. The thick overgrown jungle, sharp rock formations, and muddied ground made up the path that we followed. I couldn’t imagine fighting a battle in these conditions. Respect and admiration for our Vietnam war vets filled my heart.
Inspired when I returned to the city, I went to prison. The Hao Lo Prison, known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” where we saw pictures of the pleasant time the POWs had during their stay, like a lovely Christmas celebration, or friendly basketball and volleyball games, did not seem to add up when you compared that to the emaciated figures they had when they were released. Interesting perspective. I am sure the truth is somewhere between the American version and the Vietnamese version.
On the menu:
Street food is a must, Pho, Obama’s Bun Cha vs street Bun Cha, competition between Bahn Mi 25 and 14 (personally, 25 for the win),
Hanoi Social Club and Lifted Café are a delish break from eastern foods with items like mango French toast, Social Club Burger that rivals most restaurant burgers in the US, and the happy hipster avocado toast.
Vietnamese coffee foamed up with egg white and sweetened with sugar, appropriately named Egg Coffee, was addictively satisfying.
Our boat rower in Tam Coc is informing us of the favorite foods in the very little English he could speak, eating dog, cat, goat, pig, and sugar cane that tasted like a slightly sweet bark or a tree.
I thought dog and cat would be to… exotic for me, therefore I had to pass on the consumption.
Remote Year (month 3 away from old home with my travel family)
This month I lived three lives. One life last month of night shift work, another life was a social life with the RY Kanyinis which dipped into the night shift work life, and an independent life, thanks to the accessibility of Grab Bike (and of course, the Internet) to jump into my own adventures. Until now, I have relied heavily on the RY program and its events/planning.
Building my experience was not lacking negative emotions. I felt a weird pressure when I was not doing enough of the touristy stuff, or exploring the same things that other remotes did, or even liking the same things as much as others did. But then, I had a candid little chat with myself, saying, “you’re not a tourist. You came on Remote Year to immerse yourself into the local cultures. To challenge yourself.” Duh, and like that, a switch flipped, I felt more open to be myself, let my guard down, became more conformable. I spent time exploring the city, hung out with people that I did not typically, and found my new normal. I am not sure if it has been because of the time on the program (like dog years, remote year time is the 1-year equivalent), my enjoyment of Vietnam, or some cosmic force, but I have felt like a citizen of the world, acclimating to this city as if it was my own.
Lived locally. Worked locally.
Now, I look forward to seeing what Africa has to offer.
Courses now available to thousands of middle and high schools making learning how to code and gaining multiple Microsoft Technology Associate Certifications (MTA) a lot easier.
“The LearnKey programming pathway is designed to take the student from entry level – or their existing skill set – to the professional level, through multiple certification programs with the latest software updates and techniques,” says Craig Bushman, Vice President of Marketing for Certiport. “We are pleased to make these courses available on the GMetrix testing technology platform.”
One of the benefits to LearnKey’s video-based training is the ability to address multiple learning levels in the classroom, utilization of scenario-based learning, and the ability to use GMetrix practice tests for each certification course. This gives students more hands-on experience.
“We want learning solutions that can be used both in and out of the classroom that are engaging and effective,” says Jeff Coruccini, LearnKey’s CEO, “this is at our core when creating these courses to help improve employability every day, Coruccini goes on to say.”
*Source: InformationWeek, January 22nd, 2018 article, “Ten most In-Demand Programming Languages of 2018” cites many sources.
LearnKey, a Better Learning Systems Company, provides hundreds of video-based IT and Career Ready employability skills certification training worldwide to thousands of schools, vocational rehabilitation institutions and social service organizations that promote learning critical employability skills. Established in 1987, LearnKey offers decades of experience with engaging, interactive, and flexible training that is accessible anytime, anywhere. Visit us at www.learnkey.com, or follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/learnkey, and on Twitter: @LearnKey.
GMetrix is a leading provider of testing technology for the IT certification industry specializing in both concurrent and simulated solutions. Their educational tools are designed to prepare individuals for the effective use of technology in the business environment. GMetrix works with partners throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North and South America to provide educational tools designed to prepare individuals for the effective use of technology in the business environment. For more information, visit https://www.gmetrix.com/.
Certiport, a Pearson VUE business, is the leading provider of certification exam development, delivery and program management services delivered through an expansive network of over 14,000 Certiport Authorized Testing Centers worldwide. Certiport manages a sophisticated portfolio of leading certification programs including: the official Microsoft Office Specialist certification program, the Microsoft Technology Associate certification program, the Microsoft Certified Educator program, the Adobe Certified Associate certification program, the Autodesk Certified User and Autodesk Certified Professional certification programs, the Intuit QuickBooks Certified User certification program, and the IC3 Digital Literacy certification. Certiport reliably delivers over three million tests each year throughout the secondary, post-secondary, workforce, and corporate technology markets in 148 countries and 26 languages worldwide. For more information, please visit https://www.certiport.com or follow Certiport on Twitter at www.twitter.com/certiport.
“Certiport” and “IC3” are registered trademarks of NCS Pearson, Inc. in the United States and other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.