I had an excellent first impression of this experience because whilst I was waiting for the DVDs to ship from the US I was informed that the same training course was also available for me online so I could start straight away! I thought this was a fantastic idea and a terrific surprise I was not expecting. If you’re like me, then once you decide to get into a topic you want to get on with it as soon as possible, so not having to wait for the DVDs to arrive was great.
The topics are split into 40 different videos and cover everything from the real basics for those who haven’t worked with any version of Exchange before through to the more advanced topics such as high availabilty and disaster recovery. The advantage over on-site course based training I found of having all the videos available was that if there was a section you felt you already knew about or was not particularly relevant for your environment, then it could be skipped through rather than having to sit through at an on-site course. Naturally, if you found you ever did need it then it would be possible to go back to it at a later date.
The videos are a mix of instructor led Powerpoint type slides intermixed with lots of real demonstrations. The instructor takes the course at a good pace, slow enough for new Exchange administrators, but not too slow that experienced admins would get frustrated. I also felt that the instructor had real world experience tips to add, despite Exchange 2010 still being a relatively new product.
The DVD package contains 3 discs. The first two contain the entire course split over the 2 discs and can be watched on any PC or Mac. The instructor notes that you see during the different videos are also available on this DVD as a pdf. Tip: You need to install the TechSmith Screen Capture Codec first to watch the videos, which the DVD helpfully prompts you to do if you don’t have it installed. If like me you missed that on the top of the help page and spent 5 mins trying to install plugins for Firefox then you probably shouldn’t really be left responsible for important IT systems. :-)
The third disc contains the entire course on different formats for loading onto mobile devices. There are video formats in .mv4 for iPod and .wmv for other devices. Also available are MP3s which might be useful if you enjoying learning just by listening or maybe as revision repeats if going for the Exchange 2010 certification.
I found the different available sources of the course fantastic and really helped to get through the material quicker than I would if only one was available. For instance:
- I used the online course at lunchtime whilst at work
- The iPod material whilst commuting
- The DVD or online course again whilst at home
Overall I was really impressed by this set of DVDs and would definitely consider other series in the future. Previously if I was not able to attend a course for something I needed to learn about then typically I would buy a book instead, but in future I think I would be looking to see if Trainsignal had a series for it first.
You can find out more about the other courses they have available at www.trainsignal.com or follow them on Twitter. Currently there are courses for lots of Windows products, VMware and Cisco technologies.