If you are not familiar with Dunstan Thomas Consulting we have been Sparx Systems Global training and solution partners for the past eleven years and over that time have been instrumental in delivering solutions to a variety of industries. Our clients range from Waitrose and John Lewis Partnership in retail, Vodafone and EE in the Telecoms space, GE Aviation & EADS Astrium in the aviation sector, Allianz and Deutsche Bank in the financial sector and Transport for London, and The Intellectual Property Office in the public sector.
Why on-line training?
The discussion about adding an online training service to our portfolio is one that has come up several times over the last few years but were unable to justify the time needed for R&D to make it work when our Consultants are already so busy.
However we began to notice a pattern. These days it is harder and harder for organisations to release their employees for days at a time regardless of how necessary the training in question may be. With this in mind the option of on-line training was raised again but this time we were specifically thinking about a self-paced option, something that will allow users to dip in and out without time constraints.
We also came to the realisation that we already have a wealth of existing materials to build on and so there wouldn’t be a need to redevelop thereby enabling us to progress from having our already popular instructor led sessions to also having an online version. This would enable us to offer our clients a blended learning solution.
How to deliver?
Having decided that we were going to go ahead and put together an on-line training environment we needed to do some research on available platforms for delivery. This prompted a visit to the Learning Technologies Exhibition in January of 2014 to meet and speak with platform vendors as well as attend various presentations to see what was out there and how we could use it.
Coming away from the exhibition we had several options to investigate but the standout platform seemed to be Moodle. You can read more about Moodle at; https://docs.moodle.org/28/en/About_Moodle
Following the setup of a test environment we had to decide on how best to present our materials. From competitor research we found that most common uses of environments like this were video and PDF delivery to students but we wanted more than a document delivery system after all you can achieve that with an email.
Using some sample material we had a look into the different presentation options within the environment and settled on full lessons delivered by HTML via web browser. This would then be supplemented with documentation and video to deliver a well-rounded and nicely packaged learning experience.
While we have an abundance of material begging to be adapted for on-line delivery we chose to launch the service with two brand new sessions. This is where Colin Coates and Phil Chudley (names most of you are familiar with I’m sure) joined the project.
With Colin having only recently published his article on documentation generation with EA to the Sparx Community site he decided he would take this opportunity to completely rework our documentation session from the ground up building on the snippets from his article; Learn through pictures: Fundamentals of HTML Reporting.
Phil decided that with the latest version of SysML he would do a complete rebuild of our SysML and EA training course and so SysML 1.3 made practical using Enterprise Architect was born.
Both of these undertakings started with story boarding sessions followed by weekly meetings with deliverables to be transposed into the test environment. After several months our courses were ready so all that was left was to get someone to test it. We approached some of our clients and they agreed to test the system and provide us with feedback, which led to some revisions and aesthetic changes.
The environment goes live!
Early February of 2015 saw not only a complete overhaul of the look of the environment but also the live deployment of the site with the two new courses as well as a “How to use the virtual learning environment” course (this session is included in every subscription) but we were also able to launch the adapted Introduction to UML session.
What comes next?
The upcoming releases for the DT Consulting on-line training courses are as follows;
- Business Process Modelling using BPMN 2.0
- Business Process Modelling using BPMN and Enterprise Architect
- An Introduction to ArchiMate
- UML with Enterprise Architect for Beginners
- UML with Enterprise Architect for UML Practitioners
- Enterprise Architect – The Practicalities
If you would like to know more about our online training service please visit our online training page.