Convenient Internet classrooms provide flexibility

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To stay current with the frantic pace of change in the computer industry, you need ongoing training. The constant release of new hardware and software requires that you spend a lot of time in the classroom learning about new technology. Many of us grumble about the difficulty of staying current with technology, yet the daily intellectual challenge is a big reason why we love our jobs. Our biggest problem is finding the time to get the necessary training, perform the duties of our job, and still have a personal life. Here is where innovative training options, such as Web-based training, come in. This Buyer's Guide provides information about interactive Windows 2000 training on the Internet.

We all have different learning styles. You might retain knowledge better through experimentation, but someone else might prefer instructor-led classes. Some people like collaborative environments with their peers, and others concentrate best when left alone with a book. In visiting the Web-based training sites listed in this Buyer's Guide, I found enough variety among vendors to satisfy most of these disparate learning styles. Combine that variety with the overall convenience of attending a class from any PC that has Internet access, and you can find training solutions to serve most busy IT professionals, as well as those looking to start an IT career.

The vendors listed here use a variety of technologies, such as chat, instant messaging, multicasting, Voice over IP (VoIP), and email, to support interactive learning. Different vendors incorporate these technologies to varying degrees to allow interaction with other students and the instructor. The main advantage to most of the technologies is that they offer a realtime venue for questions and answers in a virtual classroom. But some vendors offer instructor correspondence only through email, so the importance of realtime interaction is one criterion you might use to select a product. You might also want to consider how structured the interactive environment is and the ratio of students to instructors in a realtime environment. For example, a crowded or chaotic chat room might offer limited value.

Some of the courses listed in this Buyer's Guide prepare you for specific Microsoft certification exams. Other courses cover a range of Win2K topics from beginning to advanced levels. Most vendors offer skill-assessment tests as well as practice exams to chart your progress, and you can earn college credit for completing some courses. Most vendors also offer additional training options, such as self-paced programs, tutorials, and formal classes.

The decision to choose Web-based training over more traditional classroom venues is often based on the need for more flexibility and convenience than classroom training provides. By definition, self-paced training provides the most flexibility because you can work at a time that is convenient for you and proceed at your own pace. Although Web-based training requires you to work around scheduled interactive sessions, it's a great compromise if you want the benefits of a classroom experience but the flexibility that a Web-based solution provides.

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