The How, Why and Benefits of SharePoint Training

Let’s first put some context on where I am with SharePoint. I have been using SharePoint since the first release of SharePoint 2001 in fact I still have a virtual machine with that particular version on as I am a great believer in look to the past to see the dots joining up.

But back then it was next to impossible to find any training courses for SharePoint or even information about it on the web (As it was then). But a Google search now for the term “SharePoint” returns About 69,200,000 results. And a search for the term “SharePoint Training” returns About 21,500,000 results. I also tend to notice around 10 – 20 tweets a day trying to sell SharePoint training courses.

The point I am trying to make is that SharePoint as a product/platform is becoming more mature and mainstream as the training opportunities increase. This of course is stating the obvious but how do you tap into this potential and wealth of information?

This really comes down to which sort of learner you are. This is very much broken down into 3 distinct areas:-

Auditory Learners: Hear

Auditory learners would rather listen to things being explained than read about them. Reciting information out loud and having music in the background may be a common study method. Other noises may become a distraction resulting in a need for a relatively quiet place.

Visual Learners: See

Visual learners learn best by looking at graphics, watching a demonstration, or reading. For them, it’s easy to look at charts and graphs, but they may have difficulty focusing while listening to an explanation.

Kinaesthetic Learners: Touch

Kinaesthetic learners process information best through a “hands-on” experience. Actually doing an activity can be the easiest way for them to learn. Sitting still while studying may be difficult, but writing things down makes it easier to understand.

Let me break that down further to tie it in with SharePoint training. There are now many ways to gain SharePoint training and experience if you look around the internet you will find many blogs with info but this is mainly to solve a specific problem. But you will also find many webinars freely available these are generally by companies but always contain great information. This very magazine you are reading will contain many opportunities to learn new skills. Also YouTube has also become a great resource a search I performed while writing this for “SharePoint 2010 tutorial” returned over 7000 videos.

There is of course the class room route this method covers all 3 types Auditory, Visual and Kinaesthetic and there are many superb training companies to choose from, the two that spring immediately to mind are Combined Knowledge and Mindsharp but there are of course many other very good training providers out there.

As for me I am a very Kinaesthetic learner I like doing and learning from the experience. I have found that this method works for me but I also follow this up by writing information down this is how a lot of my blog posts come about find a problem solve the problem and then write about the solution if you apply this method to a blog then more people in the community benefit.

So to break it down into my opinion of best training methods and methodology:-

How

Attend an in person training session this can be a week’s course or an event such as the SharePoint conference or a SharePoint Saturday. If you choose sessions carefully you can almost build a bespoke course out of these events. Also ask questions of the presenters I have never been to an event were a presenter will not talk with you after his or her session, I have always found the SharePoint community speakers the most friendly and approachable in the technology world. But the important thing is to follow this up with reading and doing my favourite SharePoint authors and Bill English, Shane Young and Todd Klindt amongst others. And the most important “doing” This will reinforce the learning that has taken place during the course.

Why

This will not only help you further your career but will also show a return on investment to your employer who will I am sure then be more than willing to subsidize more events for you to attend.

Benefits

SharePoint is the fastest growing product that Microsoft licence it is now appearing in more and more organizations worldwide so the long term career benefits to you are obvious. And to potential future employers.

Summary

Anyone that knows or has met me knows that I always like to use analogies. So I thought I would share a tale I heard many years ago from a CEO of a communications company that had just hired an MCSE. This was back in the NT4 days and on this persons first day he was asked to setup a network printer later that day the CEO saw him again and asked how he had got on and the reply was “I could not do it because we never covered that in the NT4 boot camp course” he did not last long…

So the moral of the story is always reinforce your learning with real world experience and do not think that attending a course will prepare you for all circumstances.

SharePoint is a fickle mistress just when you think you know it all something new will pop up you NEVER stop learning.

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