One year ago, I arrived at LearnKey as the new, in-house Senior Instructor. And over the past year, I’ve filled this space with many blogs about current and upcoming courses. You may wonder, “How do you all figure out which courses to build?” Or, you may not be wondering that at all. But, one of my duties as Senior Instructor is to take in many different factors, such as industry trends, technologies in hot demand, client needs, and other factors typical to a company attempting to produce world-class certification courses and other types of courses, such as the character-building soft skills courses we released last week.
And with any schedule, sometimes things happen which cause a little shifting around of things schedule-wise. This is kind of like a chef thinking a recipe is great and then realizing a few tweaks need to be made here and there (not that I would really know much about that given my limited cooking repertoire). But in the computer training business, the only real constant schedule-wise is the frequent adjustments of the schedule. In our case, that means the course release schedule.
So what are the specifics in this schedule adjustment announcement, you ask? Well, we had one Cisco course in the works, Cisco Implementing Cisco Network Security (IINS) for exam 210-260, but with Cisco’s announcement of a new version of their Interconnecting Cisco Network Devices (ICND) exams, that number of courses jumped from one Cisco course to three Cisco courses.
This combined with a few other changes in industry trends and certifications, along with our quest to always put out courses to give you the job-ready skills needed to succeed in this ever-changing technology landscape, has caused the following adjustments in the course release schedule. Here is what the rest of 2016 looks like, broken down by quarter:
- Excel 2016
- Word 2016
- PowerPoint 2016
- IC3 Spark – You will hear plenty about this course in the coming weeks
- Cisco ICND Part 1 (Version 3) for exam 100-105.
- Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals (for exam 98-375)
- MTA Cloud Fundamentals (for exam 98-369)
- Cisco IINS (as detailed above)
- Cisco ICND Part 2 (Version 3) for exam 200-105
- Adobe Certified Associate Test Prep series for the Creative Cloud 2015 versions of Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and InDesign
- Outlook 2016
- Access 2016
Now, you may wonder “Where did the big new programming track go?” The programming track will be the big series we roll out early in 2017. Microsoft, as a matter of fact, is revamping their programming certification track. As they complete that process, we will pick that up and bring you a fun, interactive, and world-class programming track where you will learn by doing.
You can always stay updated on the latest detailed course release schedule here:
What runs through your mind when you think about Microsoft Excel? Personally, my relationship with Excel has been complicated and ranges from avoiding it at all costs to using it excessively. I have found Excel to be a useful tool for tracking personal finances and information, as well as making lists and daily schedules. I know many people may feel apprehensive about learning Excel, so I thought, who better to provide some positive insight than Jason Manibog our in-house IT expert? Recently, I visited with Jason and asked him if he could give us some advice that would be beneficial to new users of Excel. Whether you are learning Excel purely for certification purposes, or for more efficient personal use, be sure to read Jason’s feedback below.
- What advice would you give to a user new to Excel? I would start with (of course) viewing our Excel 2016 course! But to start working with Excel? I would start with building a simple file or two for something you can relate to, like a phone list of family and friends, or a budget or expenses sheet with calculations. Most importantly, make the files YOUR files as in something you can relate to.
- What type of student did you have in mind when you were creating this course? Someone trying to learn Excel and perhaps looking toward passing the Microsoft Office (MOS) 2016 Excel exam. And, someone who is trying to get important job-ready skills in Excel. The practice files are really geared toward the job-ready aspect of training.
- If a student has very little experience using Excel, how would you recommend they start using our training? Start with the very first part of the course and make sure to mix the video training with the practice exercises in the project workbook which accompanies the course.
- What are some common uses for Excel that people can use their new Excel skills for? The list is large. I would say lists, budgets, expense sheets, workout logs, golf scores (had to throw that in), or anything else that involves building a list and then, when needed, analyzing that data through charts and calculations.
- What are some of the new features in Excel 2016? There are a few, but the two which stand out to me are the “Tell Me” feature, which I brought up in a previous blog. The “Tell Me” feature allows one to search for a “How-To” and then get the actual tasks to do. For example, I can do a “Tell Me” search on “Get the Average of data” and it will lead me right to the AVERAGE function. Also, for those of you who like charts, there are several new chart types in Excel 2016, so analyze away!
Hi, everyone! I’m sitting here, taking a break from filming our first Office 2016 course, Excel 2016! We are actually closing in on finishing the filming stage of this course, and soon you will see the finished product in its entirety.
