I received an email from Gerry Teigrob, a reader who has had a great experience with SkillSoft training. He was able to access their certification courseware through Robert Half International, a staffing company. If you or your company is considering using SkillSoft, take a look at his comments . . .
I have been focusing on Microsoft Office Certification studies since last May, but have become really focused more so in the past few months and weeks. I have been fortunate to discover a few things that can help those like me who are doing as much studying as they can on their own. Here is my experience so far.
Last May, I had heard about the SmartForce study program through Robert Half International. I applied to access these courses, even though I did not have a Robert Half Agency in our city. I found them very accommodating for me, and it was about that point that they approved me for taking their free online certification courses.
SmartForce changed to SkillSoft, and the quality of the educational training has also improved. You can either study your certification courses offline or online, and you can test yourself as often as you like with each course.
Features and ContentEach set of courses for the Office Specialist Certification comes with skill sets based on the certification requirements for each level Core and Expert. For example, the Excel 2003 Skill Set comes with five separate courses for each of the Core and Expert Levels. Within each course, you find excellent study materials that you can even print off and work with on your own, so you dont need to use the computer only to take your notes. As a student, how you use these study notes is up to you. You can copy them word for word or write them in your own words. There are also assigned lessons where you get to try out and apply what you learn in each section.
MentoringIn addition, there is at least one mentored exercise that tests what you learned. You are instructed to send your exercise to the mentors who check it and see how your exercise turned out. I know I have already set things up with the files for the first part of the Core preparation and the mentors have been impressed with what I have been able to do on my own. As well, if you have ANY questions relating to your courses or to something in the courses about Excel, you have 24 hour support with the Mentors. I find them both very resourceful and most helpful. Another reason to consider these courses is this: Robert Half will cover your exam certification costs up to three attempts at any of the exams.
ConclusionIn and of itself, I would highly recommend the SkillSoft study program. I am now currently using their Office 2003 courses, and I would have to say they are the best of the free online courses I could ever have used. So as far as a complete and comprehensive, mentor-supported certification program, I highly recommend the Robert Half/SkillSoft program to ANYONE interested in Certification. This combination will help prepare you for any IT certification: MCSE, Cisco, Linux, and so on. I would recommend that you check them out as well as others to see just how much free courses they offer. The only thing they suggest is that if there is a Robert Half agency in your city, you be able to work with them in terms of their temporary or permanent positions.