Business Technology

Better Training

I posted Better Documentation not too long ago and since then I’ve started my CLA training through SUSE.

I’m working through their On-Demand offering and so far I’m looking forward to digging into it. Many of the topics seem to cover stuff I have a cursory knowledge of already. That’s the benefit of being exposed to Linux since at least 2005, and Unix even a little before that (thanks OS X).

The one downside right now is that the website I use to access the training has the following limitations:

  1. designed almost exclusively for desktop browsers
  2. requires Adobe Flash to play video and other interactive content

Deal-breakers? Of course not.

Funny enough, Apple pushed out an update for the iTunes U app for iOS that same day which brought the design more in-line with iOS 7.

I’ve watched and participated in a number of classes through iTunes U and Apple has greatly expanded what you are able to do within the app itself recently as well. When the update came down, a thought floated into my head which I quickly discarded as untenable (since Apple doesn’t allow companies to charge for content through iTunes U), but I do think there are lessons to be learned.

What if companies offered training through an iTunes U-like app interface? I’d be happy if it were through iTunes U itself, but that’s not going to happen.

What if we take the good parts of iTunes U, create a community around that, give it the ability to have both free and paid content available, and then get publishing tools created around such an ecosystem.

Impossible? Maybe.

Wanted? Definitely.

Would it need to be app-based? Maybe not, but I feel that for the best experience you would want it to be so. In order to have an offline training experience worth time and effort, I think that native apps are almost a given. Build interactive communities around the training as well. There is no need to make training something that only happens once and then you let things stagnant. Build communities around sharing knowledge specific to training for specific products.

None of this sound seven remotely easy, but I think there is an opportunity to really start turning the training and certification markets on their head. Work doesn’t need to be the only thing done remotely … training could be as well. What is missing, in many cases, is the tools to do so effectively.