Barcelona (E), December 2006 -” Hands-on distance learning sounds like an oxymoron, yet that's exactly what Microsoft Official Distance Learning (MODL) is: a blended learning programme that provides technical training to IT professionals and developers who want hands-on technical training and need the convenience of learning when they want, wherever they are.
The new distanceLearning product, which was introduced in Barcelona at Microsoft's annual Tech-¢Ed: IT Forum conference, supports Microsoft's customer readiness promise: an overarching framework for planning and delivering technical training to the company's partners and customers in tight alignment with product-release cycles.
"The customer readiness promise is our commitment to provide the right learning content at the right time," said Lutz Ziob, general manager of Microsoft Learning, part of the company's Server and Tools business group. "For Windows Vista, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, and Microsoft Exchange 2007, we will train one million customers within six months of product availability."
Microsoft Official Distance Learning, available exclusively through Microsoft Certified Partners for Learning Solutions (CPLS), consists of instructor-led modules that are conducted via Microsoft Office LiveMeeting and spread over multiple days. The modules combine self-paced eLearning, the opportunity to apply the learning through real-life scenarios, and feedback from regular assessments and peer interaction -” an optimal combination of instructor-based, self-paced and lab learning delivered right to the desktop.
The centerpiece of MODL is its scenarios, which provide a "day in the life" experience specific to IT job roles. The portal places the student in a virtual office setting with access to a live server to work through real-life scenarios. For example, in a help-desk scenario, the student's "desktop" would include a phone, a computer with e-mail, and a pager. The scenario would walk the student through tasks that are specific to real help-desk situations.
The MODL portal is the hub for all class activity including the class schedule and support information, launching links for live class sessions, eLearning, scenarios homework, follow-up assessments, and more. It also allows interaction with peers through virtual conference room meetings and even conversations around the "water cooler".