Being that this is the first course in our Office 2016 series, let me tell you a little more about this course and the other Office 2016 courses we will be producing. The courses (starting with this Excel course) have two goals: First, to get you ready for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exams. To accomplish this, we are presenting the material in the exact order of the objectives list on the MOS exams. And, the project workbook accompanying this course will also follow the order of the objectives on the exams.
Secondly, we know not everyone who takes a computer course is trying to get a certification. So, the examples we present are real-life, everyday examples which will help you become job-ready in any position needing Microsoft Office skills (Excel for this course, of course). Thus, the video-based training examples are snippets of what you can expect to see in a real-life situation for these Office programs.
Specifically, each Office 2016 course will have several hours of video-based training, pre-assessment and post-assessment tests (with a heavy focus on simulations, since that is what the MOS exams tend to have), and a project workbook which will help you get valuable practice in whatever Office 2016 program you are pursuing.
So, stay tuned as sooner than you know it, the Office 2016 courses will be in your classroom, or living room, or wherever you have a device to view these courses!
Editor’s Note: This article is Part 2 of a two-part series . “My Adventures with Excel…Part 1” can be found here.
OK. I’m back. It took a little longer than expected, but I finally forced myself to take the time to watch LearnKey’s Excel 2013 training. I sat down in early November and watched Michael Meskers present Excel 2013. Michael is a great trainer. He’s had years of experience in Excel, and it shows. He calmly and fluently explained how to use each feature.
When I got to the section about formulas, I really paid attention. If you will remember from my previous post, that was where I really struggled. I followed along as Michael explained several formulas and how to use them. I even tried them out in Excel so that I knew that I would be familiar with each one.
On test day, I was a little apprehensive because of my previous failure. As I began the test, I found that the improvements made to the testing environment were really helpful. It was a lot more streamlined and much easier to navigate.
I worked my way through the test and soon reached the end of the list. I was amazed. In my first attempt I ran out of time before I completed the entire list. This time I actually had time left to review and make sure I didn’t miss anything.
Although I was a little unsure of myself, I clicked the finish button and awaited my results. I was shocked. Not only did I pass, but I received a score of 942 out of 1,000. My previous score was 691. What a difference training makes!
My next adventure will be with Word certification. My first stop on this adventure will be LearnKey’s Word 2013 training.
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.
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.
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.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to produce and film a LearnKey course? If you have, today is your lucky day! We are going to share what our authors do while filming inside our production studio in Salt Lake City, Utah. We are going to be highlighting the work of Michael Meskers, the LearnKey expert behind our new Excel 2013 course, and freshly filmed Excel Formulas and Outlook 2013 courses.
Check out our course release schedule to find out when these courses will be available.
So what happens between deciding to produce a course and filming it? Well, it all starts with a good game plan, or officially called the course outline. Michael is a long-time LearnKey author and has filmed many courses with us, the most recent being Outlook 2013. Before arriving at the studio, Michael spent several months planning and preparing the look and feel of the course. One of his most important tasks during this time is to make sure all objectives are covered, allowing our students to prepare and pass industry certifications.
The next step is flying into the studio and getting to work early in the morning. When Michael walks into the studio first thing in the morning, there is a computer set up with the software he will need for the shoot that day. The studio crew then places a wireless microphone on him, which is followed by an audio check. Michael likes to warm up his voice with funny jokes and an occasional song, such as selections from Fiddler on the Roof. Once the audio check is good, we move on and make sure we are capturing the computer screen correctly.
Now it’s time for the fun part – we start filming. Michael is in the studio presenting the course information in front of our green screen with our camera man filming him. Back in the control room, the crew has the outline and the course objectives in hand. As he teaches, the crew is listening and checking off where each objective is covered. The crew is also watching sound levels and checking out the computer capture. If something goes wrong, we have to go back and do it all over again.
Once Michael has completed teaching the course, we go back and film the headshots. We place Michael in front of a green screen and then key out the headshots later with a cool background. Filming the headshots are usually the most entertaining time of the shoot. We love it when the author accidentally makes a mistake, which can give us the giggles. Michael is really good in front of the camera and rarely makes a mistake, but when he does make the occasional flub, it’s always funny, which is why shooting the headshots is the crew’s and author’s favorite part!
Now you know what goes into filming our courses. As you can tell, it’s a lot of work and a lot of fun.