OK. I did it. Today I visited the Career Assist page at Microsoft Learning, signed up for the Second shot offer therein, and got my promotion code to buy a collection online class for $35 (it added up to $37.89 actually, after I paid local sales taxes). I now have 90 days to complete Collection 5347: Installing and configuring Windows Vista which should entitle me to go after a Vista Technical Specialist credential by taking Exam 70-620 Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista Client.
At this point, I’ve completed several online courses from Microsoft Learning —specifically:
- Course 3392: Working with Windows Vista
- Course 5352: Fundamentals of the Windows Vista Startup Process
- Course 5354: Fundamentals of Windows Vista File Systems
I think that entitles me to make some observations about these offerings:
- I wish they offered a printable manual of some kind to summarize and re-present course materials. Right now, the only way to refresh concepts is to repeat the courses or to take copious notes and/or shoot lots of screenshots while inside the e-learning GUI. I’m not completely happy about either of these alternatives, but may have to learn to use both of them often and well.
- The material is generally interesting, well broken up into small digestible modules, and fairly useful. I do wish they inlcuded a built-in connection with TechNet, user manuals, and so forth, along with links to more details, so that these tools could provide more guided learning, in more technical depth as one completes individual course modules. Of course, this is pretty easy to do on your own on a multi-display set-up like mine, simply by opening another browser window to dig into stuff on one screen while working through the prepared e-learning materials on the other screen.
- Access to flash cards, or easy repeat access to review questions from these materials, would really help with exam prep and refresh stuff. Right now, there’s no easy drill and practice capability included, and I believe that both drills and practice are essential to passing cert exams and putting that knowledge to work on the job. The labs, when available, are pretty good, though.
I’ll find out if these observations stick as I dig into the aforementioned collection and will also report on same. I’m going to be looking for tips and tricks to put stuff together to prep for 70-620, using this material as my primary preparation source (I can always take up the SecondShot offer if I don’t pass the exam on the first try, and dig into other prep materials at that time).