A Review of the LearnKey Online Microsoft Office Curriculum Blog Feature
Bri Stauffer

By: Bri Stauffer on February 17th, 2015

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A Review of the LearnKey Online Microsoft Office Curriculum

Computer Applications | LearnKey Online | Microsoft Office

We'll be the first to admit that we may not be the best fit for every teacher or every circumstance. And when we're not, we like to be able to recommend something that might be perfect for you. Likewise, many teachers and administrators ask us about products that are of interest to them. LearnKey online is one of those products. Here's our take on what you'll find with LearnKey.

How LearnKey Online Works for Schools

When students begin with LearnKey online, they'll start with some pre-assessment questions. These questions are aimed at gauging where the student is before beginning their training.

Then students move on to the first lesson. The first lesson starts with a tour of the Microsoft Office application. LearnKey offers lessons in both Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013. The lesson starts with a short video introduction to the "teacher," giving the student a face with which to connect.

In a conversational style, the teacher begins to explain a bit about the application. From there, it transitions to a screen with a blank Microsoft Word document while the teacher continues to give instruction. The information is interesting and very detailed, sharing tips and tricks along the way and even noting her favorite "hidden gems."

Once they have finished viewing the lesson, students enter a Lab section. The lab is where the student interacts with the application to apply what they learned in the lesson.

For example, students will be presented with a question and a sample document within the platform. Students click on the appropriate area in the sample document according to the question. If they click on the wrong area, a small message at the bottom of the screen says “incorrect," and the student can try again until you click the correct area.

After completing the labs and reviewing content that they may have struggled with, students can then take the Post-Assessment.

LearnKey Training: Strengths

There is an abundance of information given in the curriculum. For example, speed keys are taught as they come across functions in the applications. So students are learning functions plus the speed key combination to shortcut that function.

There is an “Activity Report” area for students. If you answered something wrong in the Lab, you can view the “Adaptive Study Guide” that walks you through the tasks you did incorrectly. This is a great place for students to review content they may not fully understand and should revisit in the lessons. There are also additional documents, such as a glossary available for students.

The LearnKey online content feels strongly geared towards certification prep, particularly MOS exams for Word and Excel for Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013. And although it is suitable for someone who has NEVER used the applications, it feels designed for an adult, professional audience, perhaps for people who need to be certified for work.

LearnKey Training: Weaknesses

The LearnKey curriculum may be too detailed for middle school or high school aged students. Some parts of the lessons were little slow and I ran into "information overload" at some points. Knowing that middle school students can struggle to focus over-long on anything, sitting and watching videos at this pace could very quickly deteriorate to boredom.

I repeatedly encountered an issue where the section I was on would re-start, repeating video/audio I had already sat through. Nothing is perfect, but knowing how students react to anything that may slow down the learning process, if this happens frequently enough it could cause some chaos in the classroom.

One major weakness I found is that it appears students can skip to anywhere they want in the content. For example, I was able to skip certain videos in the lessons and there was nothing to stop me from moving ahead or just not watching. Further, the “assignment” area is self-check. Students are able to check that “yes I did the lessons, yes I did the pre-test” and nothing will stop them from checking the boxes, even if they didn’t complete the work. Though some students will thoroughly complete all tasks, we all know there are some who will try to do as little work as possible, and a self-check may not be the best option for your students.

Online LearnKey Summary

What I experienced with LearnKey online was generally positive. My greatest difficulty was feeling that I could thoroughly review LearnKey with just a 2-day trial. I think I would need more time to really understand if this would be beneficial for my students and work well in my classroom. That being said, my overall impression is that the lessons are very detailed, which for the right audience would nicely get the job done.

The curriculum is very geared towards certification and would therefore be very beneficial for two specific areas:

Is LearnKey Online right for your classroom? When it all comes down to it, you really have to try it out for yourself.

If you are interested in learning about other options for Microsoft Office Curriculum, read this post: Cengage SAM vs. Pearson MyITLab: Microsoft Office Curriculum

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About Bri Stauffer

Bri collaborates with others at AES to create content that answers your questions about teaching classes, preparing students for certifications, and making the most of the AES digital curriculum.

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