Business Process Improvement
There are many types of training opportunities within the Dynamics AX space. The vary in their thoroughness and effectiveness. Microsoft appears to be going away from textbook training to more e-learning and other types of learning opportunities. I’m not sure that this is the best direction since manuals also give you the ability to reference specific information quickly and conveniently. This is very hard to do in an e-learning platform. TechNet is what currently replaces manuals but that is not an easy platform to teach from. If nothing else, this direction provides opportunities for individual authors.
E-learning - E-learning is online training provided on the Microsoft Customer Portal. It is comprehensive and covers the majoring of the AX body of knowledge. Although e-learning appears to be the direction of future, it is hard to ask e-learning a question or put it in a specific business context. E-learning is an effective entry point for learning something new. The granularity makes it easy to fit into specific subject area training plans. It is very often used to identify areas that need additional study. It is good for all types, because it is done at your own pace and the user can skip over areas as they see fit.
Manuals - It appears the industry is moving away from manuals. There are many reasons including cost and obsolescence. There are still a lot of us that enjoy having manuals. It may be for reference, to take notes, or because of how they are structured. This shift does create an opportunity for creation of manuals from independent sources. A good example of this would be Scott Hamilton’s series of books, available at Amazon. What makes these references so valuable is they are being written by someone who is a leader in their subject area. This allows insight that would only be possible if you are working directly with them on a project.
Certification Training - Certification training is primarily oriented towards the body of knowledge needed to pass certification tests. It is an indication on how well an individual understands the technical content. With the many training aids and sample test, is has become questionable as to how valuable this process is. A common saying is, “What does it mean that you’re certified? It means you passed the test.” I believe there is a need in the industry to have certifications that indicate the ability to implement the product not merely understand it.
Seminars - A seminar is a good source of detailed information on a specific topic. They are typically lead by someone that has proper credentials regarding the topic. This means, many times you are getting an expert, not just someone presenting materials. It also can provide a format to get answers to questions not possible in other settings. Seminars typically represent relatively small commitments of time and cost. The benefit is that, for a specific topic, you will get a level of detail typically unachievable. The only thing that is better is a book written specifically on the subject. A good example of this, is the 10 part Dynamics AX Costing Seminar hosted by MSDynamicsWorld.
Workshops (Boot Camps) - In theory, a workshop would be absolutely the best way to learn about any given subject. You are not only being presented the materials, but you are also able to do specific exercises to validate the materials. The biggest problem with workshops stems from the fact it is the most inefficient way to learn unless they are self-paced. The reason is that they are usually done in a group setting. The group is limited to the speed of the slowest participants. It is simply not a very good way to learn a large amount of information quickly. The other common problem is that they truly are a compromise wherein we are trying to balance presentation with exercises.
Customized Client Specific Training - Probably the most successful way to teach a client is by creating a company training plan. This plan can include the needs of different groups of people based on the company’s information and their desired business practices. This does not mean there is no value to other training opportunities. It simply means the more generic the presentation, the more gifted the student must be. The success of training is also directly related to the interest of the student. It is also very important to develop company trainers to teach the ultimate end users. You need to invest in your own trainers to be successful. Those are the people that should be taught by the outside entities.