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.