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The permanent location of this information, which may be more up to date, is https://buildamodule.com/train.

On this page

  1. What is this page for?
  2. What is a Build a Module.com Mentored Training?
  3. Why would I want to do a training using the Mentored Training model?
  4. Benefits of the Mentored Training model
  5. How to conduct a mentored training
  6. Overview of training topics to choose from
  7. Cost breakdown
  8. Portable internet information
  9. Example schedule
  10. How to introduce a mentored training
  11. What information to send Build a Module.com when you're ready to start
  12. Templates for advertising and communication
  13. Organizer FAQ
  14. Student FAQ
  15. Resource links

What is this page for?

This page contains a set of resources and suggestions for conduction a Build a Module.com Mentored Training. If you decide to put on a training, nothing here is set in stone, it is simply a guide to help you get started and provide a set of ground rules that can help you move forward without having to do too much planning.

What is a Build a Module.com Mentored Training?

A Build a Module.com mentored training is likely very different than other trainings you have organized or attended. It's more effective, more fun, and much easier to organize than a traditional training. On this page you can find resources on how to conduct a Mentored Training and what makes it a highly effective model.

A Mentored Training leverages a set of carefully produced videos to replace traditional lectures. The videos are short (2-10 minutes long), and are grouped together into comprehensive collections. At the beginning of the training, students are given a brief orientation (15-20 minutes) to the collection they will be focusing on, a quick tour of the video player features, and then they begin to watch videos at their own pace. A team of 'mentors' are available to help students whenever they have questions or run into problems.

Besides a couple of minor details, that fully describes what happens at a mentored training. The concept is simple, but incredibly effective.

Why would I want to do a training using the Mentored Training model?

There are two major reasons you might want to conduct a Mentored Training. The first is that you have a group of people you want to get up to speed in Drupal (your organization, your Drupal user group, students in your class), and you recognize that this model will be the most effective approach since it more fully engages students and is easier to organize than a traditional training. It also has a built in system for continued education so the student knows where to go when the training is over.

The second is that you want to train as part of a business plan, and so you'd like to use the training to develop leads or generate profit. In this case, a Mentored Training is cheaper and easier put on, while still being more satisfying for students. There are no fees for using Build a Module.com as your curriculum (in fact we will give you and your students free access for a week), and you can use a variety of spaces to conduct the training. In most cases,you don't need to even be very familiar with the curriculum to pull off the training, you and your fellow mentors just need the skill set you are training on (i.e. site building for a site building training, development for a development training).

The next section addresses the major benefits of using this type of training over a traditional model.

Benefits of the Mentored Training model

There are many problems in a traditional training that the mentored training model addresses. Namely, it's cheaper, easier to organize, more effective for students and more enjoyable for trainers.

Trainers require little or no preparation time

Besides the introductory orientation, trainers are spending the entire day helping students with questions they have. If the training is for site building, then they should be familiar with site building. If the training is around development, they should be familiar with developing. They don't even need to know the specifics about the Build a Module.com video collection, which means all they really need to do is simply show up to the training.

Trainers don't need to present

The number of people who both know their stuff technically and like to get in front of a group to train in a typical lecture style is a lot smaller than those who just know their stuff. When you take the presentation aspect out of the training, it means that a lot more people can be comfortable getting involved. This also has a huge impact on preparation time.

Curriculum is open and public

Since the curriculum is based off of publicly accessible videos, students can get a sense of what they're about to get into before the training, and after the training they can continue their education by working through additional videos. The videos are nearly all transcribed and searchable, making them a valuable reference as well.

Trainers get to help students directly 100% of the time

There's two sides to trainers getting to help students all the time. Firstly, it's a huge value for the students. Having more in-person help means that students can get over humps faster and feel like they can really get what they need. It's a great incentive for them to move forward, too, since they have the help built right in.

This also makes the trainer's job much more satisfying. Instead of occasionally helping students catch up to the lecture, they can spend the time with the student to really help them figure stuff out. At my last training, all 6 mentors said they would do it again because it was just a lot of fun.

If a student misses one concept, they can review until they get it, then move on

A lecture is timed and linear, which means that it's easy for students to get left behind. If you miss one concept as a student, that could mean that everything after that lost concept doesn't make sense. With a video training, however, there's no pressure. You take your time on a concept until you get it, then you can move on without holding anyone else back.

Students can rewind if they get lost

As students, we tend to drift off from time to time. If you're watching a video, you can simply rewind back to where you left off.

Students can stop whenever they need a break

Everybody's brains get full at different times. Some people don't even need breaks. By leveraging videos instead of lectures, students are free to take as many breaks as they need, or use break time to keep moving forward. At the last mentored training, probably 30% of the students stayed through the lunch period, watching videos.

Students can skip over material they already know

Regardless of how well you describe the material beforehand, some students will come over-qualified for the training. Because of the large library of videos on Build a Module.com, there is something for everybody in a group. A full third of our last "site building" class moved on to watch videos on development, theming, and using version control. If it had been a traditional training, these students would not have been as engaged as they could have been.

Basic or advanced questions don't bog the whole group down

In a traditional training, whenever a student has a question it stops the group from moving forward. Sometimes these are questions much of the group has, but most of the time they're not. When a question is asked, a lot of time gets wasted and a lot of pressure is put on the student, meaning that a lot of questions don't get asked. But with a generous number of mentors available to help, there's much less pressure and questions don't hold anyone back.

Vocal students don't hold the presentation back, instead they can get the help they need

There's always that a couple students who seems to have more to say than the others. In a traditional training, these students either bog the group down or get the cold shoulder. In a mentored training, however, there are enough human resources available to allow them to spend the time explaining their problems and get solutions, which is usually all they need to start getting to work.

Students can continue learning after the training is over

Again, the public nature of the videos on Build a Module.com means that students can leverage the amount of time spent getting familiar with the interface to continue their education long after the live training is finished. There's a lot of material there, and new material is added weekly, meaning that once students start learning, they can just keep going.

