Computer Performance, Windows 2003, Exchange 2003, Logon Scripts

Computer Training Courses

How to prepare yourself for computer training

Firstly I am not trying to sell you a particular training course!  This is a genuine trainer's eye view of technical computer training.

Think of computer training as climbing a spiral staircase.  The key to progress is each time you go around the spiral you reach a higher skill level.  When you reach the top the view is breathtaking!  This spiral model of learning is particularly true of Windows 2008.

How to choose the best training course

Training, educating, and advising have been a large part of my life during the last 20 years.  This is my independent advice on how to choose the training method to suit your learning style.

TrainSignal - Windows Server 2008 AdminWindows Server 2008 Enterprise Admin

Train Signal have an excellent Windows Server 2008 course.  You get over 70 hrs instruction with Ed Liberman and Ben "Coach" Culbertson.  Try their step-by-step videos and master Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Admin.

The package includes the Transcender exams, which are the key to gaining the coverted Microsoft Certified IT Professional certification.  However, the course also builds practical experience so that you can manage your network effectively once you complete the course.

Watch a Demo of Train Signal's MCITP course

Learning is for life.  Gone are the days when Philistines said 'you will never get me back into the classroom'.  Today the enlightened are demanding their training and the only problem is too much choice.

My point: with technical training, one day will not do it, one week will not do it; however, six months of working with product and training and you will reach the top of that spiral staircase.

One Goal - To choose the best course

Why take pot luck with a training course?  Take two minutes to check that your proposed course really suits your experience and learning style.  There are many training companies, do their facilities, their courses and their trainers suit you? Is classroom training best for your or would a Computer Based Training package suit you better? 

There is a new and better breed of Microsoft 2003 courses, here are some of the improvements:

  • Labs are better - they really make you think!
  • More instructor demos
  • Open ended questions replaced by multiple choice
  • Even the Appendices have nuggets of information

Two questions to ask yourself: 

  • Where are you now?  
  • Where do you want to get to?  

For help with your answers try:

  • A training needs analysis (TNA) - to identify your knowledge gaps
  • Read the course outlines - check that the course is right for you

 

Give a man a fish, and feed him for a day. 

Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for ever. (Anon)

 

My friend Mad Mick says:
Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day, drinking beer!

Three learning styles - which one suits you?

  • Instructor Led Training - Classroom based
  • Lecture
  • Computer Based Training (CBT)

Instructor led course - check list:

  • The exact software version?  Windows 2008 Server, or Professional
  • Who is the course for?  Techies, Administrators or Managers
  • Which level is best for you?  Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • People ask me 'when is the best time for training?'  As a rule of thumb, I say 4 months after you first saw the package.  Make that 2 months for an introduction course, and 6 months for an advanced course.  

Lecture

Short lectures are useful for getting an overview or flavour of a product.  Lookout for free offerings.  If you go to a computer show then book a seminar or lecture.

Computer Based Training (CBT)

Here I speak as a trainer and tell you that CBT is my biggest rival.  Ten years ago CBT was a patchy; now it is good, in 10 years it will overtake class room training.  Already, the better classroom courses use CBT simulations to illustrate abstract concepts. 

See here for the best Computer Based Training

Four tips before you book your course

1) Read the course outlines

Less than 20% of my delegates read the course outline before their training.  As a consequence many are overqualified or worse, under qualified for the course.  The result is reduced learning efficiency and frustration.

2) Check the pre-requisites

Pre-requisites give hidden messages telling you who the course is intended for.  The good news is you only need to meet 75% of the pre-requisites or else you may be overqualified.

3) E-mail the instructor before you book the course

I always welcome contact with prospective contacts.  This is a win-win situation.  You can make sure that the course will cover all the topics that you need, while I keep your requirements in mind as I rehearse the course.

4) If appropriate, book a company special 

As a trainer, it is much easier to tailor the course if all the delegates have the same aims.  Company specials avoid the course being hi-jacked by some-one who wants to run DOS applications on planet Zog.

Five tips for getting the most out of your course

1) Get into your learning 'state'

Mentally prepare yourself, switch into learning mode.  Rehearse what questions you will ask, plan how you will make notes.  Think of an interesting personal fact, you may be asked this in the introduction section. If you are serious about your course the read the topics before hand.

2) Team work

Look out for opportunities to work with the other delegates; many of the practical labs require a partner.  So on the first morning look around for a suitable delegate to team up with.  

Network with the other delegates.  Towards the end of the class suggest getting an e-mail address list of your classmates.  You may be lucky and engineer the chance to visit another delegate's site which will help you with a difficult project.

3) Help your instructor! 

Make it easy for the instructor to deliver a good course, laugh at their jokes, answer their questions, nod from time to time.  Take responsibility for your own learning.  Any fool can criticise, and most fools do!

4) Think - how can I apply this back at my work?

Buy a special little book.  Write down 2 or 3 tips from each topic that you can try when you get back to your base.

5) Plan to arrive on time.  Ask for a map to the training centre

Statistically 2 out of 10 people reading this will be late for their course because they underestimated the difficulty of finding the training site.  Make sure you are not one of them!

TrainSignal - Windows Server 2008 AdminWindows Server 2008 Enterprise Admin

Train Signal have an excellent Windows Server 2008 course.  You get over 70 hrs instruction with Ed Liberman and Ben "Coach" Culbertson.  Try their step-by-step videos and master Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Admin.

The package includes the Transcender exams, which are the key to gaining the coverted Microsoft Certified IT Professional certification.  However, the course also builds practical experience so that you can manage your network effectively once you complete the course.

Watch a Demo of Train Signal's MCITP course

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