Global Knowledge - a world leader in innovative, comprehensive tech training

Posted 21 April 2020 by Nancy Tandy, Business Strategy Manager, Worldwide Learning

As part of a new blog series on the value of training and certification, we’re talking with some of our Learning Partners who deliver Microsoft training. We’re kicking off the series with today’s post based on a conversation with Charlie Baird, Vice President of Marketing at Global Knowledge, the 2019 Microsoft Learning Partner of the Year.

Founded in 1995, Global Knowledge has partnered with Microsoft since 2007. It became a Microsoft Gold Partner that same year and was recognized as Microsoft Learning Partner of the Year for the first time in 2013. From the start, the company has worked hand in hand with Microsoft to develop training that it could roll out close to the release of new technologies. It was one of the first organizations to offer Microsoft Azure training, for example, and, just last year, it was first to market with Microsoft Dynamics 365 training.

Global Knowledge is one of the largest of the Microsoft Learning Partners offering courses all over the world. That gives it a unique flexibility to deliver a full portfolio of Microsoft courses in more than 100 countries. “A student is completing a Microsoft course literally every 10 minutes at Global Knowledge,” Baird points out. “Each week a variety of classes are being offered around the world.” The company’s worldwide reach helps students access training wherever they are—a must in today’s global economy. It also helps large, multinational organizations train workers effectively by offering them a one-stop, coordinated set of trainings customized to meet needs across different countries and schedules.

The company’s focus is “driving value for students,” Baird says. ”We’re always looking for new and innovative ways—and more cost-effective ways—to help people and organizations increase their proficiency.” The company’s 95 percent student satisfaction rate—based on course evaluations covering content, instructors, physical environment, and user experience—indicates that it’s delivering on that commitment. A dedicated team frequently reviews student responses to look for “challenges” and to discover ways to improve the learning experience.

The story of why Global Knowledge training is valued so highly is a rich one, composed of many layers. First, it offers training in a full range of researched, industry-aligned skills. The company develops its training by working with Microsoft to identify the specific skill sets that are needed. It also conducts research to fill in gaps in training, to pinpoint skills that fall between technologies, such as project management skills or cybersecurity. And, each year, based on insights gleaned from the inner workings of IT departments worldwide, the company publishes an “IT Skills and Salary Report,” sharing the results of its extensive research with the public.

Second, real-world skills development is an essential component of Global Knowledge training. Opportunities for digital learning are abundant today. That’s great, but what’s often lacking, Baird notes, is hands-on experience, or experiential learning, where students can practice and test their skills. That’s the kind of training recommended by the latest learning science, research on how skills are transferred, and studies of how users learn best. And Global Knowledge is committed to providing this across its courses.

Third, Global Knowledge is leading the way in well-designed blended learning. One way the company integrates experiential learning is by offering blended learning, training that combines the strength of instructor-led training (ILT), which brings students in virtual live contact with experts and their peers, with the advantages of on-demand, self-paced learning. Every educational organization has its own version of this best-of-both-worlds approach, Baird points out. The “Blended Live” training that Global Knowledge created is a carefully designed integration of instructor guidance, individual work, peer learning, digital content, and hands-on experience.

Fourth, Global Knowledge offers subscription-based digital packages that are unique and exclusive to the company. In response to a request from Microsoft several years ago to create a comprehensive digital training that integrated many different IT skills, the company created Microsoft Total Access Collection. Total Access brings together all the Microsoft official on-demand learning in one library that can be accessed at any time by subscription holders. It includes hands-on labs, knowledge checks for comprehensive assessments, and mentoring via chat, email, and phone.

Like all of the company’s training, this carefully curated digital package demonstrates one of the strengths of Global Knowledge—its comprehensive approach. The company knows that a piecemeal or one-off approach to learning tech skills doesn’t work in our digitally complex world. That awareness grounds its commitment to training that integrates a wide variety of different skills. “That’s why people turn to us,” Baird explains. “Our comprehensive approach prepares them for the real world.”

This applies to the company’s course delivery, too. In addition to on-demand, ILT, and blended live courses, it offers extensive Microsoft Certification training and certification boot camps to help students prepare for exams. Plus, it works with technology providers to produce webinars and white papers to help students obtain their goals. Global Knowledge works closely with Microsoft Worldwide Learning, for example, to develop webinars and other resources to guide students successfully to certification.

Let’s look at how this research-driven, comprehensive approach plays out with one of the company’s more recent trainings. In 2019, Global Knowledge was first to market with comprehensive Dynamics 365 training. More than 91 percent of Fortune 500 companies use business applications. But without adequate training, that technology is not providing the value it could to companies. Global Knowledge has been offering Dynamics training since the mid-2000s. Many other companies offer individual Dynamics 365 courses, as well. But last year, Global Knowledge rolled out a comprehensive set of Dynamics 365 training—the first company to do so--with 13 new Dynamics 365 courses and 8 new Dynamics 365 certifications. And more training is on the way. Since Dynamics 365 is a set of intelligent business applications and tools, this new training enables students to learn the integrated set of business tools in a complete way. Global Knowledge was “excited to bring a full complement of training offerings to students,” Baird says. Two of the most popular courses right now, he reports, are Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.

Recently, Global Knowledge partnered with Microsoft Worldwide Learning to develop a webinar that walks through all the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform courses and certifications, step by step—an invaluable resource for those wishing to jump-start their Dynamics 365 learning and certification. Watch “5 Steps to Getting Certified on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform.”

Currently, Global Knowledge and Microsoft are working on a vision to surface Global Knowledge training on Microsoft Learn, facilitating access to the free Microsoft resources and the Global Knowledge resources, which work together to help students achieve certification.

With its commitment to industry research into what the hot trends are and which skills are in demand, ongoing education research, inventive partnering with technology providers, and accessible comprehensive training—all to drive the best learning experience for students and organizations at an affordable cost—Global Knowledge will be leading the way in tech training for years to come. “We are constantly exploring opportunities to facilitate learning and increase training impact,” Baird says, “and to help students and organizations gain proficiency in critical technical skills needed right now.”