Videos are carefully produced and keep a good pace

Even if a trainer is open to presenting in front of a group, a number of skills have to come together for a presenter to be empathetic, well-paced and easy to follow. The videos are produced to be easy to follow and keep the student engaged, while reducing the amount of unused space, all of which can be tricky when presenting in a live lecture format. By having the videos, trainers and students no longer have to worry about presentation style.

Costs are low, projection is not required

Because of the reduced preparation time, lower stress, and the minimized skill set required to be a mentor, it's much easier and cheaper to pull together the human resources needed for a training. In our last training, all of our mentors were volunteers (i.e. free). In terms of physical costs, a training can be conducted in any venue with seating, power and internet. In our last training, we didn't even use a projector, which allowed us to cut down on costs.

Trainings can be any length of time, or can be distributed as a regular event

Because of the extensive video library on Build a Module.com, trainings can be as short as a couple hours or as long as several days, and the structure of the training doesn't have to change at all. This makes it very flexible, so it can be equally as effective as a weekly meetup or a one-time 3-day training.

Transcriptions make training accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing.

Nearly all the videos on BuildAModule are transcribed and captioned, meaning a mentored training is accessible to the deaf or hard of hearing without hiring transcriptionists. The transcriptions also provide a valuable tool to all students by having a second way to interpret the spoken word. Nearly all the students in our last training agreed that the transcriptions were very useful.

How to conduct a mentored training

In order to conduct a training, you will need a few things. Getting these things together isn't too hard, but it will be the trickiest part of the event.

Before the event

If you're holding an informal event at a coffee shop with 5-10 people, then there's a lot of this you don't need to worry about. But for planned, 20-100+ people, more formal events, this list should cover the set of tasks you'll need to undertake to make sure things move forward smoothly. You can print this off to use as a checklist.

  1. Pick a venue and reserve it - You need a place to meet. Explore universities, schools and hotels for more official trainings, but coffee shops, restaurants and living rooms could also work for a less formal event.
  2. Choose a topic - See the Overview of training topics to choose from section below for help on choosing a topic.
  3. Set a schedule - Knowing the times of the training will help students and trainers plan for it. See the example schedule below for more information.
  4. Set pricing and sell tickets - Decide how much you're going to charge. There are no costs from Build a Module.com, and we will provide you with 8 days of free access for your students. Your pricing should at least cover the cost of the venue, the internet, any physical resources and the costs of mentorship. See the cost breakdown below for more information. You can use a site like EventBrite to sell tickets and keep a cap on signups.
  5. Spread the word - Use Twitter, Facebook, write blog posts, talk to various Drupal user groups, talk to anyone you know using Drupal, advertise to tech meetups in your area, invite your family and friends, put up signs, tell universities and schools.
  6. Invite mentors - Invite mentors that are skilled in the subject matter covered in the training. We had 7 mentors for 60 students at our last training, which seemed like a good ratio. We could have dropped that down to 3 or 4 in the second half of the day-long training. Besides the organizer, no preparation was required for the mentors, they just have to show up on time.
  7. Plan internet access- Try to pick a place with good internet. The videos are optimized for web streaming, meaning that for video they're small, but they're still video. Also, a stable internet connection is important. See portable internet information below for suggestions on bringing your own internet backup.
  8. Give students access to Build a Module.com and send pre-training email - See the "What information to sent Build a Module.com" section below for details on getting access to the credit page. We'll give you permission to give students an 8-day pass to the site. In our last training, a common student request was to give access a few days before the training so that students could build up some questions to bring to the training, but it's up to you to decide when to start their access.
  9. Buy or gather several isolating headphones - At our last training, 10% of the students forgot headphones. Also, there were several complaints about noise levels. Bringing some spare headsets that block out noise will solve both problems. You can get $4 pairs here on Amazon. Make sure to sanitize them between trainings. ;)
  10. Get power strips and extension cords - If the venue doesn't provide adequate power to each student, then you should buy enough power strips and extension cords to get a plug for every student close to the table where they will be. You may need to check out the venue to see what needs to be done here.
  11. Get water - If there's no water at the venue, buy some bottled water to bring.
  12. Modify and print out information sheets for each student - The information sheet contains links to important resources for support, information about IRC and training-specific links.You can preview the information sheet here, and download an HTML version of the sheet along with other resources here. The filename is mentored-training-resources.html and can be found in the /documents folder, and you can modify this as you need. Items that need to be replaced are marked in red, and have the 'fill' class when looking at the HTML.
  13. Send email before the training - Send a reminder email (see template here) to students before the training with info about the schedule, about what they need to bring (i.e. headphones) and to let them know they can contact you with questions.

During the event

Here are some tips on what to do at the event itself:

  1. Introduce the video collection, the interface and the mentors - See the "How to introduce a mentored training" below for an example. This is a quick orientation to get people comfortable and get everyone on the same page. If you don't have a projector, use join.me to share your screen during the slides. If you use join.me, post the URL on a white board or projected slide.
  2. Hand out information sheets - These are mentioned above and will be useful for students for reference and also to help late students get oriented if they missed the orientation.
  3. Handle access requests - At the beginning, have a mentor dedicated to granting access to students who didn't get Build a Module.com access before the training.
  4. Hand out a brightly colored sticky note to each student - When a student has a question and all the trainers are busy, they can put on their laptop lid to signal that they need help. That way they don't need to keep their hands in the air indefinitely.
  5. Set up IRC channel - You can set up an IRC channel to encourage students to do a little backroom discussion, and to ask questions in an informal way. If you use Freenode and have more than 5 users or so, you may need to request from a moderator at #freenode to unlock the account so many users can join from the same IP address. You can also offer a web-based portal to make it easy like the one at http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=[IRC channel here].
  6. During the training, walk around - We found that students were far more likely to ask for help if a mentor was close by. So have the mentors walk around regularly, even if it seems like no one needs help.
  7. Take some pictures and / or video - Having some media will help you market the next event.
  8. Leave some time at the end for feedback - We planned a 30 minute feedback session at the end of our last training, and it was great to hear what people liked and what improvements they suggested.

