Micrsoft E-Learning for Business can go straight to Hell (long)

Seriously, what numb-nut dreamt this crap up? For one, the process is incredibly lengthy and needlessly complicated. I need to go through all the modules for Outlook, Word, and Excel. I’m about halfway through the Outlook ones, and I am already pissed.

First off, there is no nice easy “Everything for Outlook 2007” module…no, you have to search for Outlook 2007 and manually add in every module (there are 7 of them that I found, but one is a pretty useless “what’s new in 2007” that I don’t need to do.) Repeat this for every applications and it’s very cumbersome.

Secondly, the actual modules themselves are bloated, full of useless information, and bury the useful information above it. There are little “self tests” at the end of each section of each module (so, maybe 4 per module.) They ask the most obscure questions that, even if you did read every little word and watch every little video, you’d have a hell of a time remembering. I usually skip those and just go straight to the “assessment,” which is the official thingy I have to print out. But, of course, rather than have the assessment built into the module itself, you have to exit the module, go back to the list that displays all the modules you have picked out, click on the module you want (but not the “launch” button that actually starts the module,) then click on a tab called assessment, and then click on the actual assessment button.

You’re asked 10 of the most random, obscure questions you can think of. They generally involve memorizing a sequence of three to five menu choices to do a simple task that can easily be done by just right clicking on an area. The worst part is that there are a lot of trick questions/answers (the wording is so precise, so you have to make sure to double check that it’s referring to the tool bar, or the quick access bar, or the ribbon, or the whatever the fuck.) hell, there’s even been downright wrong/very inaccurate questions/answers. Some examples:

This is very inaccurate because the phrase “you open the contact window” sounds, to me, like I merely click on the Contact Tab in the Navigation Toolbar on the left. And hey, there’s a “Business Card” view option! Ok, I’ll click on that, too. To me, that is opening the contact window so I can edit a business card. But there are no groups labeled 'communicate," “show,” or “options”…there’s an “actions” item in the menu bar, so maybe that’s it? Nope, that would be the wrong answer. What they want you to do is double-click on a contact, and then a whole new window pops up and then, in that window, in the “options” tab, is something called “Business Card” where you actually change the settings for the way the business card shows up when you’re listing contacts as business cards.

Oh, yeah…that makes sense. So while the question and answer aren’t really wrong, there are just a lot more confusing than they need to be because of the same name used for different things, and the question not giving you enough info to fully understand what it’s asking without a lot of trial and error. And I’m pretty computer savvy, and it was still tricky for me to differentiate between the Business Card setting for a contact listing, and the Business Card view for the contact list.

And the worst are the questions that are flat-out wrong.

None of these options display only the names, numbers and emails. The “correct” answer is 'Address Cards." But I’ll let you see for yourself. Go ahead, open Outlook 2007, click on the ‘Contacts’ Tab, and then click on “Address Cards”…do you see only names, numbers, and emails? Nope…you see names, numbers, emails, and…
wait for it

Gee, who would think the address card listing format would include the address? What a novel concept! And to me, also displaying the address along with the name, number, and email, is NOT displaying ONLY the name, number, and email.

I know it’s easy to pick on Microsoft, but this is something they could easily fix! It’s not some random line of code hidden in the OS, it’s factually wrong information that only needed a couple of people to “test” it to make sure it’s right!

I swear that most of these tests are put together by people who have never used, say, Outlook but read “Outlook for Dummies” over the weekend. They test on the dumbest things. I failed an AutoCAD assessment after using the software daily for most of the past 25 years. A typical question was “What are the menu picks to change the color of the background?” Note that it was just a test and AutoCAD was not running.

I told the lady giving the test that, had one of my employees memorized that sequence of clicks, she didn’t have enough to do.

Have you considered posting feedback on an actual Microsoft forum so the right personnel will be able to see and act upon it?

bouv, don’t take this the wrong way because you’re a complete stranger to me, but I love you. For misery loves company and in misery you and me are more than company, kindred spirits, soul-mates because I know your pain.
For you see my M$ certified desktop support technician (MCDST) class is exactly as you describe “E-Learning”.
For example consider this non-multiple choice question. You must pick only one answer, I asked, believe me I asked. This is typed in as appears word for word in Chapter 9 of my book, the chapter is entitled, Configure, Customize and Migrate to Outlook.

Just let it wash over you for a bit. Consider the language of the question, and the chapter it’s from. According to the grading key for the book you must pick one answer, the best answer. Pick your answer and then open the spoiler.

