Like a lot of folks, I know .NET is supposed to be important but I haven't understood the reason why. So when I received an invitation from KnowledgeNet to attend a one-hour online mini-course on Demystifying .NET, I signed up.
Did I learn what I wanted to learn about .NET? Not yet. That's why I'm off to my Safari Bookshelf at O'Reilly. Among the ten e-books on my rental shelf is Web Services Essentials, which may help me understand how to integrate my blogs into this new environment.
Back to KnowledgeNet...
At the appointed hour, I called a toll-free number and dialed into a Placeware session. Technically, the presentation was flawless -- easy to understand the instructors' voices and pleasing graphics.
The screen was not cluttered up with needless frills and buttons. (No, KnowledgeNet is not paying me to say this.)
Most online courses I've attended were led by an instructor. The instructor is in the know and I am not. I am subservient. I don't much care for this relationship.
KnowledgeNet more closely resembled a talk show. Tony moderated. His two companions answered his questions. It felt as if the three of them wanted to share what they'd discovered. They kidded one another. Instead of being talked down to, I was listening in on their conversation. This in turn made me a more receptive learner.
.NET? It's Microsoft-ese for Web Services. It a collection of processes, not a product. The processes connect the apps in the picture. You don't have to buy Visual Studio to program this stuff.
Microsoft's .NET site has 250 case examples that neatly quantify the benefits of implementing the technology. If only the benefits of eLearning were expressed this concisely:
Did this lesson warrant an hour of my time? Yes, particularly because I was able to straighten up my desk and drawing board while taking part.
I really liked the talk show format as opposed to the single-presenter model I'm accustomed to. Some organizaitons will never do this because it's "not cost-effective." This is penny-wise and pound-foolish. Cost effectiveness is a ratio of benefit to expenditure. There were at least sixty of us in the audience. If the additional instructors helped us learn a mere 20% more effectively, that's equivalent to 12 FTE-hours of improvement. Is that worth a couple of instructor hours? No contest.
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