Overview of training topics to choose from

If you've taken a look at the video library, then you know there's a broad range of subjects you can cover in the training. One idea is to allow students to choose what topic they want to dive into, but you may also want to narrow down the subject matter for a specific purpose, to fill a gap among other trainings going on at the same time, or to market to a particular audience. Students can reasonably work through 2-4 hours of video during a single full day training, meaning that they will usually only make it through a portion of a collection.

Below are the topics that currently have significant coverage in the video library, and thus can form the basis of a Mentored Training.

Site Building

Using the "Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site" collection, students will walk through the process of building a fully functional Drupal 7 web site from start to finish. No previous experience with Drupal is required. We first go through the process of installing Drupal like a desktop application and move on to discuss and implement the most essential components of Drupal, including modules, content types, nodes, taxonomy, views and lots more. Everything is pulled together in a comprehensive example site that includes custom content types, a calendar view, a Wysiwyg and various other features.

Drupal Development and Module Building

Using the "Drupal 7 Development Core Concepts" collection, students will build several practical modules and explore Drupal 7's various APIs. We begin by building a simple 'Hello, World' module, and move on to create forms, work with the database, handle users, explore jQuery integration and lots, lots more.

Drupal Theming

Using the "Drupal 7 Theming Essentials" collection, students will learn how to work with the theming layer to modify any piece of output. We explore how to create a theme from scratch, how to use sub-themes and how to clone themes. We explore how to determine what method of output modification to use, from using template files to preprocessing functions to theme functions. We also demonstrate how to incorporate modifications to a theme settings page to allow for quick visual changes on the them layer.

Version Control and Code Workflow (in progress)

We're currently rolling out the "Version Control and Change Management" collection, in which the student learns what version control is all about, and how to use Git in a piratical way to manage processes like pushing a development site to production, or working in tandem with other team members. Once a solid foundation is set for version control, we explore the techniques needed to capture everything in code for security and accountability using the Features module, Selenium IDE and other tools. We then wrap up by demonstrating how to use the Drush command line tool to speed up site management.

Cost breakdown

Below are some hypothetical scenarios so you can get an idea about how to price your training. To calculate what to charge, add up your expenses, add a little bit of a buffer, and divide by the minimum number of students that will make the training financially viable, if finances are a factor. Again, there's no extra charges from Build a Module.com for conducting a training based on its material.

As far as venue goes, there are usually a variety of options available. Call around to colleges and hotels for pricing. For one hotel I talked to, the cost would be $250 for a small room (25 people max) to $850 for a large room (150 people max). A projector would be $150, and catering would be $10-$15 / person. The projector and food were both optional. If the trainers aren't getting paid, it could also be good to include a little thank you to the mentors as perhaps a dinner or gift.

5-15 people, informal - $0

The actual cost of your training can be $0 if done in a public venue with internet, say a coffee shop or restaurant. People can also bring up their own sharable backup cellular internet just in case internet goes wonky. Even though it's free, like with most things, the more together you are with the training, the better it will go.

15-70+ people, informal - $400 to $1500

If your goal is just to train people or get exposure and you're not worried about cash flow, then you can price the training to simply cover the costs of the venue, internet and maybe food.

15-70+ people, formal - $800 to $2000

These are rough numbers, but the idea is that in a more formal setting, you'll probably want to pay your trainers and make sure things are really squared away with the internet situation, including possibly bringing some backup cellular internet.

Portable internet information

The interment required for a Build a Module.com training isn't terribly high, but it is critical. For a typical 1-day training, you can figure in about 300MB of download per trainee over the course of the day. For a 50-person training, that's about 36MB of download per minute on average. For some venues, this will be easy, for others it may be pushing it.

One possibility is to augment the existing internet with cellular internet using a router with load balancing. With the Cradlepoint MBR120 ($199), you can connect up to 3 USB modems along with a wired connection, and have the internet fall back on the cellular internet when the main internet is down. For the cellular plans, one option is to get the Ovation MC706 USB modem (supported by the Cradlepoint device) form Virgin mobile ($79) and pay $50 for the unlimited plan for 1 month (speed could go down after 2.5 gigs). You can get up to 3 of these and the Cradlepoint device will balance out the load between the USB modems if the main internet goes down.

Example schedule

For a day-long event:

  • 9:00am - Orientation (introduce the collection, the mentors, and the interface)
  • 9:30am - Begin training
  • 12:00pm - Break for lunch (optional)
  • 12:30pm - Back to training
  • 4:30pm - Feedback session
  • 5:00pm - Done

For an evening event:

  • 5:30pm - Orientation
  • 6:00pm - Begin training
  • 8:30pm - Done

How to introduce a mentored training

I will post a video here shortly, but in the meantime you can download some sample slides at http://is.gd/bamtrainingresources.

Here is an example outline that covers the important parts:

  • Welcome / greeting!
  • How the training works (not a lecture, using videos instead. Means students can work at their own pace, and trainers are free the whole time to help students)
  • The schedule
  • Have the mentors introduce themselves
  • Logistical bits
    • Slides can be downloaded at [URL here]
    • Students who don't have access to Build a Module.com can send email to [Email here]
    • If headphones were forgotten, we have spares
    • Use a sticky note to flag us down when everyone is busy (pass around sticky notes)
    • Connect on IRC using the [IRC channel here] on freenode.net
    • Mention that people can partner up or form small groups if they want
  • Offer a 1-minute overview of the video collection
  • Demonstrate how to use the player tools
    • How the videos are organized
    • (Play a video and pause it to show player tools)
    • How to navigate videos using the back, forward, and list buttons
    • How to use large screen mode (largescreen button)
    • How to to turn on continuous play (continuous play button)
    • How to mark a video as complete with the complete icon (mention that videos are marked as complete automatically as well)
    • How to use the transcript to navigate through the video (click on text to jump to that part of the video, note that you can search transcripts)
    • Point out the video updates tab and explain what it's for
  • Mention it's okay to wander to other videos on the site
  • Mention covering 1 hour of video for every 2-3 hours of training time is probably about what to expect.

