I’m often asked, “How do you prepare a course?” That’s a loaded question, as every course is different, but I’ll share with you a few key points as to what goes into our preparing a course for you, our beloved audience, to help improve your employability every day.
First, we are all about exam readiness. WHAT we build is centered around the exam objectives for any course we are building, plain and simple. Our main goal here is to get you ready to pass the exam and achieve whatever certification you are pursuing in any course.
What I want to talk to you about today, as your humble senior instructor, is the HOW of it all, and that is what is commonly known as scenario-based learning. Here’s a quote out of an article from Massey University: “Scenario-based learning is based on the principles of situated learning theory, which argues that learning best takes place in the context in which it is going to be used, and situated cognition, the idea that knowledge is best acquired and more fully understood when situated within its context.”
To put this in our terms, we build our course material around real-life scenarios that you can use to improve your employability prospects. Here are some examples:
- A+: You, the student, take on the role of being on-boarded at a computer repair shop, where you are taken through the A+ principles of hardware, operating systems, and troubleshooting. Within the course material, you get to practice many of these concepts while preparing for the A+ certification exams.
- Microsoft Office: We are revamping our Office offerings, and in the revamped Word course (out later this spring), you learn Word by building two main documents: a resume and a term paper. This puts you into two real-life scenarios: resume writing and managing a project (a term paper).
So, we have the WHAT, which is to cover the exam objectives, the HOW, which is to use scenario-based learning to cover these objectives, and that leads us to what Simon Sinek refers to in his famous TED talk “The Golden Circle,” our WHY, which is improving employability every day.
I leave you with one scenario-based example below, a clip from our A+ course, in which we use a scenario to cover the concept of customer service. Enjoy.
Today we are excited to announce the release of our A+ (220-901 and 220-902) Series courses. Authored by LearnKey expert Jason Manibog, LearnKey’s A+ (220-901 and 220-902) Series includes the four domains that are covered in CompTIA exam 220-901 and the five domains that are covered in CompTIA exam 220-902. This series thoroughly covers the objectives in each domain and will prepare students for A+ exams 220-901 and 220-902. The A+ (220-901 and 220-902) Series includes one complete series course comprised of two series courses broken into nine domains:
- A+ (220-901 and 220-902) Series
- A+ (220-901) Series
- A+ (220-902) Series
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.
A new year always means a fresh start here at LearnKey and a fresh evaluation of what we do, how we do it, and what we can do to make our courses the best possible courses they can be and, for you, our beloved customers, a rich and interactive learning experience to help you fulfill two main goals: get certified in your area of study and be job-ready in your area of study.
The vast majority of people looking to take online learning courses are looking either for a new career or to improve in their current careers. And, we have made job readiness a major part of what we do in our courses, how we do it, and which courses we do. Again, mastering an area of study is not just about obtaining a certification. It is also about obtaining job-ready skills.
With that comes some course and schedule adjustments. I am happy to tell you that to make these goals of getting as many people certified and job-ready in their careers of choice, we have the following four major tracks we are doing in 2016:
A+ 900 Series
Our A+ 900 series, THE certification for those looking to be certified and job-ready as computer technicians, is our hallmark series for this first quarter of 2016. We have already released the A+ 220-901 series of courses and soon, the 220-902 series of courses will start to roll out. These courses will really help those of you looking to get A+ certified and get you job-ready skills for a computer technician position.
Adobe CC 2015 Test Prep Series
Adobe has a new set of exams out for their CC 2015 series. These exams are different than older Adobe exams in that they are including scenario-based questions. We are constructing a series of test prep courses which, combined with our existing catalog of Adobe courses, will get you job-ready for positions such as photo editor, graphic designer, web designer, video editor, and animation artist. And, these test prep courses will get you ready to gain Adobe Certified Associate CC 2015 certifications.
Last week, I wrote about the new Tell Me feature in Office 2016. Our Office 2016 series will not only help you get your Microsoft Office Specialist certifications, but the series will also help you be job-ready for positions to where Microsoft Office programs need to be well-known. How are we doing this? Well, I can’t give away the details yet, but we will building these courses in a way to where you view these courses through the eyes of employees managing company data using Microsoft Office. A single “company” is going to be used for the entire Office suite of courses, giving you the continuity to see how these Office apps interact, and, further sharpen your job-ready skills.
The LearnKey Programming Track
Programming jobs have been in high demand since I have been in IT. And, with the advent of mobile devices and people needing information in many different ways, programming jobs will continue to be in high demand. So I am very excited to tell you that this fall we will be launching an entire suite of programming courses, from an Introduction to Programming course (something I wish I had when I was learning this stuff) to building web applications to higher-end programming courses. Again, the focus will be getting you (if you want to get into a programming career) the job-ready skills needed to be a successful programmer.
