Several months ago I wrote about a unique method of training based on replacing live lecturing with pre-recorded videos. For the uninitiated, this frees up trainers to assist students the whole time, cuts way down on preparation time, and allows students to move at their own pace which increases focus and engagement (see the short video here for a bit more info). Back then it was a theory, but now it's been tested in several different environments and proven as an incredibly effective way to both teach and learn Drupal. Plus, it's way more fun than traditional training.
This is a quick outline of what's been happening so far, what's coming up, and how to get started if you want to organize or participate in a Mentored Training for your community or organization.
How to offer a free, effective Drupal training in your area
Nearly every Drupal community sees the need for training in their area, but it's a headache to either develop a curriculum, get access to existing curriculum or get an experienced trainer in at the right time. But never fear! You (yes, you!) can conduct a effective, proven training in your area with very little effort and awesome results.
You don't have to get up in front of a class, you don't have to memorize anything. Just leverage your experience in Drupal to help students as they work through a proven set of video lectures. If it sounds odd or lame - it's not. Students work at their own pace, they have a great time, and mentors also enjoy being able to simply show up and help students without extensive and exhausting preparation.
Setting up a Mentored Training is simple. It has a basic structure that you can follow exactly or adjust to meet the needs of you and your students. Build a Module.com will also give you free access to our entire video library for you and your students for a full 8 days so students have the chance to ramp up before the training, or wrap up what they were working on after the training is complete.
If you're interested in mentoring or participating in a Mentored Training in your area, a great place to start is by posting a suggestion on groups.drupal.org (see here and here for examples).
Learn more about how to conduct a Mentored Training on the Build a Module.com resources page.
Mentored Trainings so far
There's been a few mentored trainings so far, with quite a few more coming down the pikes. If you're considering organizing one in your area or for your organization, please leverage those of us that have had some experience as resources to answer questions and help wrap your mind around the logistics.
San Francisco, BADCamp 2011 - Our first Mentored Training was at the Bay Area Drupal Camp in San Francisco. We had 6 mentors and 55 students at the full-day training. During a feedback session after the training, what we heard from students was unanimously positive. One thing they really appreciated was the extensive one-on-one time they got with the trainers. We discovered that a full third of the students came over-qualified for the training, which worked perfectly in an environment where there was more advanced material available. The mentors unanimously felt the same way. Two of the mentors quickly began the process of organizing trainings in their own in Portland and Denver.
Minnesota, Advantage Labs Client Training - Advantage Labs in Minnesota piloted their first Mentored Training for 15 clients, specifically around learning about Views. The video base allowed less experienced clients work through Drupal basics, and they created a virtual snapshot of the example site partway through the "Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site" video collection to allow more advanced users to hit the ground running.
Edinburgh, Scotland - A Mentored Training event was put on in Edinburgh for would-be mentors to evaluate the Build a Module.com material for a future pre-camp training. The event was small, but it sounded like it went very smoothly and the consensus was that it would be a great format for the upcoming camp.
Upcoming Mentored Trainings (and trainings in planning)
If you're in the planning stages for conducting a Mentored Training and don't see it listed here, please let us know so we can add it to our calendar.
DrupalCon, Denver, March 19 - We have a great line-up of talent for the DrupalCon training. With 10+ mentors with experience in site building, theming, coding, Information Architecture, it's a great opportunity to take a flying leap up the learning curve and get some great one-on-one help. Learn more or sign up.
Denver Community Training, February 18 - The Denver Drupal community is conducting a full-day mentored training with some great mentors in an awesome community. Donations are welcome, but attendance is free. This can be a great way to ramp up for the DrupalCon event as well. Learn more or sign up.
DrupalCamp Florida, February 12 - While 50 or so talented Drupalists build amazing free sites for a few non-profits, the future site owners will be working on their Drupal chops by using the Build a Module.com videos to train. The videos will also be available to the 50+ coders and themers making the sites happen (because even ninjas need help sometimes). For more information, contact Kendall.
Phoenix, Arizona (in planning) - Several community members in Phoenix are in the process of organizing a Mentored Training for the community. If you're interested in mentoring or being a student, please contact Matt at Ashday Interactive.
Portland (in planning) - Another great community is planning a mentored training. If you're interested in contributing, go ahead and post to the discussion page.
Glasgow, Scotland (suggested) - As a follow up to the Edinburgh training, there is some discussion about another Scotland. See this comment for more for who to contact about participating or helping to plan.
Australia (in planning) - We don't have the exact details, but there's been some training plans at an upcoming conference. Please feel free to send us an e-mail and we'll forward your info to the organizers.
India (in planning) - We're collaborating with an organization to provide mentored trainings in India. If you are interested in participating or contributing, please send us an e-mail and we'll pass it on to the organizers.