Customized Training Solutions

The market is full of off-the-shelf certification training courses.

I've covered some of the best ones in this space, and they do indeed

offer tremendous value and unprecedented convenience. For learning a specific piece of technology, Internet-or CD-ROM-based courseware is

often an excellent choice. But a company may want its employees not

just to learn a specific piece of technology, but how that technology

fits with its own corporate mission and how it interacts with other

technologies currently in place within the enterprise. This is where

off-the-shelf training courses leave off, and customized training comes

into play. John Dalton, analyst with Forrester Research, said, "There will always

be a need for that kind of generic third-party content, because

accounting is accounting is accounting. Why reinvent the wheel?" But

Dalton points out, "When you get into soft skills, you've got to have

those core company skills at the front." Dalton says that companies are starting to become more skeptical of

third party, off-the-shelf training. Although it definitely has its

place, companies don't want third-party content for all

training "because they want more control over it. They want it

customized to their look and feel. They want to be able to extend that

beyond just one point of presence."

Alpha Net Solutions (www.alphanetsolutions.com), a full-service IT

company, takes this type of custom approach to its training courses.

While they do offer a standard fare of vendor-authorized generic

training at its public facilities, the company also offers private

classes geared towards the specific needs of its corporate

customers. "A typical request," said Ernie Baker, Director of Education

Services, "is someone would come in and say they need a custom

Microsoft SMS class. We would take the official curriculum, and hone it

down to just what they wanted to do." Baker says Alpha Net has a constant demand for custom classes. Students

would still earn the same certification, but the courses would be

tailored to reflect how a certain technology is used in that one

environment.

Darren Spohn, CEO of Spohn Training, Inc. (www.spohntraining.com),

agrees that the basics can often be covered in a "canned" e-learning

environment. "But the more complex the training, and the more

applicable to their jobs from a technology implementation standpoint,

the less you can do e-learning," he said. The advantage of a custom

course, said Spohn, is that you would learn "not just Microsoft

network, but how it applies to Novell, IP and the other technologies

that touch Novell." In reality, we live in a heterogeneous world, and

you're not likely to encounter a "pure" single-vendor shop. Learning

Cisco by itself, or Nortel by itself, has only limited utility.

Learning a specific vendor's technology, and how that technology

interacts with other vendors' technologies and how it functions in your

own specific corporate environment, however, is incredibly valuable.

This sort of learning can only be done with a custom, live course.

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