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Simplified Training based on your suggestions

by on ‎11-23-2010 09:17 AM

                In Learning Services we are always looking for ways to provide the training our partners and customers need, in a format they can use, in a timeframe that is closely related to product releases. We responded to the desire partners have to not lose the opportunity cost by sending administrators and developers to training for an entire week by offering virtual classroom courses. We listened when we were asked for a way to get answers to questions outside of the normal classroom hours by offering the Anytime Learning Subscriptions. Now we heard the call for more hands on and globally acceptable training examples—so we are rewriting some courses and changing the purpose of each course a bit.


                First we are looking at the Core Web Developer course. We call it the core course since there are many other courses that supplement this main Web Developer certification course. In the past we crammed as much as we could into the web developer course—everything from mashups, to SData, to loading xml files into the database. While these are all worthwhile tasks we cannot consider them a core development task. We realized this core class could not hold everything we wanted to put into when we developed the Master’s Series courses. These courses are offered at no additional cost to anyone that has an active Anytime Learning Subscription. The Master’s Series courses dive deep into a subject and are designed to be completed in anywhere from four to eight hours. We developed several courses that just would not fit into the Core Web Developers course and this model has served you well based on the feedback we have received.


                When we took a good look at the Web Developer course and its purpose we realized that it is really designed as a certification course. A student leaving the course should know enough to build a typical web-based customization from start to finish. We talked with a number of past students and asked what sort of customization would be real world enough? The answer was nearly unanimous—projects. Projects that are tied to Tickets, Accounts, and Contacts would be the perfect fit. Several Partners spoke up and mentioned that this model fit several verticals from a law firm to a software development company. Moreover it is globally recognized and uses many of the built in entities better than our current examples. No more Senators!


                How does this new course fit into the overall training offering? This is where it gets really interesting for a student. First the certification process does not change at all. You still attend the Web Developer, Engineer, LAN Developer, or Implementing course for certification. These courses will be revised to give you the core skills needed to accomplish the certification. Anything not related to certification will be added to one of three locations: Master’s Series Course, Anytime Learning Subscription, or on occasion, a stand-alone course. This means that someone paying for classes should expect to pay for a new developer to attend a developer course and have a current anytime learning subscription. That is it! Your new developer (or administrator or end user) can attend the certification course at the same fee and then attend any of the Master’s Series courses for domain specific knowledge. This new-to-SalesLogix developer can also watch any of the course videos within the anytime learning subscription while not in class.


                While discussing this with students the question that seemed to come up was: “How do we learn something we do not yet know we need to learn?” Which meant to me that in the past students would look at Learning Services as a place where they found out about the newest offerings and what has changed in the product. We have good news here as well. Our new Web Developer course launching on January 1, 2011 will include the core components of the existing course. It will be based on version 7.5.3 of the current product. When a new revision of the product or feature release is made we will offer a simple upgrade or refresher for current students. We will not rewrite the course in these cases. We will simply update any courses with a refresher that will allow a student to “catch up” on the latest changes. This means ten versions from now a student that attended the new 7.5.3 course should be able to simply watch ten refresher videos with related hands on exercises. These refreshers may be videos, or simply in the form of a PDF. The changes may affect more than the core classes and we will continue to update the courses as major releases warrant those changes. These refresher courses will be published in the usual locations but specifically is where I would keep an eye out.


                The days of attending training just to learn that one change are gone. If you are a current Web Developer that was certified on 7.2.X then you have the core that you need. Now just start attending Master’s Series courses one day a month and keep an eye out for the refresher material. The cost of staying current on SalesLogix development subjects is the initial cost of certification + Anytime Learning Subscription + 1 day per month lost opportunity cost.


                Let us know what you think! Send your feedback through the comments or to Look for these changes starting in January 2011.

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