Virtual Training

Over the course of a few short weeks, the Covid-19 Pandemic has driven a focus towards almost a complete virtual reality. During this situation, became laid back and relaxed considering this as an everlasting holiday. However, one day, I took a journey towards my past and did some accounting of how time was spent during my previous so-called normal Professional Routine.  

I realized that I had become engaged with my official assignments and follow-ups constantly. This had forced my work life to become monotonous with lowered upgradeability of skill sets. To upgrade my knowledge, I used to read multiple books and watch as many videos that were available. Mostly, this was time-consuming and in bite-sized fragments of learning. Bringing this knowledge together into one concise learning outcome was un-imaginary, due to random fragments of knowledge. 

Finally, during COVIDit was time to upgrade my skills and was presented with an opportunity to attend a couple of virtual training sessions. Here started a new journey of education for me. The first day’s session started when the participants had to switch between mute and unmute due to external disturbances. Introductions were done and expectations were set. We started asking questions vocally and the trainer was patient enough in addressing every question. I had a few silly ones which I was too shy to ask and hence, typed them into the chat feed and I received prompt responses. I suppose others too had similar experiences. My learning experience was almost like classroom-based physical session except for the face to face and physical experiences. 

Virtual training reduce cost and lost time. At the end of the day, the important factor is finding the answer to the questions 

Did I gain Applicable Knowledge with fewer efforts and time, and not in fragments? “Yes”.  

I do agree that there are pros and cons to both forms of learning. However, based on my experience, I am sure both outcomes are pretty much equal in terms of the goals achieved.  

Knowledge Gained at Convenience. 

 

By : Nanda Kumar (Ananda) Ananda

Senior Instructor/Consultant at Red Education

 

Red Education: Bringing IT Education to You

Virtual IT Training

Red Education is committed to an excellent standard of training delivery that adds real value to your learning experience. This experience we bring to you with your convenience and practicality first in mind.

“Bringing IT education to you” can literally mean coming to your premises and running the course at one of your locations. It can also mean the scheduling  of a “virtual classroom” course, which we can tailor to suit your time zone no matter where you are in the world.

For this festive season, we are pleased to offer a 20% discount off all our course prices during the months of December and January, including all Virtual classes. Visit our Class Schedules or request a date for your own on-site training delivery for any of our market leading vendors’ courses

Read A Manual – No Training Needed

I don’t know about you but I like reading books, just not computer books or manuals. Yes, I use manuals, but only as a reference to look up specific things. I lose focus and it takes too long to find the relevant details. This holds true with watching videos; Play. This is boring. Fast forward, wait, what was that? Then rewind… It is not exactly a thriller.

Sure, many have passed exams by just reading the manual. But they probably never really got much out of this experience until they had the opportunity to get their hands dirty. You could be lucky enough to get challenged to implement a new technology you just learned about. Until you first cause a major interruption. Then you might not feel so lucky after all.

The alternative would be setting up a home lab, but that has it’s own challenges. How many Virtual Machines (VM’s) can you run on your laptop? Multiple network interfaces? I remember buying a (not so) cheap used router, to only discover that I won’t be able to source the right firmware. You also won’t find have a person to guide you through the manual.

The point I want to make is that a manual is not an alternative to a well conducted and structured instructor led course. The best courses include detailed manuals which cover everything that is needed by the majority of users – without having to read through exotic features. They provide students the opportunity to listen and interact with the instructor, and other students. Here you can learn what is relevant to your environment.

The other important aspect is the practical part of a course. The time allocated to get valuable hands-on experience. Students receive their own dedicated lab setups and manuals that guide them through a real life scenario. A manual is merely a guide, you need an instructor to teach you more than what the page tells you.

In our time, cloud technologies take a vital role to provide a great lab experience. They are now sophisticated enough to enhance not only classroom based training, but can also provide a rich virtual training experience.

As an instructor, my experience shows that personal interaction with students is what provides the best learning experience. Here you will meet smart people who love technology, and are eager to learn something new. See you in class soon.

Perspective: A Trainers Experience Of Labs

There are few types of Labs:
a) A grade lab (99% working): close to perfect experience
b) B grade lab (75% working): Some impact to attendees/trainer stress level slightly higher
c) F grade lab (0-50% working): Do NOT even attempt to use this type!

Technical training lab environments can be a complex thing with lots of moving parts and dependencies. When a training class has been allocated an A grade lab, it is typically smooth until sunset on the last day of training. Attendees will have no problems going through the labs if they follow the step by step guide. The trainer would normally ask less of “Is everything OK?” and he gets to enjoy the peace and quietness of students diligently running through their lab exercises.

Attendees would exclaim with joy and often said in unison “It worked!”. It would however leave the trainer somewhat feeling unfulfilled because there is no challenging scenario to solve. Perhaps it is a good thing not to have too many challenges though!

Sometimes, trainers do face difficulties in tackling the lab issues that should work but attendees proclaim it does not. There are 2 options. A quick and 90% sure to work option is to ask the student to REDO the labs. Oddly enough that almost always works! Alternatively the trainer can now demonstrate his troubleshooting skill.

