My Path to Certification: Using LearnKey’s Resources

by Brad - May 28, 2014


This article is the second in a three-part series written by LearnKey’s Online Content and Social Media Manager about achieving industry certification. Check back in a couple of weeks for Part 3.
Read Part 1

LearnKey’s training does an excellent job of covering the Photoshop exam objectives, but the exam requires that the test taker actually know how to do a task rather than simply answering multiple-choice questions about the software. While not impossible, if you have taken LearnKey’s training but never opened the software, the exam will certainly be more difficult.

In recent years, LearnKey has recognized the value of actual experience versus straight instruction. Our course workbooks have been beefed up to include comprehensive projects that allow students to apply the processes and skills they just learned from the instructor. These new project workbooks require students to actually use the software and spend some time getting to know their way around it.

LearnKey also requires our subject matter experts to not only be known in their field, but to have taken and passed the most recent version of the exam for the course they are teaching. This ensures that instructors not only study the current exam objectives, but that they have real experience with the current version of the exam. These factors combine to help students be as prepared as possible when exam time comes.

After passing the Photoshop ACA exam I intended to continue with my certifications, but life got in the way. Things get hectic when you are working full time, married to a full-time student with a part-time job, raising a family, attempting to keep up on house and yard maintenance, managing several independent blogs and websites, writing a book, and trying to squeeze in a little freelance or personal design work. Who has time and energy for extra training when the last thing you want to do at night is turn the computer back on?

Then earlier this year, LearnKey’s CEO challenged every employee to get at least one certification in 2014. Since the bulk of my job entails managing LearnKey’s website and blog, I committed to becoming certified in Dreamweaver CS6. I was able take advantage of the self-paced nature of LearnKey’s courses and watch a half hour or so of training on Saturdays in between housework and yard maintenance. This meant that my path to Dreamweaver certification was a little slower than my path to Photoshop certification, but I was still able to exceed my goal of becoming certified by June 30.


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My Path to Certification: Becoming ACA Certified

by Brad - May 21, 2014


This article is the first in a three-part series written by LearnKey’s Online Content and Social Media Manager about achieving industry certification. Check back in a couple of weeks for Part 2.

My Dreamweaver ACA Certification

Earlier this month, I earned the Adobe Certified Associate Web Communication using Adobe Dreamweaver® CS6 certification. I have used Dreamweaver for years, but I had never really considered trying to get certified. In the eight years I have worked for LearnKey I have toyed with the idea, but it wasn’t until last summer that I seriously considered taking the exam.

Last summer, LearnKey began a push toward releasing courses in a widescreen format instead of the standard 4:3 ratio we have always used. At the time, we had just finished filming about half of our Adobe Creative Suite 6 courses in 4:3 and the decision was made that these courses would need recaptured into the new widescreen format.

I was already in the process of converting our most recent courses into a mobile-friendly format, so the task of widescreen recapturing was rolled into my production processes. In the hours I spent listening to audio, following each expert’s mouse movements, and editing the recaptured footage together, the idea occurred to me that now would be the perfect time to finally get ACA certified.

In the eight years I have worked for LearnKey, the program I have used more than any other is Adobe Photoshop. While there have been changes from version to version the basic program has stayed the same, so I began my quest for certification with the ACA Visual Communication using Adobe Photoshop CS6 exam. Since I had just finished recapturing and editing the Photoshop CS6 course, I didn’t feel the need to watch the video training for a fourth time. After passing LearnKey’s Photoshop pre-tests, post-tests, and MasterExam, I felt fully confident in taking the ACA exam.

The Adobe Certified Associate is an entry-level certification. After using Photoshop for so many years I just know how to do certain things and I was able to answer many of the exam questions without even thinking about them. I learned two things from taking the exam:

  1. Anyone who has used Photoshop for as long as I have should have no problem passing the ACA exam, and
  2. Video instruction alone cannot substitute for actual time spent using the software.

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LearnKey’s Certification Challenge

by Liz - May 16, 2014


Jeff Coruccini, Chief Executive Officer of LearnKey, started this year with a goal of helping and encouraging every employee to become certified in their respective industries using our video courseware. The race was on to see which employee was going to be able to earn their certification first. The answer, drum roll please, Marian Eckley and Aaron Colborn! Both employees work out of the Salt Lake City Studio and are now Adobe Certified Associates in Premiere Pro CS6. Then, just two days later Rob McNeil, who also works in the Salt Lake Studio, earned the same certification. They like to call themselves the elite team. The jury is still out on that one.

Not only have these employees answered the challenge of become certified, but they also used LearnKey’s Premiere Pro CS6 course to earn their certifications. This gave our video production team an excellent opportunity to see firsthand what worked and what didn’t. Since then, we have been able to film and edit our Premiere Pro Creative Cloud course. We were able to take what we learned and pull those changes into our new course. We are looking forward to releasing this new and improved course and can’t wait to share it with everyone!