What information to send Build a Module.com when you're ready to start

When you're ready to set up a training, we need to set you up with a page to give your students the free 8-day membership. If you don't need do do this, then you also don't need anything from us and you can just move forward. :)

In order to set you up with the tool to give access to your students, we need some assurance that you won't abuse the tool. So, we need a few bits of information from you to verify your identity. Please send us an email with the following information:

  1. Your full name
  2. Your physical address
  3. A link to your drupal.org user page
  4. A link to your Twitter profile page
  5. An explanation of the training and how many people you estimate will attend (in general, we will only offer free access for trainings that include 5 or more people)

Templates for advertising and communication

"About the training" template

This template can be used on a web site or used in printed materials to describe the training. At the least, you will want to replace the location, the subject matter and the mentor list.


Hotel Shattuck Plaza
2086 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94707
(510) 292-4353


Unlike traditional workshops, instead of spending the full day in lectures, each student will work at their own pace through a set of comprehensive, focused training videos covering one or more of three broad areas of Drupal skill sets: Site Building, Module Development and Theming. Experienced mentors will be available to help students answer questions on a one-on-one basis, work through sticky spots, or demonstrate additional examples to help clarify difficult concepts. By using video training instead of a live lecture model, students will be able to work at their own speed, pausing where they need to, replaying material they didn't get the first time around, and skipping material they're already familiar with. And instead of lecturing, the trainers will be free 100% of the time to help individuals through tricky spots or point them in the right direction.

If you've ever zoned out during a lecture and found yourself a little lost, or been frustrated that the short time available for questions gets taken up with discussion you're not interested in, this is the perfect environment for you. You can take breaks when you need, tackle exactly what you need to learn (or we'll help you figure out what that is) and get a lot of personal expert advice along the way.

When you arrive, we will get you oriented to the course material and give you a custom curriculum focused at your particular skill level, tackling the subjects you need to cover. We will be leveraging a set of communication tools to allow students to form small groups around a specific topic if they'd like to work with others, and allow us to address as many issues and questions as possible throughout the workshop day.

All levels of experience with Drupal will come out of this workshop having made a huge step up the Drupal learning curve, guaranteed. Students will get a full week of access to all the training videos so that they can continue to review and expand their knowledge following the training.


We will provide a tested curriculum where you will build a Drupal 7 site from scratch (no code required), learning some of the most important concepts and techniques around Drupal site-building throughout the process.


First and foremost, you will need a laptop and a set of comfortable earbuds or headphones. If you're easily distracted by noise, you might want a set that blocks out some sound, just in case there is a bit of discussion around you. Keep in mind that you will be watching sets of videos, and then applying what you learn throughout the day. You can also bring an iPad or tablet device to play the videos on while you follow along on your laptop.

Having a vanilla Drupal installation without any modifications ready will help you get started as quickly as possible. You can use the Acquia stack, or Bitnami in order to quickly set up a Drupal site like a desktop application (see here for a tutorial for Windows http://is.gd/ah6VpT or for Mac: http://is.gd/bskLKZ). Or, feel free to come with another stack you prefer. If you don't know what a stack is, don't worry about it, we'll help you out.


Chris Shattuck - Chris is the creator of Build a Module.com and has recorded nearly 500 focused Drupal tutorials. He has also done extensive in-person Drupal training, including a full-day module building training at Drupalcon, and has spoken at numerous Drupal events. The structure of this workshop combines the best of his experience as an in-person and on-line trainer. You can learn more about Chris at http://chrisshattuck.com .

Pre-training reminder template

Before the training, here's a template for an email you can send out to remind students about a few things. Namely, that they should bring a laptop and a set of headphones, that you'll be giving them free access to the site, and what date the training is going to occur. Right after sending this out, you can credit each account with an 8-day membership.

Greetings trainee!

Tomorrow you will be participating in the [NAME HERE] mentored video training, and I wanted to give you a heads up that I will be crediting you with a free 8 days membership to https://buildamodule.com shortly, giving you full, unencumbered access to the full video library for the next week. If you already have an account at Build a Module.com, this 8 days will be added to your account. Otherwise, an account will be created using the e-mail address you used to register for the training.

In the training, we will be focusing on the "Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site" collection, which will take you through the process of building a complete Drupal web site from start to finish.. Feel free to begin watching before the training proper so you can come with questions.

Please bring along a set of headphones for your laptop or iPad, and feel free to email me with any questions you might have.

Have a great rest of the week, and I look forward to seeing you on Friday!


Chris Shattuck

Organizer FAQ

Do I need to watch all these videos before I give a training?

No, as long as you're familiar with the general subject matter. For example, if you'll be training in site building, you and your mentors should have a decent grasp of Drupal site building. It does help to read through the index of videos on Build a Module.com so you have an idea of what the students will be watching, and can point them in the direction of other videos that might help, but even that isn't absolutely necessary.

If you're conducting the training and are new to the subject matter, then you can watch the videos to train yourself before training others.

Why would a student want to watch videos when they could do it at home?

Something we found in our training was that the Mentored Training experience is very social. Between students sitting next to each other discussing issues and mentors distributed around the room tackling problems, there was always a buzz of activity. The peer pressure of everybody focused on learning in the same environment feels to students like a study group. Also, knowing that there is a group of experts to help you through any sticky spots is strong motivation to make progress. In the feedback from our last training, we heard that the mentoring aspect of the training was a huge benefit to many students.

Even after our lunch period, where students could have easily left, we had a remarkably high retention rate, about 80%. Students even came from other trainings going on the same day after talking to friends in our training.

Won't students wander off and start doing other things?

In our last training, I walked around the group several times, glancing at computer screens to get a sense for what students were doing, and I only saw something outside of the training scope a couple times over the course of a full day.