I mentioned earlier that there are schedule adjustments and with adjustments, some programs come aboard (like our new programming track) and some programs ride off into the sunset. And for us, the program we are suspending is our Project Management suite of courses, including PMP, CAPM, and Microsoft Project courses. We do so with the goals in mind I mentioned earlier, to help as wide of an audience as possible reach their certification and career goals. You may notice that the four series of courses I’ve outlined in this blog fit a common theme: they are all series of courses geared toward people looking for a career or looking to improve their current career situations. That is the audience that makes up the vast majority of people who take online learning courses, it is the vast majority of our audience, and these adjustments are going to help us help you fulfill your certification and job-ready goals for 2016.
Today we are excited to announce the release of our A+ (220-901) Series courses. Authored by LearnKey expert Jason Manibog, LearnKey’s A+ (220-901) Series includes the four domains that are covered in CompTIA exam 220-901. This series thoroughly covers the objectives in each domain and will prepare students for A+ exam 220-901. The A+ (220-901) Series includes four domains and one complete series course:
- A+ (220-901) Domain 1: Hardware
- A+ (220-901) Domain 2: Networking
- A+ (220-901) Domain 3: Mobile Devices
- A+ (220-901) Domain 4: Hardware and Network Troubleshooting
- A+ (220-901) Series
The A+ (220-901) Series is Part 1 of a two-part series required for full A+ certification. Part 2, the A+ (220-902) Series, is scheduled for release in about a month.
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.
Hello again, your senior humble instructor, I mean, your humble senior instructor here. With a new A+ series out (and our courses rolling out on this series as I write this), I’ve fielded several questions on the topic of “what is different in the 800 vs. 900 series?” Well, I’m here to help shed some light on that and some other related questions I have been getting lately from students. So, without further ado…
Question #1: What are the major differences between the 800 and 900 series objectives?
Answer: There are three major differences. They are:
- Hardware has been de-emphasized. It used to cover 40% of the first exam in the series and now it covers 34% of the first exam. That may not seem like much, but the real de-emphasis comes from CompTIA doing a very good job streamlining hardware topics. No longer do you need to worry about memorizing a type of RAM or CPU that is way out-of-date with current market trends. The same goes for cables, especially when it comes to peripherals.
- Mobile devices have far more coverage on both exams than before. In fact, the percentage of questions has doubled on the first exam, from 9% to 18%. In addition, you will want to make sure to practice with mobile devices containing the iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems, paying particular attention to things business people do on these devices, such as configure email and install and uninstall apps.
- This is the BIG change: Troubleshooting questions are on BOTH exams now. For years, the majority (if not all of) the troubleshooting questions appeared on the second exam. Now, you can expect about 25-30% of the questions on each exam to cover troubleshooting situations. The 901 exam has hardware and network troubleshooting while the 902 exam has software troubleshooting. And both exams will have questions on troubleshooting mobile devices.
Question #2: Are there simulation questions on the test?
Answer: Indeed there are. The good news is our courses, workbooks, and post-assessment tests will help you get ready to take on those simulation questions. As I always say, practice makes perfect. The more you practice concepts such as determining what computer one needs given a set of requirements, setting up small networks (wired and wireless), working with command prompt commands, and performing Windows installations and repairs, the better-equipped you will be for these exams.
Question #3: If I passed the 801 test, can I take the 902 test and have my A+ certification?
Answer: NO! The 800 series and 900 series are different. To be A+ certified, you either need to pass both the 801 and 802 exams or pass the 901 and 902 exams. Of course, I would recommend the 900 series as the objectives are a far better fit for today’s A+ technician compared to, say, four years ago.
By the way, the 800 series will be retired in June. So if you are halfway there, you have (as of this writing) about four months to finish the 800 series certification. If you have not started, I would go with the 900 series.
Here is my final observation: From having passed both tests recently, I can tell you that troubleshooting as a whole is far more emphasized than in previous series. When you get a troubleshooting question, be the person in the question trying to solve the problem. And then think “what would I do here?” This will make answering those questions more natural than just trying to guess an answer.
Hello, everyone! I come to you today with some exciting news. Over the next month, we are going to start rolling out the A+ 900 series of courses (220-901 and 220-902 to be exact). To cover the two exams, we have split the overall course into two series of courses, one for each exam.
My co-worker and Mr. Multitasker himself, Brad Washburn, interviewed me while we were filming this course a while back. Back then, I knew the answers to most, but not all of the course questions. For instance, I was asked how long this series is: Well, I have some numbers for you: The 220-901 course will cover the four domains on the 220-901 exam:
- Mobile Devices
- Troubleshooting Hardware and Networking
This course will include roughly eight hours of instruction, several hundred pre-assessment and post-assessment practice test questions, and a workbook consisting of over 150 pages of practice exercises, all geared toward not only sharpening the job skills typical for an A+ technician, but, more importantly, getting you ready to pass the 220-901 exam.