The list of employees who have earned certifications this year continues to grow:

  • Kim Johnson, Director of Client Services and Support, earned her Microsoft Office Specialist in Excel 2013 Certification
  • KaeLee DeMille, Technical Writer, earned her IC3 Global Standards 4 Certification
  • Brad Washburn, Online Content and Social Media Manger, earned his Web Communication using Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 Certification

As you can see Jeff’s goal of having employees become certified is catching on and changing how we produce our courses with a higher level of competence. Congratulations to all those employees who have earned certifications both this year and in previous years, and good luck to those studying to become certified!


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My Adventures With Excel…Part 1

by Chad - Apr 21, 2014


Hi, my name is Chad. I am the Accounts Receivable and Human Resources Manager at LearnKey. My adventures with Excel actually started many years ago. I have used Excel in school, work, and home since Office 95.

Late last year, I decided to prove my knowledge in both Excel and Word and get MOS certified in each. I kept putting it off because end-of-year is a busy time for me. Then earlier this year our CEO, Jeff Coruccini, asked each of us to get at least one certification by the end of May. He even offered us a bonus for each certification that we achieve. And I thought, “This will be the easiest money that I ever made. I know Excel and Word. I can pass these tests easily.” I even teamed up with Kim Johnson, Director of Client Services and Marketing. We could study together and pass the Excel exam…piece of cake.

I started to watch LearnKey’s Excel 2013 training, but decided that I already knew Excel, and I could just watch the parts that I am unfamiliar with to brush up on my skills. I watched a few sections of training and did a few labs.

As test day approached, I still felt confident that I would pass. I’ve taken and passed CompTIA’s A+ and Network+ exams, a couple of Windows 2000 exams, Certiport’s IC3 exam, and the QuickBooks exam. I even passed the HR Institute’s Professional in Human Resources exam which is the hardest exam I have ever taken. My coworkers asked if I was nervous. I confidently told them, “No.”

On test day, I went into our in-house testing center and signed in with our proctor. As I started the exam, my confidence remained high. I worked my way through the test, but soon my confidence began to falter. I thought I was familiar with formulas, but I encountered formulas that I have never used. Concatenate? I don’t even know what that means. How do I use a formula when I don’t even know what the word means? Well, Excel kind of walks you through formulas, so I think I figured it out.

But, wait…where did all my time go? I’m not finished. I rushed through as much of the test as I could in the few minutes remaining. When the clock ran out, I anxiously awaited my test score. Well, I’m sure you can guess why there will be a Part 2 to this blog post. I FAILED. I immediately thought, “What? I have never failed a certification exam. That has to be wrong.” But, yes. I failed. I scored a 691. I needed a 700.

I decided to go back to the Excel 2013 training. Thank goodness for LearnKey’s self-paced training. I can fit it into my schedule when I have some free time. I will soon take the Excel exam again and this time I will pass. I will let you know how it turns out in My Adventures with Excel…Part 2.


New Course Release – Excel 2013 Formulas

by Beau - Apr 17, 2014


Like many people, I use Microsoft Excel everyday. I use it to make lists, to keep track of expenses, record sales statistics, create travel itineraries, and plan trade shows. I find Excel to be one of the best and easiest ways for me to keep track of information. Those of you who have used Excel before know that there is more than one way to accomplish a task in Excel. There are even formulas that you can use to accomplish tasks faster and more accurately.

Our newest course release is our Excel 2013 Formulas course. This course should be used in addition to our Excel 2013 course and will teach students about the formulas they can use to help them in their everyday use of Excel.

Excel 2013 Formulas

Join LearnKey expert Michael Meskers in our new Excel Formulas course. If you use Microsoft Excel for data analysis, reporting, or day-to-day tracking, this course will teach you helpful formulas and hints that will bring ease and accuracy to your work.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may continually provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed.

For more information visit our website.


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New Course Release – Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013 Part II

by Beau - Apr 02, 2014


Last month I posted about our production team’s goal to release two courses every month. I am excited to announce that they met that goal! Last week we released our Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013 Part II course. This course is the second part to our Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013 Part I we released earlier this year. Our Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013 Part II course will prepare students to take exam 200-101 ICND2 and will test a students skills in LAN switching technologies, troubleshooting, and other technical skills that are essential in obtaining the certification.

Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013 Part II

In LearnKey’s Routing and Switching Fundamentals 2013 Part II course, users will gain the skills necessary to prepare for and take exam 200-101 ICND2. Users will learn VLSM, IPv6, OSPF and EIGRP protocols as well as learning to use access lists using NAT and DHCP. This course also covers 2800 and 3800 routers using various standard protocols and how ACL’s are used to protect networks. At the completion of this course users will be prepared for the CCNA Routing and Switching certification.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may continually provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed.

For more information visit our website.


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CompTIA’s CASP – A Fast Track to an IA Career?

by Brian - Mar 28, 2014


As the Veteran Services Manager at LearnKey, I work with Veterans from all over the world who are looking for ways to get into the security side of IT when whey separate from the military. Everyone knows about the CISSP certification and what that means to those who are looking to go big in an IA (Information Assurance) career. Everyone looks at the benefits of the CISSP yet they also know that it comes with an extensive exam. Don’t get me wrong, I am pro-CISSP and we help a lot of Veterans to achieve that level of certification. I do, however, want to talk about the CompTIA CASP certification and how it can jump-start the IA career you have been dreaming of.