Your students are there to learn, that's why they signed up. As long as they are engaged, they'll keep to the training program. It's when students get lost or the subject mater is below their experience level that they have to start doing other things to keep themselves interested. If you've ever been involved in a traditional training, you know this wandering happens a lot. In a Mentored Training, it's much more rare.

How does it feel to be in a room with a bunch of people watching videos?

Between the engagement between students and mentors and the fact that every student is focused on something where they're learning something valuable, it feels like a positive, relaxed, but still busy environment. Students get up from time to time to stretch their legs or come talk to a mentor. One suggestion from students was to set up a pre-training dialog between students to allow grouping together by interest, which also would have enhanced the training. Invariably, students were happy with the format.

Don't you need some crazy-fast internet connection to do this?

Not necessarily. Smaller class sizes should definitely be fine with a typical internet connection. Videos are compressed to a small size (1MB per minute), and students will probably only be watching videos about half the time. As with any training, as the group gets larger, the load on the internet will get more significant, and because the internet is critical for the training it may pay to beef up access where possible. Some venues will offer additional support, and you can also bring in backup internet (see the Portable internet information section above) just to make sure.

How to you do a training without a projector?

You can use a service like join.me to share your screen with your students. This can be useful for the orientation in particular.

When do I give students access to the videos?

In our last training, we gave students access one full day before the training so they could get their Drupal environments set up before coming to the class. Many of the students suggested giving them access a few days earlier so that they could work through the basic stuff at home and come to the training with questions. However you do it is fine, just know that you have 8 days of free access to work with.

Don't you need to pay for the videos on Build a Module.com?

We'll give you the ability to give your students a free 8-day pass to the site so they have some time before, during, and after the training to work through a collection. After that, a membership would be required.

What does Build a Module.com get out of this?

There's a couple things we get out of this. The first is that we know - based on user feedback - that we have a tremendously effective Drupal training tool, and we want to see more and more people leverage it to get further, faster.

I personally also found the traditional classroom setting frustrating for me in school, and I would like to see a better model adopted by more educational institutions so that students have a more effective way to learn. The more we can see it working in the field, the more likely it is to get adopted by others.

From a business standpoint, we know we have a rocking product and giving students and trainers the opportunity to leverage the product to conduct an effective training is a great way to get people on board for our paid products, like memberships and DVDs. It's like a standard free trial, but with huge side benefits.

Student FAQ

Why use Bitnami for installing Drupal?

Bitnami is the quickest way we've found for installing vanilla Drupal. The Acquia dev stack can also work, but it installs some additional modules on top of vanilla Drupal which means that some of the videos might not quite line up with what you see on your screen.

I can't get Bitnami to work, what do I do?!

This may be a question that comes up during a Site Building training where not all students already have Drupal installed. If you can't get Drupal installed locally, you can use the free trial on WebEnabled to get an online instance of Drupal 7.

Can you help me solve a specific problem in a project I'm working on?

As long as there are other mentors available to help students with tricky spots, this is a great opportunity to get expert help with more specific problems. If the mentors all seem to be busy, then try to come back to help the student later.

Where do I find the resource pack?

Scroll down to the bottom of the page. In the lower right-hand corner, click "Download resource pack". You can also go to https://buildamodule.com/resource-pack.

Resource links

  1. Conduct free Drupal trainings with the Build a Module.com Mentored Training model - YouTube - www.youtube.com
  2. Online Event Registration - Sell Tickets Online with Eventbrite - www.eventbrite.com
  3. Amazon.com: Coby Jammerz High-Performance Isolation Stereo Earphones CVE52BLK (Black): Electronics - www.amazon.com
  4. Training links and resources - buildamodule.com
  5. join.me – Free Screen Sharing and Online Meetings - join.me
  6. freenode">freenode">freenode Web IRC (qwebirc) - webchat.freenode.net
  7. CradlePoint MBR1200 Failsafe Gigabit N Router for Mobile Broadband - www.cradlepoint.com
  8. Ovation MC760 3G Mobile Broadband Device - www.virginmobileusa.com
  9. Contact Us - buildamodule.com
  10. How to install Drupal like a desktop application in Windows in Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site > Series Overview and Quickly Installing Drupal 7 - is.gd
  11. How to install Drupal like a desktop application on a Mac in Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site > Series Overview and Quickly Installing Drupal 7 - is.gd
  12. Chris Shattuck, Drupal Trainer and Developer - chrisshattuck.com
  13. Learn Drupal With Over 510 Video Tutorials for Developers and Site Builders - buildamodule.com
  14. Download the Drupal 7 Resource Pack - buildamodule.com

New to Git and the command line? Need to get everything into version control so you can sleep at night? Do you crave a sane release workflow? 10 NEW free videos from Build a Module.com will help get you started.

This week we're releasing the entire first chapter of a new series called "Change Management and Version Control" for free. I'm super excited about this series because it puts some very powerful tools in the hands of both new and experienced Drupal developers, and smoothly transitions the viewer from one topic to another by using practical, connected examples. By the end of the series, viewers will:

  • Have a solid grasp the scalable techniques you need to sanely manage or work within a team of developers engineering a single Drupal site, and even how to create a sane, stable workflow for a one-person project.
  • Know how to use Git to manage release cycles to a production (i.e. live) site.
  • Have every valuable piece of work, both in code and configuration, captured in version control for peace of mind using Features, Selenium IDE and a variety of other techniques.
  • Be able to do (and just as importantly, undo) on any level with Git, a powerful version control system.
  • Be able to work faster using the command line and Drush
  • And more. Lots more? Oh yes.

This first chapter sets the groundwork for the rather exciting examples to come. In it, we help you get Git installed, demonstrate how to use the command line and explain what 'version control' is to the uninitiated (oh man, you uninitiated are in for a treat!). Even though we're about to dive into some advanced topics, this chapter will help level the playing field between those who are just starting out and those with more experience.

Welcome to "Change Management and Version Control"
This is a quick overview of the coming series and a pep talk for those ready to dig deeper into some of the most powerful tools available for managing a Drupal engineering and deployment workflow.

