Free software training has to be one of the more beneficial outflows of the current economic downturn. As I’ve been investigating add-on and standalone software offerings for clients recently, I’ve found that many now offer free online training. This is great! There is nothing like having training available at your fingertips when and where you need it. Not to be outdone, Microsoft is also offering this option for qualifying accounts through the CustomerSource site for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, AX, GP, CRM, and SL. While not every course offered by Microsoft is available in this format, a nice selection exists in the current libraries and will be augmented in the future.
We at Clients First Business Solutions (CFBS) also offer free Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision) training online, making our video training library available to all. This library includes training videos, generally 30-60 minutes long, which target the areas that our clients ask about the most. Personally, I always glean something from every learning opportunity and I appreciate the concise and comprehensive format since like most of you, I don’t have a lot of extra time these days and need to spend it carefully. With clients spread across the country, being able to offer this
But is “free” really free when it comes to training? Most of us are familiar with Derek Bok quote, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”, and it is true. But will a ‘free’ course benefit you as much as a paid course? As expected, the answer is, it depends. I can see you rolling your eyes and saying, “thanks, that helps a whole lot.” I’ll clear this up now.
Online training, free or otherwise, is fairly effective for small, targeted applications such as an expense report tracking system or an equipment maintenance scheduling system. It is also very effective for taking on larger systems in small bites, especially if the trainees are familiar with similar software. And of course, it is helpful for review or upgrade training for people already familiar with the software. However, and this is a big however, you are not in a training environment with an instructor and it can be very difficult to get questions answered as they arise during the training. The ‘extra’ that the paid instructor can bring from practical, real life examples, with your questions in mind cannot be understated. Also, the synergy from being in a classroom with other students and learning from their questions and discussion input is invaluable. The other issue with online or other forms of self-training is getting your employees to actually do it in the midst of their otherwise busy schedules.
That’s why your
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