Weekly quickTIP

New Ways To Teach IT Pros New Tricks

It's your turn: Tell me which training methods work for you.

When friends and family invariably ask the question, "So, tell me again what it is you do for a living?", anymore I usually respond with, "I deal in words." And yet those words come out through any of a number of different media: in print, online, via video and audio, in-person at conferences and classroom training activities and through interactive multimedia experiences.

I see my job as getting into the brain of you, the IT professional, and figuring out what exactly you need to learn to do your job, and then to present that information at the time you need it. But there are so many media out there for helping my fellow IT pro understand technology as it evolves in our chosen profession. So I figured this week I'd use this medium to gauge your opinion on how the other media are doing. At the same time, I hope we can share a little about the best ways in which that information transfer works for us.

Let's take a look at a list of the available methods we've got today for getting information into your noggin':

  • Print magazines -- Great information and friendly layout. Perfect for new information you wouldn't necessarily search for. Only updated once a month.
  • On-line magazines -- Faster to "press" with new material than traditional print, and a more formal editorial processes than blogging.
  • Blogs and blog comments -- Highly informal and occasionally incorrect due to the (often lack of) editing process. But arguably fastest to get up-to-the-second info. Commenting features allow for bi-directional communication.
  • Forums -- Best for finding resolutions to problems. Not often used for dissemination of new information.
  • Multimedia experiences -- An amalgamation of text, video, and audio, with built-in simulations and test questions.
  • Clip-based training -- Five minutes at a clip gets you the step-by-step fast.
  • Traditional computer-based training -- Longer videos that sometimes include actors and typically work through an entire topic in depth.
  • Classroom training -- Expensive, but extremely in-depth on a specific topic.
  • IT conferences -- Often as expensive on a day-by-day basis as classroom training, but more diverse topics and the ability to change topics throughout the course of the week.

So, here are my questions to you:

  • Of these, which are your favorite ways to learn?
  • Which do you feel does the best job of doing the teaching?
  • And which aren't worth the cash?

Let me know with your comments here and in the process we'll all learn about how we learn from each other.

About the Author

Greg Shields is Author Evangelist with PluralSight, and is a globally-recognized expert on systems management, virtualization, and cloud technologies. A multiple-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP, VMware vExpert, and Citrix CTP awards, Greg is a contributing editor for Redmond Magazine and Virtualization Review Magazine, and is a frequent speaker at IT conferences worldwide. Reach him on Twitter at @concentratedgreg.

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