How to install Git on Windows with mysygit
In this video we help you get Git installed in a Windows environment, along with a nice cross-platform graphical Git app called SmartGit. We use the mysygit package that includes great command line tools that will allow you to follow along with the rest of the series.

How to install git and SmartGit on a Mac
We take you through the straightforward steps of installing Git and the free (for non-profits) graphical tool SmartGit on a Mac.

How to create a Git repository and add a complete Drupal site to it
Bam! We jump right into getting a Drupal project on version control by adding the whole thing to a new repository. Don't know what a repository is? No problem, we'll talk you through it.

Why the command line can be scary, and the benefits of conquering your fear
Before we go too deep into Git, we take a little detour to introduce you to the various commands you'll be using throughout the series. But, we before we do that, we validate any fears or discomfort you have about the command line and explain what's in it for you.

How to navigate file structures and stop processes on the command line
The start of a straightforward, 4-video overview of using the command line. With these videos, you'll be able to get 80% of what you need. This first video covers how to find out where you are, how to get somewhere else, and how to stop everything if you get stuck.

How to edit and save text files on the command line with VIM
If you've never edited text on the command line, I envy you a little. But, it's hard to get around it when you're using version control. In this video we tell you just what you need to know to get in, make your changes, and get out without too much fuss.

How to use built-in help on the command line
The command line isn't all about masochism and penance. There's actually a ton of great help if you know where you find it (and how to read it). In this video we show you how to do just that.

How to create, move, copy and remove files on the command line
While you probably have a file explorer of some kind to get you through the process of shifting file structure around, this will show you just how easy it is to do on the command line. And maybe, just maybe, you'll kind of like it.


If you feel any lack of confidence in your development and release workflow, either as a single-do-everything-er or a member of a vast development team, this new series will clear it up. Really. And the approach is friendly to all levels of experience while still staying incredibly focused at each step.

Enjoy these videos and keep an eye out for new free videos in the "Change Management and Version Control" series coming down the pikes over the next several weeks.

Chris Shattuck

What Drupal training could be

Skilled Drupal talent is in demand, and the number of Drupal trainings are growing to help fill the talent gap. But the number of trainers is limited, and the traditional lecture / workshop model is restrictive, requiring significant preparation on the part of the trainers, and absolute, unwavering focus and comprehension from the students for hours on end.

I'm proposing a different model that allows students to work at their own pace, freely moving backwards and forwards through the curriculum, that frees up trainers to directly answer student questions 100% of the time, that requires very little trainer preparation, allows a much higher trainer to student ratio, and eliminates the need for the performance skills required to stand in front of a classroom of eager students and not freak out.

And if this model works, Drupal training can be done more effectively for more people at much less expense.

A little background

I fell asleep in class. A lot. All through high school and college, I'd doze off at least a couple times a day. When I got out of school, I realized I could learn a lot more doing research on the internet than I could in a classroom. Since most classes were lecture-based, my theory is that at some point my brain wanted to stop and process some information, but there wasn't any time for that mid-lecture. So at some point, as a defense mechanism my brain would slip into subconscious mode where it could do that processing and I'd begin drooling on the desk.

When I could pace myself learning online, things changed. I picked up enough programming, design, business skills that in a a year or so I was employed doing exactly what I'd been learning about. Being able to stop and go for a walk, apply a concept to something I was working on, or skip over something I already knew was like slipping into a custom-tailored suit. It fit my brain. And I don't think my brain is unique this way.

If you have been living in a cave like me...

A couple of months ago a friend mentioned the Khan Academy to me, since he saw some parallels between it and what I was doing with Build a Module.com (albeit on a smaller scale). If you haven't heard of the Khan Academy before, it is a set of free lesson-style videos covering most high-school level subjects like math, physics, history and a ton of other subjects. Kahn's vision of the future of the classroom resonated with me (because of my lecture-induced narcolepsy) and made me realize how much potential pre-recorded training material has, combined with live teachers and trainers, to really expanding our capacity to teach and learn pretty much anything.

The idea is that instead of students sitting through lectures where they often miss out on one important concept that keeps them from understanding everything that comes after it, they watch pre-recorded lecture videos at home. This allows the student to rewind when they don't get something, pause to take a break, and keep moving forward when they're getting excited about something. Then in the classroom, where they would normally be sitting through the lecture, they work through examples and get questions answered. In essence, the application part of learning, where you find out what you really do and don't know, is done where there is a skilled teacher available to help, 100% of the time. The teacher is now free to mentor because there is no longer the need for a lecture.

Applying the mentorship model to expand our ability to teach Drupal

If you've ever been in a training, or given a training, hopefully your wheels are turning a bit on how reversing the typical classroom structure can help people learn and teach more effectively. I see a couple implementations of this model working in the Drupal space, and am calling them 'mentorships' since most of a trainer's time will be spent with students one-on-one or in small groups, rather than 'training' the class.

Live group mentorship

Imagine you walk into a training. You sit down and a trainer comes over and says 'what would you like to learn about?' You tell them and they set you up with a set of videos to watch. They say, 'believe me, these get to the point much faster than I could. Go ahead and start watching these, and whenever you have a question or want to see something in action, just raise your hand and I'll come over. I'm here to help you learn as much as you can today. I'm also going to hook you up with some other people at the same experience level and interests so you can work through some of the material together if you'd like."

So, you slip on some comfortable headphones and start watching. They do get to the point. After 20 minutes or so you need a break, so you get up and walk around. You think of some questions and ask one of the trainers. Then when you're ready, you start watching again.

I guarantee that in this scenario, if the videos are well done and include some practical exercises, you will learn more than if you sat through lectures, even with hands-on workshops between them.

Online group mentorship

If you take the live mentorship model and move it online, you optimize trainer time even more, but at the cost of less human-to-human interaction. The idea would be that there would be a syllabus with all of the lecture material available as pre-recorded videos. Online meetings would be arranged at specific times to allow students to ask questions of the trainers that have come up as they've been working through the material.

