(First published by Linda on 12/06/2017)
Our Excel Foundation Course is now ready for public consumption here. The course covers more ground than is usual in an introductory course, so includes topics such as Range Names, Tables, and Absolute Cell Referencing. Experience in the classroom has shown that learners often expect to cover advanced topics, such as Pivot Tables, Conditional Formulas, What If, and VLOOKUP formulas, before they have a sufficient understanding of these prerequisites.
I’ve been developing and delivering classroom IT courses for over 20 years now, and always ensure that courses include these nuts & bolts topics. However, when I train on behalf of training companies, they’ve usually done their own Training Needs Analysis and specified a syllabus: if the intermediary at the training company doesn’t have a particularly good knowledge of Excel, important topics, in my opinion, are often omitted (although I’ll usually try to sneak these in if time permits).
The last few years have seen a trend away from classroom training, towards on-demand, bite-sized e-learning. Often, it’s enough to do a search on YouTube for a particular function and there’ll be a ‘good enough’ video telling you what you need to know. Some organisations will pay a subscription for Lynda.com or similar, for a more professional solution. Our intention with the Excel Foundation Course is to provide a more rounded, complete course, mirroring what would be covered in a more traditional classroom course. It shouldn’t take a professor of pedagogy to see that covering all this with just sit-back-and-watch videos would quickly lead to learner fatigue, and so interactive exercises and simulations are essential. We’ve arrived at what we think is a balance of short videos, interactive exercises, and optional interactive scored assessments.
Data files are available to download for learners to break off and have a go themselves. And, of course, the great thing about any e-learning is that learners can pick up again wherever they like. Each video or exercise is around the 3-minute mark. There’s also a downloadable Excel Quick Reference Guide, progress/score sheet, and lots of hints, tips, & shortcuts.