When I read recently about a “Study/Learn Master Page” in the Cisco Learning Network’s recent learning news, at first I didn’t really get what was going on. So I decided to drill down into their information — which initially struck me as a simple re-organization of existing learning content, but is actually much more than that — to see what was up. So I took a look-see at the Study/Learn tab for the various CCNA exams (ICND1, ICND2, and the CCNA Composite exam. Here’s a partial snippet of what I found there, upon which I’ll base further discussion after its presentation:
This redesign of their learning content is intended to help exam candidates find what they “…are looking for faster by reorganizing the content according to the exam blueprint topics.” For as long as I can remember, with my history of designing the Exam Cram series with this kind of mapping information as a major consideration, and having contributed to numerous Study Guides across a variety of operating system, networking, and information security topics, this has been a guiding principle on the aftermarket for cert prep materials. But making objectives crystal clear and illuminating them directly with training materials haven’t been as explicit as I would like them to be in the way certification sponsors have built their own certification pages and descriptions. Thus, until Cisco offered up this reworking of its own materials and training — some of which still requires payment to access (as shown in the final two elements in the preceding screen snippet) and for-a-fee content typically accounts for one-third to one-half of total materials linked — I can’t think of any other cert sponsors who’ve been so straightforward and explicit in the way that they organize cert prep materials for credential candidates.
This is one great development that I hope other sponsors will themselves adopt immediately. That said, hopes may not be enough, so I encourage candidates all over the certification landscape to speak up to other cert sponsors and ask them to do for their programs and credentials what Cisco is doing. This promises to make it much easier to understand what sometimes dodgy or unclear exam objectives really mean, simply by digging into the very materials, labs, and examples that the sponsor provides to illuminate those things. I approve wholeheartedly, and encourage everybody to take a quick look-see at this, too. If you like what you see as much as I think you will, do please pass the message along to other cert providers that they should do likewise. Here’s hoping this can make a difference, and set new expectations for what cert candidates routinely find at their disposal!