Instead of the trainers preparing webinar-style presentations, they would instead be spending the entire time helping students troubleshoot, answer questions, and demonstrating examples on-the-fly.

Why this is a good idea

Trainer benefits

What employing this model means is that trainers no longer need to be performers. They also need only a fraction of typical preparation time, which if you're like me, is significant. They just need to know the technology. If they will be mentoring students on how to theme in Drupal 7, they should know how to theme in Drupal 7. And that's it, they're qualified. Of course, knowing how to teach a concept is important, but the need for astoundingly good teaching skills is offset somewhat by the teaching that's happening through the video, which just means that the talent pool available for this kind of training is a lot bigger than traditional training.

Student benefits

Students can work at their own pace, meaning they have the opportunity to absorb everything. If they start zoning, they can take a break to get focused. They can rewind to review, they can fast-forward to skip stuff they know and they can pause to reflect. They get constant access to highly-skilled Drupal talent to get over conceptual and technical hurdles quickly so they can keep sprinting forward.

Something that Khan's research showed was that when students get stuck on a concept in a traditional classroom, they can have trouble with everything that builds on that concept. Since there's not enough teacher time to help each student individually, and since everyone has to move at the same pace, those students end up doing poorly and were often labeled as slow. But, they were able to demonstrate that once the students were able to get past that sticky concept, they were often able to speed through the rest of the material without a hitch.

What the mentorship model provides is a way to let each student have their own sticky spots and get the help they need to get past them quickly.

The cons

While the mentorship model has a lot of potential, there are couple of aspects that might make it less appealing to some than the traditional model.

There's no performer

A lecture is a performance, and we all get some satisfaction from watching someone perform. The trainer makes mistakes, you get to watch them interact with people, and watching people in action without being on the spot yourself is just kind of nice. One potential downside of this model is that you remove the performance and replace it with more one-on-one interaction. But aside from the performance, there's very little that can be offered through a lecture that can't be done better when it's recorded, edited and produced. If the goal is to help more people learn faster, with less frustration and less manpower, a mentorship model has more bang for the buck.

There's less performing

From a trainer perspective, the missing performance aspect can also be a downside. When you're standing in front of a room full of people, sharing your knowledge, you're building a relationship with each one for the entire training. These relationships can mean potential business leads, employees or friends. Instead, you get shorter one-on-one interactions with the people who need your help the most, which might or might not be your cup of tea. This could be offset a bit by doing short lectures throughout the mentorship, like an orientation lecture at the beginning, a debriefing lecture at the end and demonstrations of common questions as they come up, interspersed throughout the day.

Where's the demand?

Traditional training is generally an accepted way for institutions to train their people, so effectively selling a new model like this as a training company might be a bit down the road. Once there's some hard evidence that it works, it will be easier to convince institutions to give it a shot. In the meantime, there's plenty of other venues that are perfect for this kind of training. If the video lectures are available publicly, they can form the basis of a live mentorship anywhere, and as long as there's some technicians at hand (developers, themers, site builders), they can put on a mentorship-based training.

Sounds awesome, what can I do?

First of all, I've proposed a free workshop for BADCamp to prototype these ideas. Feel free to let the planners know you're interested. If it gets accepted and you've got a free day, sign up to see how it works.

If you're ready to try an informal group mentorship, there are several online Drupal video libraries out there to base off of. If you know of one that would work well and you or someone you know has the technical skills to mentor (i.e. you are a developer mentoring on development, a themer mentoring on theming), set up a half-day gathering to work through the material and spread the word to your local Drupal or techie community. If the video library requires a fee, talk to the producers to see if they can give you a deal for a day of access for your group. Because a lecture space isn't required, you can be somewhat distributed in a coffee shop or restaurant. Make sure to bring power splitters and some extra headphones for those that forgot them at home, and keep it as simple as you can.

If you have any questions or want to add some ideas, feel free to post them here, or send me a message.

Tiny disclaimer and motivation

As many of you know, I produce Drupal training videos at Build a Module.com. I want to make it clear that this writeup isn't a product pitch. It's an idea pitch. While I think the videos on Build a Module.com have the potential to get a lot of people trained in Drupal really fast leveraging the mentorship model, it's way more interesting to me on a community level than a business one. And there are several other Drupal video libraries that can be leveraged for this model as well.

The really exciting part to me is the idea that with the same number of trainers, we could potentially be training maybe 3-4 times the number of people we are now, and with less time commitment from trainers (who are usually also contributors to Drupal in other ways). Plus, if it works well, then it's just one more push to make learning in general more flexible for students like me who don't hold up well in a more traditional classroom.

Here's a link to the full Drupal Camp and Conference Calendar, and below is a screenshot so you can get a feel for what's it's like to see every Drupal camp and conference on a single, consolidated list. It's really nice, especially if you've ever found yourself scouring the internet for hours trying to find an event that matches your schedule and general location on the globe. That's something I do every time I get the itch to immerse myself in the community, and each time I get frustrated, feeling like there's got to be some awesome event nearby that I just can't find. So, I put together this list partially to achieve a little more Zen in my life.

I also put it together to help members of Build a Module.com get plugged into the community and get a dose of live learning. Camps are such an awesome way to meet people to learn from, to collaborate with, to hire and to hire you. Some things are also infinitely easier to do in person, or with people that you've met in person.

This list contains past events as well, so you can get a feel for when they might occur again, either to plan your attendance schedule or to schedule a new event.

My hope is that this simple page can become a central hub to make it easy for Drupal camp planners to easily connect with potential attendees, and for attendees to quickly learn about their options.

I would love to keep this list totally comprehensive and up to date, so if you have an event that's not listed, please let me know.

If you're planning on hitting up an event, go ahead and take a look at the calendar.

Drupal Camps and Conferences Calendar

This we're opening up the first 9 videos of our How to Work With JavaScript and jQuery chapter for free! Why? Because while we didn't add any new videos this week, we're going to be releasing over 5 hours (94 videos) of our upcoming series called Build Your First Drupal 7 Web Site next week, and we wanted to celebrate. It's kind of exciting stuff, and what better way to leverage the excitement than to grow your skills?

