As we have recently decided to start offering public training courses, my contacts have been asking me two questions; "Why now?" and, "What makes you better than other training centers." The first question comes from the fact that we've offered private training for years and have shied away from public training even when our clients have suggested we should do it. We've answered the "why now" question in a separate article which explains why we added CloudMASTER certification training to our public training schedule. In this article, I'll answer the other question, and explain why we're different, and why we believe we are better than other training centers.
We Only Teach What We Do
We have a thriving consultancy, and, although we do content marketing, training, development, and cloud, our services are interrelated. Our story tells you how. Obviously, for anything we teach, we take time to learn the flow of the curriculum to make sure the class is skillfully delivered, but the expertise comes from our experience. If we don't do it, we don't teach it. That helps us ensure that we're adding real, experience based value.
We Focus on Teaching What We Author
Currently, the only classes on our schedule, are classes CarverTC instructors have authored. Peter Lammers and I were the primary authors of the three CloudMASTER cloud computing classes currently available, and I played a role in designing the CloudMASTER certifications. We've authored other courses, such as Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and NISM Social Media Strategist classes that we offer. While we may consider offering courses we don't write in the future, for now, we're focusing on the courses we author.
We Address the Challenges of Professional Learning
One of the biggest barriers for us in terms of offering CloudMASTER certification training on a public training schedule, is that we don't like how many training courses are delivered. Sometimes training doesn't work for some people because its all day, every day. While it's good to get students out of their day-to-day life and to immerse them in a new technology, often, it's just not realistic. People come late to class (both online and on-site classes) because they have to put out fires in the morning. The may also leave class early for the same reason. Many students check out early toward the end of the day because emails are backing up and they don't want to work late into the evening doing their day job.
In total, there were four issues we wanted to address, and we believe we have addressed them in a way that allows us to provide a better training experience:
- How to reach people anywhere: This was the easy one. We addressed this by offering virtual classes using world class software (Go To Meeting) that can facilitate discussions, deliver digital handouts and other information. This lets us deliver classes anywhere where there is an Internet connection.
- Ensure students get follow up support during and after the class: To address this we went back to college to borrow the concept of office hours. We are online at several pre-defined times, after classroom hours on training weeks to answer questions, and provide additional guidance. We also hold office hours weekly for two weeks following course delivery. We also provide email Q&A for 30 days post class. That way, you can ask questions once you're back in your environment, using the knowledge and skills you gained in class.
- How to respect trainee's professional life, and keep students focused while in class: These are two different problems that have a single solution --reduced class hours. Most training centers run classes from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. They include an hour lunch and two half-hour breaks. So you spend the entire day there (with travel time to and from the training center). Of that 5.5 hours is spent in the classroom, and 2 hours is spent outside the classroom. Our classes are virtual, so there's no travel time. You can attend from home or from the office, whichever let's you stay plugged in and focused. Moreover, our class hours are from 9:00-3:00 Pacific time, with a half hour lunch, and two 15 minute breaks. That's 5 hours of focused class time. We, and other online training centers, have used this formula successfully. With no travel time and this schedule, trainees get their start of day, and end of day back for email and other work related tasks. Moreover, cutting down the amount of class time helps students focus. We can often cover the same amount of course material more effectively because students aren't distracted by work tasks, and because our class time ends before end of the day fatigue sets in. Is there time for sidebars, additional questions, and discussion of personal scenarios? Absolutely, that's what office hours and email Q&A support are for.
We feel that our method of delivery, ensuring that we're only teaching materials we know well, from a place of experience, coupled with class delivery arrangements that respect trainees professional needs, while still providing time and follow up support to address questions, provides the best possible training experience for the classes on our schedule.