Updated Review of Career Academy Online Learning System

Updated Review of Career Academy Online Learning System

I’m a firm believer in the idea that you only get the true measure of a company when there are issues or conflict.  Some businesses react poorly and others treat it as an opportunity to improve and engage, so when Kevin Stuart from Career Academy reached out to me I wondered which way it would go.

Straight off the bat it became clear Career Academy fall in to the positive thinking group and that not only does Kevin know his stuff but that I had make some errors and incorrect assumptions in my initial review of the course (Kevin let me down gently when pointing these out!).  Kevin also very enthusiastically told me about Career Academy’s plans as they are already well in to the process of re-engineering their platform on all fronts (many of which address most of my concerns).

So straight off, let me list the mistakes, corrections and clarifications:

  1. A screenshot showing the Career Academy video player console with its dimensions marked on itThe course video player does have a zoom button
    I incorrectly assumed that there was no way of making the video larger but it turns out there is.  Near the bottom of the player is a small button that says ‘large’ and pressing this doubles the size of the video.  There is still no full screen button but this is less of an issue with the larger video.  Clearly I’ve overlooked the button but I would definitely recommend it is made more prominent and more intuitive for the less perceptive of us.
  2. The courses do work on IOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.)
    I had assumed that as the course content was delivered using Flash and as no alternative was presented on my android device that there was no mobile ready content – as it turns out if you own an iOS device there is an alternative platform that distributes the video in MP4 format delivered in a HTML framework.

The Future with Career Academy

So it seems Career Academy are putting a lot of effort in to modernising their platform and while Kevin didn’t have any specific launch dates for me, it  seems many of them are due to go live before the end of the year, below is a list of the core developments coming:

Mobile Development

As I wrote in my previous review and as I stressed to Kevin in our discussion, this is a big deal for me simply because mobile compatibility maximises flexibility and for those of us juggling busy schedules that’s worth a lot.

Given that the course content can already be delivered via HTML and MP4 to Apple users, Career Academy have obviously already done the encoding of their content to MP4 which is a big step in itself (although for maximum compatibility they should encode to WebM and OGG too!).

Personally I think this is where I think the focus of their efforts should be, as a standards oriented HTML5 training system will work on all platforms and devices (Windows, Linux, Android, Windows Phone and Apple).

New Course Interface

Kevin discussed the developments in progress right now, one if which is an entirely new student interface will provider a simpler, cleaner interface for browsing course content that remembers what you were last doing (to enable you to immediately pick-up where you left off) – obviously this will be cross-platform.

Quiz Platform

In my review I discussed my frustrations with the end of module quizzes and Kevin has confirmed this is also being revamped to as it is one of the older elements in their training platform.  For me their current system isn’t flawed, it just has usability issues which should hopefully be addressed by their new front end.

Summary

So in summary, while the technology for mobile learning isn’t currently cross-platform and there are a few usability issues, the Career Academy e-learning environment is about to be re-imagined and I for one am very excited to see where it goes and looking forward to using and reviewing the new developments.

As mentioned in my previous review, the course content itself is very good, it was purely the delivery mechanism that I found lacking and, once this is updated, Career Academy will have both great content and a great platform, putting them well ahead of the competition.  Watch this space!

 

 

 

 

 

Bob McKay

About Bob McKay

Bob McKay works at Perfect Image, is a father, programmer and a self confessed techie-geek type.

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7 comments on «Updated Review of Career Academy Online Learning System»

  1. Chris says:

    So, the end of the year has come and gone and I see that Career Academy is offering a monthly subscription. Have you been back to check out how the updates did (or didn’t go)?

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hey Chris,

      Thanks for the comment – I am still waiting for the release of the Android App as I do most of my learning while travelling – I’ll post an update when I do!

  2. Chris E. says:

    Just wanted to add that I found your review very informative as I decided, based on this review and some others and a quick discussion with customer service to purchase the MSCE dual package for $99 which includes 5 Server 2012 R2 courses, and 2 System Center. online for 1 year. Time will be my only issue.

    1. Bob McKay says:

      Hey Chris,

      Glad you found it useful! Good luck with courses, let me know how you get on!

    2. Kelly says:

      Worth the money? If you were to rely on the certs available to advance your career is this the best value and reputable place to start from?

  3. Steve says:

    Bob, I am thinking of signing up, they have a $29 per year to the entire course. I was wondering if you have been back lately to check up on the updates? I will probably at least do the first year, as $29 seems like a decent price to “try” something for a year. I would like your thoughts as it seems you are the only independent review of the site.

    Thanks

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