We all process information differently. We also have preferred learning styles. Some of us are visual, and others lean towards something auditory, a podcast or audiobook perhaps. Therefore, offering learners the choice to watch, read and listen is an effective way to increase skills development and knowledge acquisition. However, providing such content in multiple modalities is not always easy or even feasible.
Or at least so many of us think. Percipio, Skillsoft’s award-winning intelligent learning experience platform, checks all those boxes. It provides learners with hundreds of subject or topic channels, each filled with a selection of various content types—digital books, audiobooks, courses, videos, podcasts. Want to learn more about Angular? A quick search within Percipio and the learner can select not just what they want to learn, but also their preferred modality – they can choose to learn by reading a book, listening to a subject-matter expert or watching a course.
How we acquire knowledge is just the first step, but often we are so focused on what we want to learn that we overlook how we plan to test or demonstrate our new skill or insight. Again, Skillsoft has that covered. We added TestPreps and Practice Labs under a new PRACTICE area in our Percipio channels, giving learners the opportunity to test their knowledge of enterprise technology and software development and apply their learning hands-on. They can take a TestPreps assessment to find out any weaknesses and validate their skills, or launch a Practice Lab to get comfortable coding in an actual IDE or configuring real-world IT infrastructure.
However, what happens if a learner gets stuck or needs clarification about a particular topic? Skillsoft thought about that too —Mentoring services is now a part of specific Percipio channels. Having access to a mentor enables learners to ask vendor-certified subject matter experts a wide range of questions, such as clarity on a technical concept, steps to get certified, what the experience qualifications are, or what exam to take first.
How will all this work? Let’s take a look.
Here’s a snapshot of a CompTIA A+ channel below. The CompTIA A+ channel now provides under its PRACTICE area a CompTIA A+ 220-901 TestPrep and an A+ Essentials Practice Lab. When a learner completes a TestPrep or Practice Lab, the card is marked as Completed and tracked to their Activity stream. In addition, in the top right corner of the CompTIA A+ channel’s home page, an “Ask my Mentor” icon is available so learners can connect with a credentialed Mentor quickly.
While not new to Skillsoft, our TestPreps do have a new look and set of features. Learners can choose from several key vendors including the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC) ², CompTIA, Microsoft and International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB). Furthermore, the environment is specifically designed to help learners prepare for the actual exam.
One of the features, “Learn Mode,” allows a user to work in an untimed mode and select specific objectives to test on and thereby develop a deeper of understanding of the subject matter. For learners struggling with a question, help is available with an Assistance option that guides the learner towards the right answer. A progress summary also indicates whether the questions answered are correct or incorrect.
Another feature, “Exam Mode,” simulates the real test in a timed fashion. Whereas Learn Mode skips the timer, Exam Mode displays a countdown timer on the screen. With Exam Mode, users can start honing their test-taking skills and preparing for the big day.
In either mode, learners can take the test as many times as needed, flag questions to return to later, and resume from where they left off. An additional reporting tool chronicles someone’s score, date and time for all attempts.
We’ve offered this service for a long time, and I believe it is one of the key reasons our learning solution is successful. Mentoring services give learners the incredibly beneficial opportunity to interact with a credentialed expert for advice and answers to any pressing questions. These questions can span a variety of discussion points, such as confirming an understanding of a new topic, gathering further information about a difficult subject, or staying motivated to achieve pre-set goals.
Mentoring integrates into a large number of Percipio channels and covers several certification vendors and subjects, including Microsoft, ISC², ISTQB, ITIL®, Java, C#, HTML5 & CSS3, Visual Studio, Project Management Institute (PMI) and much more. Learners can reach a mentor by clicking the “Ask a Mentor” icon on a channel’s homepage to launch an immediate chat session or send an email for a prompt response.
Our Practice Labs encompass two types of hands-on practice – IT infrastructure and programming. In Percipio, these labs are found under the PRACTICE area in their corresponding channels.
Our infrastructure labs use real, virtualized machines that can mirror almost any hardware, software, or network configuration. This set-up enables learners to train, practice and experiment on high-cost equipment in a secure, sandboxed environment. IT professionals can make mistakes without risking expensive equipment, and restore individual systems without incurring time-consuming and dangerous rework. Our infrastructure lab content covers the most popular vendor certifications from Microsoft, CompTIA, and VMware, Oracle, EC-Council, and (ISC) 2.
Our virtual coding practice labs, Skillsoft CodeX, help developers at all levels learn, practice and validate their programming skills in a secure environment. Programming labs offer coding exercises and embedded instructional video content that enables learners to follow along and perfect their coding skills hands-on in an integrated development environment (IDE). We purposefully developed the labs with an emphasis on relevant, current and trending developer topics, including Advanced jQuery, Android App Development, Angular App Development, Apache Kafka, App Development with React and Flux, Data Science with R, Java, Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications, MongoDB, HTML5 and CSS3, Python for Data Science and more.
People learn with time, reinforcement, iteration, guidance and choice. Customizing the learning experience based on individual needs, interests and habits is the key to a successful learning program. By positioning TestPreps, Mentoring, and Practice Labs alongside their relevant, curated assets in Percipio channels, we have made strides in strengthening the core principles that lead to effective learning.
Why not see for yourself? Start experiencing Percipio today with a 14-day free trial.
Mike Hendrickson, Vice President of Technology & Developer Products for Skillsoft.