[spoiler]If you picked anything but c. Internet Explorer, you got it wrong.

If you did pick C you got it right but you’re a fucking moron. First Internet != WWW, second why the fuck is an internet explorer question in the outlook chapter?

I said fuck it and put down ABC, because they were all equally the best answer. And I’ll go down flames before I’ll willing be wrong.[/spoiler]
The teacher was cool about it though, as long you didn’t pick D he gave you the points for it.

Act upon it? :confused: Thank you, Hunter Hawk, I needed a good laugh today.

Well, I suppose you’re gonna think whatever you’re gonna think, but I happen to know a few people who develop training for a couple of Microsoft products (granted, not the ones mentioned in the OP), and yeah, they do pay attention to feedback.

So basically you either have a choice of (a) bitching about the product in a forum where people who can change the product might actually see the feedback; or (b) bitching about the product on the SDMB. Option (a) is more likely to result in actual changes being made to the product, but if all you really want to do is kvetch about it, hey, knock yourself out.

Welcome to ‘We don’t want the answer; we want the Microsoft answer’ hell.

When I attempted to get certified in SAP’s QM module (which at that time I’d been implementing for four years, and from what I see I had learned more in those four years than most consultants in their whole life), the questions were the same idiotic things, like “what is the menu path for the transaction ‘create inspection lot’?”

The only time anybody, consultant or user, should go via menus is if they have to reach something the never use. “Create inspection lot” is QA01 in the codes window, duh - those same transaction codes which SAP wanted to get rid of but decided against when everybody else yelled so loud they needed to visit their ear doctor. And if you use it often (which nobody should, as inspection lots should be created automagically), then you have it as a shortcut in your personal menu.

Some of the answers were directly wrong (they are wrong in SAP’s help), in ways which can mean enormous costs for their customers. I asked the proctor what did I do about those, he snorted and basically told me to shut the hell up because “there is no such thing.”

I understand that the proctors in Germany do accept corrections from the consultants taking the test. Guess I’ll have to ask whether I can go to Germany to take the test in English :stuck_out_tongue:

To me, the best tests just tell you to do X, and then you have to go do it (in a limited time frame, of course.)

My Access course in college would often just show me a database table, and some screenshots, and tell me to go do that. Everything else would just show me the screenshot. (Well, Excel would tell you that you couldn’t hardcode certain cells.)

Anyways, I found that doing it this way on Office 2003 made moving to 2007 a whole lot easier.

…I didn’t realize I could only choose one. Posting here nullifies any attempt I make to comment on the E-Learning website? :confused:

Yes. Yes, it does. Because Microsoft secretly controls the Internet, employees deep in the subbasement of Building 7 can scan posts across different web sites to identify common authorship. This enables them to set the SAFE_TO_IGNORE flag on comments made by users who are known to have achieved SDMB Master’s Certification in Deliberately Reading Things Overly-Literally.

Or, perhaps you were intending to imply that the OP shouldn’t use the Pit for its intended purpose, to rant about things that bother them, got called on it, and, rather than have the guts to admit it, decided to insult the other poster’s intelligence.

Or perhaps you are so stupid you don’t know what your previous post implied.

Cool joke, though.

Well, you know the saying in the biz: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, get papered.

(P.S.: Big T, you probably have a lot of certifications)

No, it’s fair use of the Pit. But over the years, I’ve gotten very tired of seeing people who have datapoints that could be leveraged to improve products choose not to provide feedback in venues where stakeholders are likely to actually see that feedback; instead, they post rants in various locations on the Internet. While this may serve the one goal of blowing off steam, it does nothing to help address the underlying issue. Just blowing off steam is all well and good, I suppose, but it doesn’t help other people in the long run.

I suppose it could be argued that product teams should do a better job of monitoring various random sites on the Internet to keep an eye out for this type of data, but that approach doesn’t scale; so frankly it’d make everybody’s life easier if customers provided feedback in appropriate locations. Now, a better argument could be made that Microsoft should make it clearer how to provide feedback and product suggestions; various product teams are aware of the issue and are approaching it with a variety of methods, but changes take time.

You’ll note that my first post in the thread was merely to raise the issue that bouv should provide feedback in a location where it would be noticed, since the OP had made no indication that he had done so. Though admittedly my other posts were more snarky than really warranted.

And over the years, I’ve gotten very, very tired of SBMB members’ habitual pattern of trying to score points by deliberately reading other posters’ comments overly literally and then getting nitpicky about them.

On the other hand, I could just be stupid.