So, if you've been wanting to dig into jQuery but haven't had the time and you're not yet a subscriber, we're giving you a full week to dive in. Here's the list:

Two major use cases for jQuery and JavaScript and what this video covers

A lot of people like this video. It explains the role of JavaScript and jQuery in module building, and some common use cases.

How to include a JavaScript file on every page and intro to the jQuery object

The first part of using JavaScript in Drupal is learning how to include a .js file on a page. In this video, we walk you through that and explain how the jQuery object works.

How to load JavaScript after a page is done loading

This is a fun one. Have you ever wondered how you can optimize your online application by only loading JavaScript on an as-needed basis? Well, this video will show you how.

How to use the dollar sign as an alias for the jQuery object

In previous versions of Drupal, we were given the $ (dollar sign) to use as a jQuery alias, but in Drupal 7, things were designed to be a bit more extendable so if you wanted, you could use a whole other library (or a different version of jQuery) for that sweet little alias. This video explains how to use the behavior you might be used to from Drupal 6.

How to use jQuery selectors

At the core of jQuery is selectors, the way to point to various elements on a page and say 'hey, do something fun!' This video provides an overview of the most essential selectors.

How to manipulate content in the DOM (Document Object Model) with jQuery

Once you can point to stuff with selectors, you can start changing it. This video shows you how to dynamically change the content and structure of the page.

How to use jQuery events to add interactivity

Now that you can point to stuff and change it, you can trigger these changes with jQuery events. Click something and make something else appear! This is where the real fun starts.

How to use effects and work with CSS in jQuery

While events are where the fun starts, it continues with effects. Slide things, fade things, make your Drupal site look like an iPhone app. This video gives you an introduction on how to do just that.

How to use Drupal behaviors to add JavaScript functionality to new content

With the great power of jQuery comes great responsibility, and one of them is making sure you don't keep attaching events to the same elements. Don't know what that means? Watch the video and learn about the problem and how Drupal solves it.

This last weekend at DrupalCamp Colorado, 2011, I gave a talk about using some of the most interesting aspects of the Form API in Drupal 7. If you've watched the Drupal videos on Build a Module.com, some of this will look familiar.

As far as I can tell, the talk went over well and opened up possibilities for the audience to build dynamic forms with fairly simple workflows and no JavaScript / jQuery code. I talk about how to use the #state attribute to dynamically show or hide sections of a form, how to use the #ajax attribute to add new inputs to a form, and how to use hook_form_alter() to change the default Drupal 7 search box into a Google Suggest-style autocomplete input.

Below is the full 43-minute presentation (click here to go to the original page on chrisshattuck.com). Enjoy!

For the DrupalCamp, Colorado code sprint, all the videos in the Drupal 7 Core Concepts collection (12+ hours of concise Drupal 7 tutorials) will be available for FREE, all day on June 10th. If you won't be attending the sprint or are still working up the learning curve, no problem, just take what you learn and tackle an issue queue or IRC question. :)

Build a Module.com will also have a booth at DCCO on June 11-12. We will have coupons for 15% off anything at Build a Module.com, and get 20% off if you purchase anything at the booth (DVDs, downloads and subscriptions). We will have a viewing station set up so you can watch any of the videos on Build a Module.com absolutely free. We will have 5 different collections for sale, weighing in at over 40 hours of video, available as DVDs or downloads. Come by to say hello, watch a video, or see if you can defeat a rival at a game of Shock Potato.

I will be doing a session on June 11th at 10:30am at the Camp called How to Build Beautiful Forms in Drupal 7. Attendees will get free access to all of the Form API chapter videos for an entire week to dive even deeper into working with Drupal forms.

The right CSS classes can give you exactly what you need to laser-focus the look and feel of certain pages on your site. A lot of those classes are built in already, like a handy class added to the body tag for different content types. But, what happens when you really need a class like that for something else, like highlighting content created in the last two weeks, or various other whimsical criteria? No problem. In this week, we show you how to easily add conditional classes at the body, page and node levels.

We also continue last week's theme of overriding existing output by demonstrating how to find and override theme functions (check out this free video). Finally, we wrap up this week's new videos with a review of the latest chapter in Drupal Theming Essentials.

Next week we get into some fun stuff, starting with an in-depth look on what each of the default theme settings mean, how to completely uninstall a theme, and how to add your own custom setting.

Below is a list of the new videos for this week. Enjoy!

This week we give you a set of tools you can use to laser-focus theme changes for any situations. Want to serve up a different page template to anonymous users? Want to add some markup to images for certain content types? When the president of Burundi visits your site in April, do you want to add some festive flourishes?

To tackle critical (and whimsical) theme changes for virtually any situation, we cover using template suggestions and go deep into preprocessing functions, illustrating both with practical examples and conceptual visuals. We also discuss the rules of thumb when it comes to naming each (something that can be tricky for even the veterans among us).

Most of the videos below are subscriber-only, but our example-driven crash course on preprocessing functions is available for free here. Below is the full new set for this week. Enjoy!

Have you ever wanted a different page template file for each node content type? Or wanted to theme a one-off node in a unique way?

Well, these week we dedicate our next videos exclusively to template files. Sometimes a mystery, often a little scary, template files are actually gentile beasts with a lot to offer under their somewhat hairy exteriors. After watching these, you'll know once and for all how template file naming works, and will glean a few critical tricks to using custom templates for virtually any situation (I say virtually, because next week we cover all the edge cases :) ).

We spent a bit of time on each of the most commonly overridden template files (nodes, blocks, page, and comments), first looking at their code to figure out just how they fit into the rest of the page. Then, we discuss specific options for overriding each template based on certain conditions we can pass through the template file name. Finally, we create example template files so you can see them in action and give you some tips on finding out if the right template files are being applied.

If any of that sounds frightening, no worries, just check out the FREE node template video to get started.

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