The Advanced Security Practitioner certification from CompTIA (CASP) is a relative newcomer to the IA world. It is CompTIA’s first certification at the professional level and it was designed to fill the gap between their Security+ and the ISC2 CISSP certifications. The CISSP is often described as being a “mile wide and an inch deep” which perfectly describes every manager I have ever worked for. Yes, the CISSP is a management level certification which is great, but probably not the place you will likely start out in your new career. The CASP on the other hand is where the rubber hits the road. It includes the skills and objectives needed to keep everything running with the good guys on the inside and the bad guys put out in the cold. Here is a great video that CompTIA put together to illustrate what I am talking about:

CASP covers the latest in cryptographic applications, vulnerabilities, virtual storage, secure DNS, network design, firewalls, risk management, VoIP, and more. Those who possess the CASP certification work on the front lines, protecting and defending their networks. This is certainly the reason why the DoD directive 8570 was recently updated and they pushed the CASP certification up to the mid and high levels within their baseline approval structure (http://iase.disa.mil/eta/iawip/content_pages/iabaseline.html).

Although the CASP exam is not easy, it is much less strenuous of an exam than the CISSP. It also doesn’t come with the difficult-to-prove prerequisites. Listen to what Tom Carpenter, published author and consultant, has to say about the CASP certification and what it means to you:

The bottom line here is that both certifications are great but you really need to consider taking things in a logical order. I am excited to help our Veterans to (metaphorically) kick down the doors between them and a great career in IA, starting with the CASP certification.


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Global eLearning Company Receives “Green Light” from the New York state Department of Labor

by Beau - Mar 07, 2014


I am excited to announce that LearnKey courseware has been approved by the New York State Department of Labor and been added to the Eligible Training Provider List.

The purpose of the Eligible Training Provider List is to provide community members with a central  list of a broad range of training options that are available in communities throughout the state of New York.

“LearnKey is pleased to have met the expectations set by the New York State Department of Labor.” said Kimberly Johnson, Director of Client Services and Support. “I believe that LearnKey offers the most comprehensive and accessible online educational courseware. Our expert-lead project based courseware is interactive and contains labs that will train individuals to be prepared for industry certifications exams such as A+, Net+, Certified Associate Project Management, and prepare them with the skills they need to succeed or advance in their careers.”

Inclusion in the New York State Eligible Training Provider List required LearnKey to submit all courses to the New York State Department of Labor to make sure it complied with their high standards. Being added to the list puts LearnKey into a broad pool of training providers, who are in support of the training and employment goals of the individuals who access the list.


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Learning Photoshop CS6

by Beau - Jun 07, 2013


Last month I was presented with what seemed like a daunting task. I was asked to learn Photoshop CS6 and take the ACA certification exam, so I could assist with Photoshop CS6 training for teachers in New York. I had never used Photoshop before so I was really nervous about having to learn this new skill and then assist in training others in this program. I am not ACA certified yet, but I have learned first hand how valuable our training is when learning Photoshop CS6.

As I prepare to take the ACA exam to become Photoshop CS6 Certified I want to share six things I have learned that will help anyone who is using LearnKey training to prepare for certification exams.

Read more »


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eLearningPlanner.com – Try our new career and leadership tool

by Colin - Apr 04, 2013


We recently released a free tool for job seekers: elearningplanner.com – a leadership trait and career pathway assessment that identifies your specific leadership talents and recommends career paths based on your answers to a short (about 2 minutes) survey.

We couldn’t just leave it at that though – we LearnKeyed it up a notch by matching eLearning bundles with your selected career paths, and to top it all off, every user receives a free Career Readiness 101 course at the end! So not only do you have a prescribed eLearning plan to become career-ready for your chosen path, but we give you some free Microsoft Office basics to get you started!

To give you an idea of what kind of results you can get from the assessment, I decided to be the test subject and go through it myself and post my results.

My Leadership Talent: Patience

With the leading talent as patience, you will naturally be a dependable, persistent leader. You will be most efficient in leadership when you can manage to a process or system. You value making a difference for others and therefore naturally earn respect and create harmony in a group or team. Naturally, you will like support and serve your team, allowing them to have the praise and recognition for their accomplishments. You will do well when you have clearly defined deadlines for meeting team goals and objectives.

My Recommended Career Paths

Finance & Accounting Professional
Administrative Professional
Graphic Design Professional

Now for accuracy: notice how “Graphic Design Professional” is on my list of recommended career paths? While I manage LearnKey’s online marketing and social media, my strengths lean toward graphic design and layout. As for my leadership style – a structured, clearly defined environment has always been where I thrive the most. Scheduling projects all willy-nilly throws off my workflow and I’m nowhere near as productive as I could be. My results show exactly that!

If you’re interested in finding out what your ideal career paths and leadership talents are, be sure to visit elearningplanner.com and take the survey for yourself. Be sure to sign up for the free Career Readiness 101 course at the end!


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