This is really going to be a busy week, I got that already before arriving. But now when in the middle of the TLC running between engagements I kind of underestimated the task I think. Anyway, yesterday was Day Zero of TechEd, and for me that meant going to the MCT Summit at TechEd. During a couple of hours we discussed some of the new stuff thats out there for us in the learning bussiness: dMOC (Digital MOC) and Online labs.
First things first. Digital MOC. Over 70 of Microsofts courses have been adapted for the new time of electronic documentation and now offers the courses as PDF instead of the books. This have several advantages as I can see it. 1) You can have access to the materials before going to the course which can make you more prepared, 2) you are able to copy-paste between examples in the books and the virtual machine and 3) you dont have to break you back with a 700-page manual to bring home. It also saves a lot on the enviroment and thats allways a good thing! The price for the course materials actually goes down also. But the bottom line is if you prefer a book then you will have that. And if you are like me moving in to electronic documentation then you will have PDFs.
Second big thing. Online labs. This means that the training companies no-longer need to purchase and install local lab machines for use during courses but rather rent them from Microsoft the duration of the course. This means that training center will be able to step down their hardware, saving some money perhaps, and in the end lowering prices as machines are a great cost to training centers. But for students? The advantage will be that the lab will be availiable both before and after the course (the duration of lab availablity is not yet decided). Then you could really follow up and redo the labs again, or perhaps prepare for the course in advance. Online labs will be available some time under Q1 of 2010.