On the occasion of obtaining a “B grade” lab, trainer will have to be skillful enough to navigate through it. Sometimes he will also have to pray hard that the Lab Administrators are readily available for support even if it means waking them up in the morning. When the Lab Administrator says he is 5 minutes away from the lab’s location and he says the same thing again 1/2 hour later then the trainer should know by now that everyone is in trouble!

On a serious note though, this could potentially impact on the attendee’s patience and also confidence. Sometimes attendees would prefer not to have additional challenges outside the box. Time management of the crisis is very important and the trainer should keep track of it. If troubleshooting the issue takes longer than it should, it is time for the trainer to make a swift decision to carry on, else it may impact on further exercises during the course.

Last but not least if a trainer gets a lab, he should immediately realise it is an F grade that when he is sweating more and everything felt like 56kpbs. Avoid it at all cost, period.
I must proudly say most of the time Red Education labs are well managed and of A grade functionality and quality. Of course labs are complex sets of systems, networking, hardware and software, and they do fail sometimes, but it’s how these issues are handled that makes the real difference in a learning environment.

I am equally proud that the team of Red Education’s Lab Administrators are very efficient and friendly. This meant a lot to the students and their confidence in the trainer, the labs and also the training centre that they engaged with…:-)

Hon Ming Chan

How can Cloud help with IT Training?

Cloud is the logical evolution of Compute Power moving from an owned resource to a utility. In his book ‘The Big Switch’, Nicholas Carr likens the utilisation of electricity at the turn of the previous century, to what is happening now in the IT industry. As such, Cloud has been made possible primarily through the technological advances that machine virtualisation has provided. Just as technological advances in the late 1800’s allowed longer distribution lines for Electricity, leading to electricity becoming a utility.

According to the NIST Definition of Cloud Computing, the five essential characteristics that cloud computing systems must offer are:

  • On-demand self-service, to enable users to easily provision what they require without needing the assistance of cloud provider personnel
  • Broad network access, enabling access from a multitude of different devices
  • Resource pooling, derived mainly from the capability provided through virtualisation
  • Rapid elasticity, providing on-demand computing, hence the ability to ramp up and down as required
  • Measured service, the key to Cloud, only pay for what you use

Cloud is broken up into a number of Service Models, or ‘as a Service’ offerings, with the three main service types being Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Along with this, we have a number of Deployment models with the two main arguments being for Public Cloud as opposed to Private Cloud. Many organisations see the benefits of Public Cloud, but require control over some systems, which has led to the adoption of Hybrid models, where they make use of some services in the Public Cloud and others hosted in their own Private Cloud.

For organisations offering IT Training services, the Public Cloud is an attractive option for hosting lab environments for various instructor-led or even virtual deliveries. Of the essential characteristics that a Public Cloud offers, the On-demand self-service enables the IT Training provider to spin up the required number of machines, dependant on student registrations for the course. The broad network access allows students to use the device they desire, and through resource pooling and rapid elasticity, students are ensured the performance they require to complete their practical components. On top of that, the Training Provider benefits from not having to host their own costly data-centre to provide the lab environment required for training. The IaaS service model is an attractive option for IT Training organisations. Red Education uses IaaS in the Public cloud to deliver a premium training experience for a number of the courses they offer.

 

Written by David van Gemert

View David’s Bio Here

Virtual Instructor Led Classroom Training. Practical, real-time and effective.

The challenge of maintaining a skilled workforce is a tremendous one in our fast paced knowledge economy.

While quality staff training is incredibly important, the need for convenient, budget and time saving methods is becoming increasingly imperative. One of the trends or options in this regard is Virtual Instructor Led classroom Training (VILT). According to a white paper by iLinc video and audio conferencing firm, VILT allows students to join courses from the convenience of their own homes or offices, reduces travel budget and even reduce the carbon footprint associated with travelling.

VILT can be very engaging, interactive and valuable if done by its experts. Esri, the geographic information systems firm indicated the significant difference between quality VILT and tedious virtual power point presentations with questions at the end.

Red Education’s VILT is delivered by instructors not only experts in their respective fields, but also experts in the delivery techniques of value-add VILT. These instructors well understand the need for interactive, engaging and quality driven virtual educations. Red Education’s VILT courses are aided with the frequent use of virtual white board techniques.  White board drawings done during the virtual sessions further explain complex concepts and achieve full student comprehension.

Full lab access is available to students during the Virtual Instructor Led Training sessions. Our instructors assist students with all their lab issues in the same manner as they would do in a physical classroom. The labs are available to students 24/7 for the full duration of the VILT course.

VILT can in many aspects present further interactivity options to students. Red Education uses a virtual classroom technology that is best of its class. This technology allows all students to ask questions at the same time using the chat panel. Shy students who might have avoided asking questions in a physical classroom can comfortably ask their questions and get their answers privately in their chat panels. A student can virtually raise his/her hand for a question or even ask his/her question at any time using his/her phone or microphone.

Red Education endeavors to offer its valuable clients flexible training options. VILT is available to your organization side by side with our industry recognized physical ILT.

 

By Wasfi Bounni, Senior Instructor/Consultant

Read Wasfi’s Bio