Soon after we release the 220-901 course, we will start rolling out the 220-902 course. The 220-902 course covers these five domains:
- Windows Operating Systems
- Other Operating Systems
- Software Troubleshooting
- Operational Procedures
This course has much more in the way of hands-on software installation and configuration, so the course contains about 15 hours of video instruction. The course will also contain several hundred pre-assessment and post-assessment practice test questions, and a workbook containing over 200 pages of practice exercises, again with the intent of sharpening your job skills and getting you ready to pass the 220-902 exam.
Speaking of exams, the 900 series of exams was recently released. So, as part of our ensuring that we are covering the material in a manner to best prepare you to become A+ certified, I went and took both exams (it was my second go-around with A+, having obtained my first A+ certification several years ago). The test questions mapped very well to the test objectives, as is the norm with CompTIA exams. There were both multiple choice and simulation questions on the exam. By simulation questions I specifically mean that you are presented with something that needs configuring. Many of our post-assessment practice questions are labs which simulate possible test scenarios.
So with that, I have five big exam tips for you:
- Go through the objectives for each exam thoroughly. Every exercise in our project workbooks clearly map to one or more test objectives. Know these objectives well.
- For anything software-related, such as installing operating systems, repairing operating systems, configuring a wireless router through a web interface, or working with the command prompt, get some practice. Having hands-on practice is key to your success on the exam.
- On the test itself, take the time to thoroughly read the question before choosing an answer. One or two words in a question can totally affect the correct answer for the question. You have slightly over one minute per question. Believe me when I say that is plenty of time per question. So, take your time.
- Again, on the test itself, when you read a question, put yourself in the situation as if you were the technician trying to solve whatever problem the question is asking. This is especially true for troubleshooting questions, which make up about 30% of each exam.
- Finally, we present this material in the way in which CompTIA says things should be done. Know those methods for the test. Though we do have a lot of detail in the video portions of the course, take the time to go through the project workbooks as they will have even more details regarding what CompTIA holds as standards and methods for an A+ technician.
With that, I’m going to get back to helping put the finishing touches on these courses. In the meantime watch this space for further updates. Have a nice day!
Hello, it’s me, your humble senior instructor hoping you all had a nice Thanksgiving. I sure did because my football team gave me a nice birthday present with a victory over the weekend!
So, today I want to update you on a couple of items we brought up in previous blogs. First, during the first half of our filming the A+ 900 series, Brad asked me a few questions about the course, which I attempted to answer. Now, we are wrapping up filming on the second half of the A+ course, so I can fill you in on some more details.
First, we are going to be releasing this course in two parts: one for each of the 900 series exams (220-901 and 220-902 for those of you who live by exam numbers). Both will be released early in 2016, about a month apart. We are going to this model of one course for each exam for one reason: to keep your focus on one exam and not worry when studying about which topic is on which test.
Secondly, in addition to the pre-assessment and post-assessment tests, the courses will have several mini-quizzes in the middle. On many occasions, after a unit is complete you will see my smiling face asking a review question. This will give you a chance to pause (or rewind), think of an answer, and then see how you are progressing with the material. I know when I am studying for an exam, I like to have a lot of reinforcement of the material, so we are doing plenty of it in this course.
Thirdly, I do believe you will find some of the segments quite entertaining as well as educational. How can a topic like A+ be entertaining, you wonder? Well, you will just need to find out when the course is released.
That’s my update on A+. Before I go, I want to give you a gentle reminder on a very cool Microsoft promotion. It is called the Second Shot promotion and it is good until January 16. Basically, it means for any Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exam you take between now and January 16, if you happen to not pass the exam, you get a second chance at it for free! For those of you who tend to put off taking an exam because you are not sure if you know the material well enough, what better way to find out than to basically take a free shot at one? I know I will be taking advantage of this in the next few weeks.
Well, I hear the “let’s go film” call so I will talk to you all later. Be well and take care.
With the release date just a few months away, our new CompTIA A+ certification course, featuring LearnKey expert Jason Manibog, began filming this week. I was in the studio on Wednesday taking some behind-the-scenes photos, and had an opportunity to ask Jason some questions about the new course.
How long have you been teaching A+?
Eight years, give or take a few months on either side.
What steps did you take in preparing for this course?
I went back and looked at notes for all of the times I taught the current course (the 2012 objectives) and then studied hard on what is new in the 2015/2016 version. Plus, I try diligently to keep up with answering this question: What does a PC/device technician need to know how to do these days? That answer is a lot different now than even three or four years ago. This new A+ course will really reflect that. For the course itself, we established a theme behind the course (you will have to wait to see it) and we think this “theme” really matches up well with not only getting one prepared for a job as a technician, but to (of course) pass the A+ certification.
