MCPD SharePoint Developer 2010
27 Feb to 10 Aug 2012
In short, Mr. Agrawal, you've created a culture at Koenig where staff goes out of their way to help us students, from the Centre Manager to the janitorial staff. Congratulations, Mr. Agrawal. I can see why there are so many new branches opening around the world...
Priya has been nothing short of a delight to work with. When I first arrived, I had great problems with my business visa. The police were supposed to stamp it, but although I went to the station twice, I was told to come back another time. On the third time, Priya herself went down to the police station for me, and personally sorted it out for me. As far as I was concerned, this is above and beyond what I would have expected of a Centre Manager, and I'm not only grateful that she did so, but particularly impressed with her willingness to help a student.
She also went the extra mile with regard to the coffee facilities, turning a rather drab room into a rather festive looking one, by putting up witty signs around the place. I know this stuff doesn't directly affect how we study, but it certainly adds to the atmosphere.
Before I arrived in Koenig-Solutions, Dehradun, I had heard many horror stories about travelling in India. I was told that I would be lucky to find a place with a Western bathroom, and that there wouldn't be any toilet paper. Given that I was staying in the least expensive accommodation in the least expensive Koenig location, I was prepared for this. But the rooms were of a standard of an Australian motel, with a TV, an en-suite, and even a balcony. And throughout my stay, Dinesh and his team were always willing to help with making it an enjoyable stay. For instance, when I forgot to sort out my washing, and found myself rapidly running out of clothes, he put in a special effort to get them done by the evening, so that I'd have something to wear the next day.
Santa Ji may not speak English all that well. But he is genuinely enthusiastic about helping, for instance with chips. As a confirmed junk food addict, I was always happy to see his smiling face around when I got peckish. Which, let's face it, was all the time.
In short, Mr. Agrawal, you've created a culture at Koenig where staff goes out of their way to help us students, from the Centre Manager to the janitorial staff. Congratulations, Mr. Agrawal. I can see why there are so many new branches opening around the world!
If there was a point for improvement I could give for Koenig, as it (hopefully) grows into a worldwide education provider, it's the pedagogy (i.e. the teaching techniques used to impart the wisdom of the trainers).
All of the trainers I've dealt with have been very knowledgeable, and have been imbued with the culture of wanting to help students. (All of them have given me extra code samples and tools that I wouldn't have expected to be part of the course.)
And yet, there were times when I found I couldn't absorb what was being taught. I don't believe the fault lies with the trainers themselves, but of the training methodology they use. And I believe that this is because Koenig uses the Microsoft methodology.
In the Microsoft methodology, the trainer starts with a PowerPoint presentation, and gives a 1 hour presentation where he/she explains all the slides. The student tries to keep up by furiously scribbling notes. And then there's a lab, where the student follows step by step instructions from a book, which works like this: Read a line of code, type it on the screen. Read an instruction to click a mouse button, grab the mouse and click the mouse button. Repeat for several pages, and then admire the small program you've created.
This is the official Microsoft way of doing things. But I'm afraid it's hard to learn with it. (In conversations with a few other students, they seemed to feel the same way.) I found I didn't really understand what I was doing until the Simulated Internship, which was the most valuable part of the course.
Your best teachers deviate from this method. For instance, my trainer (who I regard as the best teacher I've had here), explains something on the board, but then asks a lot of questions to the student while lecturing to check they understand the material. For instance, she might explain a verbal scenario and see if I could figure out what would happen. She gave these verbal examples for me to do after every point she made, so I was answering questions at least every five minutes. I found that this really helped me concentrate on the lecture, and I believe I learned everything she tried to teach me because of it.
To be fair to the trainers teaching Microsoft batches, she had a better environment to be able to do it. My trainer presented from the whiteboard rather than sitting next to me at a computer, so it was easy for there to be lots of eye contact and interaction. It is harder for the trainers to do this from a computer, where we're both looking away from each other at a computer screen. Perhaps a solution to this problem would be to have projectors or large monitors next to the whiteboard, to allow trainers to maintain eye contact while giving lectures, and will allow them to paint the scenarios for the student to answer to make sure the student is thinking along with the lecture.
My SQL trainer helped me by drawing mind maps and diagrams on the board. I believe that this technique was an improvement over lecturing from a PowerPoint presentation. You can't read and listen to someone talk at the same time. But you can absorb a picture and listen to someone talk at the same time. By drawing diagrams, she avoided the general problem with PowerPoint presentations.
I hope these points help build on the really helpful Koenig culture, and you end up with the sort of training organization that can beat the world!