Microsoft Virtual Academy is the best free technical training resource that I have found to date from a large IT vendor. It goes beyond the basics with some of the free courses spanning multiple days which is taking classroom content and presenting it in a nutshell. For anyone that is needing to update or their Microsoft technical skills, or is just getting started with Microsoft technologies, MVA is the best place to begin.
I am also a fan of the MOOC sites Udacity and Coursera. Google has recently made an investment in Udacity and has co-created content for development courses. This approach is a bit different than MVA as its setup like an online university program. I have taken business courses from both Udacity and Coursers, but have not taken technical courses yet.
I have explored the free online training from some of the other large IT vendors. While the majority have some free content, I am finding it is more limited to beginner knowledge, or 101 knowledge. There also seems to be a lot of up selling for their paid online or classroom courses in as part of their free content. I understand the value of classroom learning and that content development isn’t low cost for vendors. But with a lot of learning content being given away these days, vendors could benefit by adopting the same methods as Microsoft and Google. Training people that will know how to use their products which will result in these people promoting the vendor products to employers and customers. This only makes sense as people will promote or sell what they understand.
Have you run across any good free training resources? Please share by leaving a comment.