How long will the new A+ course be?
Long enough to cover our goals for the course: to get one job-ready for a computer technician position but also prepare well for and pass the A+ exam. The actual lengths of the courses are: 8 hours for 220-901 with a 180-page workbook and 15+ hours for 220-902 with a 200+ page workbook. The length of time it takes a student to complete the course is determined by the student. It all depends on how much time one is willing to put into watching the video portion of the course and doing the practice exercises, labs, and tests.
How will this A+ course differ from the 2012 course?
Besides the new exam numbers (220-901 and 220-902)? First of all, there will be two distinct courses as there are two distinct exams. I (and many others in the industry) really believe that to best prepare for the test, one should focus on one test at a time. These courses will reflect that. We are also covering the material just about in the exact order as presented by CompTIA. This will make it easier for anyone taking this course to study the test objectives pretty much line-by-line. Finally, this course will simply reflect what has changed in the computer industry since 2012. Just as one example, mobile devices are far more prevalent now than they were even four years ago. So a technician needs to know how to support these devices and the different operating systems used in these devices.
What resources will the new A+ training include to help students pass the exams?
Besides the video portion, this course will include a very robust workbook full of information to review the test objectives, keys to passing the tests, and most importantly practice exercises. If there is one big tip I can give anyone trying to pass a certification test, it’s this: PRACTICE the test objectives. Each course will have a robust project workbook full of tables of information, a review of the concepts covered in the exam objectives, and plenty of practice exercises, all geared toward preparing for the A+ exams. Plus, we will have, for each of the two courses, several hundred practice test questions in the form of pre-assessments and post-assessments. Finally, we will have practice labs to use to further enhance the skills needed to pass the exams and do an outstanding job as a computer technician.
What is your favorite part (so far) of the new A+ course?
Without a doubt, my co-workers. From the storyboard team that helped me design this course, to the input from sales and technical support, to the writing and quality control teams and, last but certainly not least, the video production crew here in Salt Lake City, who are as professional as they get yet keep me laughing every minute.
Hello, it’s me again, your humble senior instructor. From time to time, I will be sharing with you all what we are working on, so that you will know what training and assessment courses to look forward to over the next couple of months.
My team and I have just started work on the next series of A+ certification exam courses, otherwise known as the 900 series (exams 220-901 and 220-902 for those of you totally into exam numbers). This course is due to be released this winter and, without revealing too much (after all, you need to have something to look forward to, right?), here is what our plans are for the next edition of A+:
- This will be a very interactive and engaging learning experience consisting of video-based instruction, a comprehensive project workbook, and test prep material that will sharpen your skills for the two A+ exams.
- This course will also prepare you for the typical job an A+ certified person has – that of an entry-level IT technician.
- This course will enhance your knowledge of computer hardware, mobile devices, networking, troubleshooting, and working with operating systems.
This course is going to continue to use the training methods we incorporated in our recently released Network+ course, that of outcome-based learning. Learning is always more fun and engaging when you have finished outcomes you can use to tie back to real-life situations and, of course, passing certification tests.
So, stay tuned as we work to bring you a truly engaging A+ learning experience that you will want to give, well, an A+ grade!
Just over two years ago I took over the role as CEO of LearnKey, Inc, a trusted educator for over 26 years. Our educational courseware has helped over a million students to acquire professional development education, career ready skills, and industry recognized IT certifications for career development, new job preparation and or advancement.
Looking back, one of the greatest experiences and most exciting things to see has been the creation of our LearnKey Veteran Services team – a three year old dedicated group of support and career counselors within the company who currently support over 100 U.S. veterans transitioning from the military who are ready to work in entry and advanced IT Technical Support positions. Most of these veterans started gaining IT experience in the service, and are now completing six to eight months of online education and achieving globally recognized IT certifications from CompTIA, Cisco, Microsoft, ISC², Mile2, and more. Most of them will have at least one (if not multiple) certifications in the coming weeks and they will be looking for employment opportunities.
We are not a recruiting company, and want no fee – just the opportunity to help these great job candidates, who served our country and are job ready, find rewarding IT career pathways in U.S. companies.
Help us find our returning veterans career paths – If you own, lead, or work for a company interested in interviewing these veterans and quality tech support candidates, please contact Brian Tremelling, LearnKey Veteran Services Program Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly. Additionally, hiring veterans can allow employers to take advantage of tax incentives (when applicable) and many of the veterans who go through our program qualify.
Again, please join us in supporting our transitioning troops by interviewing one of our job ready veteran candidates for your IT support needs. There is no cost to tap into this network of talented individuals, only opportunity.
Thank you and with kind regards,
CEO LearnKey, INC.