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Do I Take a Class?

Want to ramp up on the latest version of MS CRM? Thinking about becoming certified? There are a number of options available to you. You can choose from self study, take eLearning, or study in a classroom with an instructor. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these choices. Let’s look at classroom based or instructor led training (ILT) more closely.

In this article, we’ll explore the factors that may influence your decision regarding whether or not ILT is the right choice for you. These include: cost, time, quality of the instructor, value of other students and whether you need breadth vs. depth of information.

Cost

Yes, in terms of dollars, instructor led training is the usually the most expensive. Cost of training facilities, paying an instructor salary and travel all add up. However, instead of making a decision on the sole basis of cost, let’s look at the other factors and see if they make the cost worthwhile.

Time

Classroom based or ILT involves a commitment to a specific schedule. In many instances, the time commitment is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Blocking out the time to attend a class increases the likelihood that the subject has your full attention. The focused time in a classroom can also make learning the material easier and go much faster. And the disadvantage? Well, – no matter what other deadlines or commitments you have to meet – you are committed to showing up in a classroom at a specific time and place. However, if your schedule is so full that finding the time for a class is difficult, when would you really find the time to study on your own?

If you are taking a class to help prepare for certification, the reality is that most good instructors will highlight the “must know” information which saves you time.

Value of an the Instructor

All instructors may have the same text, but a good instructor pays attention to the verbal and non-verbal feedback in a classroom and can change direction and the content based on what is happening in the moment. Explanation didn’t go over so well? An instructor can provide another example, open it up for discussion and check for understanding before moving on to the next topic. Lab is too easy or too hard? The instructor can delete it, do it as a whole class so you get the big picture or allow more time if people have questions. This ability to change directions based on the immediate feedback from students is one of the greatest advantages of taking a class.

Good instructors also add value by bringing in real world examples from their own experiences as well as sharing information learned from students in previous classes.

Value of Other Students

We learn facts by memorizing, which most of us can do in the comfort of our own home or office.  We learn to analyze and problem solve through discussion, practice and trial and error learning.  When faced with taking a certification exam we may think it is just about learning a set of facts. But the reality is you want to be able to apply those facts in real world situations, a much higher level skill. One of the most overlooked advantages in classroom based learning is the potential for discussion and debate with your peers about how you would apply the information. Classroom discussion can allow you to experience a broad range of ideas and practices which may validate some of your own ideas as well as challenging how you think and what you do in other situations.

Breadth vs. Depth

This is one that isn’t talked about much, but typically in technical training if you want a broad overview of an entire application – taking a course is the most efficient way to go. You won’t learn all there is to know about an application in two or three days, but you will get a broad understanding of all the functionality. If you want to go into great depth on a narrow set of specific tasks, you have to spend time in trial and error practice, reading blogs, white papers, talking with co-workers – all things done outside of a class.

Is there anything else to consider? Yes, the reality is that if you’re reading this, you’ve probably had a lot of experience taking classes. So before you make your final decision – ask yourself a question, “How do I prefer to learn?” If you are comfortable in a classroom, are looking for breadth and not a deep dive into a specific topic and if efficiency is more important than, or as important as the cost, take a class.

Available training can be found at the following locations:

To locate training for CRM go to: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/training/find/findcourse.mspx

Partner Source Links


Instructor Led Training (ILT) – select Microsoft Dynamics CRM from drop down product list

E-learning

CRM Exam Prep Guides


Customer Source Links


Instructor Led Training (ILT) – select Microsoft Dynamics CRM from drop down product list

E-learning

CRM Exam Prep Guides


Susan Cooke

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