The Science behind the Global Knowledge Master Class

Does this scenario sound familiar?

You need to learn how to do something you’ve never done before. So maybe you watch some YouTube videos, or you ask an experienced colleague to show you how it’s done. Afterward, you feel confident that you understand what you need to do. But then, when you try to do it, everything is much more complicated than you thought it would be. Soon, you’re back on YouTube, trying to find that perfect video, or writing your colleague another distressed email. 

This is a common and natural part of learning. It’s hard to gain a new skill without having opportunities to practice it in a realistic environment. Is it possible for training to provide that extra level of practice and application? Can you finish a class not just saying “I think I can do this,” but “I know I can do this”?

At Global Knowledge, we think so: it’s called the Global Knowledge Master Class. 

First, let’s look at how it works, and then we’ll look at the science and theory behind why it works.

How a Global Knowledge Master Class works

Led by senior experts, our exclusive week-long Master Classes are conducted at an accelerated pace and have extended hours. During the day, you will cover key concepts and complete guided, hands-on labs that walk you through design, development, or implementation of complex solutions.

In the evening, you will reinforce and build upon what you learned by solving unique and complex challenges rooted in real-world scenarios. In each challenge, you will be responsible for preparing, designing and presenting your solution. This experience is what really makes the Master Class special and unique.

If it sounds like a lot of work, it is. But we believe it is an excellent learning experience that will give you real competencies and learning that will last. Let’s take a look at some of the science and theory behind why it works.

Scenarios make it stick

The challenges that you will work on during a Master Class are all based on a scenario or case study that resembles something you might encounter in the real world. A bioengineering company needs to migrate its proprietary modelling software to Azure, or a university wants to implement Azure IoT Hub for a campus safety initiative. Once you’ve talked to stakeholders and gathered requirements, how would you design and implement these solutions?

In the learning field, this is sometimes referred to “case-based learning,” and research shows that it is highly effective across many different disciplines. Yale’s Center for Teaching and Learning provides a good overview of the demonstrated benefits of case-based learning, but here are some of the highlights that case-based learning provides:

• Promotes integration of knowledge and practice

• Supports skill development

• Develops higher-order thinking, such as creating, evaluating, and analyzing (as opposed to merely understanding and applying)

• Improves engagement and motivation in learners

After all, none of us apply our skills in a vacuum. Reality is full of short timelines, vague requirements, conflicting priorities, and tight budgets. By putting your skills to the test with a life-like scenario, you’ll be better prepared to put those skills to the test on the job. 

Doing is learning

In 1984, David A. Kolb, an influential educational theorist, published a book titled Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. In this book, he proposed what is called the “Experiential Learning Cycle” as a way to show how people learn.

 

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A Global Knowledge Master Class takes you through this entire cycle. During the day, you will learn new concepts, get hands-on practice with labs, and engage in discussions. This experience aligns with the first three stages of the cycle, and helps you build concepts. The challenges you work on in the evening are an opportunity for active experimentation, the fourth stage, where you’ll put new concepts into practice and test your understanding. 

Kolb’s theory has endured because research consistently shows that this cycle of hands-on experience and reflection is an ideal way to build competencies.

Timing is everything

The extended hours of a Global Knowledge Master Class provide a unique opportunity for something called “distributed practice.” Research has shown that learning something once is often ineffective, and that reviewing content at the right intervals is important for retaining information. In this interview, Dr. Sean Kang provides a good explanation of this concept, but here’s the basic idea: if time spent learning something is spaced out over a period of time—rather than “massed” into a single block of time—you are more likely to retain information.

The content in a Master Class is separated into modules: you learn about one topic, and then move to the next. However, the challenge you work on at the end of each day will give you an important opportunity to return to those topics that you learned earlier in the day or on previous days. This recurrence allows you to deepen your understanding and make connections between different topics. You will learn a lot over the course of your Master Class, and this structure will help will you remember it all. 

Experience a Master Class

The purpose of training is to close the skills gap between what is known and what is required to perform a function or task. The process of learning depends on several factors—in no specific order—the quality of the course material, the skill/experience of the instructor and their ability to pass along their knowledge to you, the comfort of the training environment, and the presence of real-world scenarios to test out your freshly-minted skills. The Global Knowledge Master Class employs the science of learning and skillfully crafts a week-long training event that helps to effectively close skills gap.

Our current Master Class offerings include:

Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions Master Class

Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions Master Class

Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions Master Class

 

About the author

Evan Harrison is an instructional designer at Global Knowledge, working primarily with IT Best Practices and Microsoft courses. He has been working in education for 10 years and has a master’s degree in English from The University of Southern Mississippi. He recently completed a certificate in full stack web development from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When not in front of a computer, he likes to garden and cook.

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