Ideas for Hands-On Lab Training

Beverly van de Velde
Beverly van de Velde Member | Enthusiast ✭

The OneStream Certification Program exists for customer success purposes (i.e., to contribute to customer success via successful implementations as a result of establishing a thriving community of validated and technically competent Lead Architects).

We needed to develop and release a new OneStream Lead Architect performance-based certification exam with 17 hands-on lab tasks -- even though we knew the training content was outdated and lacks hands on labs. You can say that we 'put the cart before the horse'. (Although, we did define the course objectives at the same time we conducted a JTA for the exam objectives. But, the training team lacks resources and is in the midst of implementing a new LMS that won’t go live until Jan 2022.)

While we communicate other ways to prepare for the exam (e.g., existing training that's insufficient to really prepare for the exam, a newly launched book that will help candidates prepare for the exam, commonly referenced product documentation, product bulletins, and real-world experience), my concern is that it will still be several months (e.g., Q1 2022) before updated training content is available to align with the new exam.

Partners (i.e., the majority of the target audience) have access to an outdated sales demo application that was originally intended for sales purposes only. They also have access to their own OneStream Infrastructure for their company to use on their own set of servers (Web and Application Servers) either in their own cloud or their own on-premise infrastructure. For partners, we install the OneStream software for them one time; and, as part of the install we normally create a blank application shell (e.g., create the database and import the standard reports) and we also offer to attach the sales demo application.

I'm interested to hear any thoughts and ideas on what we can do NOW to provide hands-on experience related to the new exam [objectives]. It's unreasonable for us to develop a brand new demo environment for Lead Architects. So, I seek any other ideas, such as just-in-time, short videos. We could also do a recorded webinar(s) that informally address the exam objectives. (Although, the training team already confirmed they don't have the bandwidth anytime soon to develop an 'exam preparation webinar' focusing on the more heavily weighted exam objectives and using repurposed / existing training content.) We could try to release more product bulletins. Other ideas?


  • EddieAguilar
    EddieAguilar Moderator | mod
    edited March 2021

    Hi Beverly,

    This question caught my eye and it seems like you are ahead of the curve on identifying the needs for your program. This blog post from Maria outlines a lot fo the things you stated already but I did find some value within the TSIA recommends section.

    I can speak lightly to personal experience and what helped me as an Admin of our main CS CRM system. While hands on labs/training is the best, I concur that you highlighted a good point about short videos and maybe some short articles. The effort level remains low if you keep a low complexity and it can provide a lot of value to visual learners. I rely heavily on our vibrant community and knowledge article vault as I continue the more structured training. Articles with short and simple GIF like videos help me visualize the steps while helping me understand the program structure. I think really thinking about filling in the gaps from your demo environment to what you have now in the exam would be a great place to start considering topics. I hope that some of what I mentioned has been helpful.

    We might have some other community members like @Deby Covey or maybe @Christina Major that can provide insight. Trailhead is one of the best resources out there :)

  • Beverly van de Velde
    Beverly van de Velde Member | Enthusiast ✭

    Thanks, Eddie. Good thoughts and validation of what we need to do. I'm also thinking I really need to put together a case to justify SME time to do some webinars. Beyond that, 'crowdsourcing' comes to mind where I plan to get some partners to create some lab exercises, sample exam items, and perhaps some Captivate simulations in return for cold hard cash or other company incentives, as well as some bragging rights (e.g., digital credentials that they can share on LinkedIn, mention at our upcoming conference, etc.). We seem to have some willing partners already who are authoring content for our books / OneStream Press. Unfortunately, the existing book that just published and is aligned to the exam is just too much in my opinion (429 pages). We know that people don't generally sit down and read a book to prepare for a hands-on exam. And, 5-days of ILT training is so 2005 as another colleague put it.

    I believe our existing outdated content is already free to partners, so that won't help. But, our exam study guide does detail exactly what parts of the course [and product documentation] are applicable to the exam. We're also in the process of implementing a new community where people will be able to collaborate and share experiences. The only other consideration [pending budget] is to outsource rapid content authoring & development to a 3rd party and agree to resell it.

    Still, I'd love to hear any other ideas that are working for others or even completely out of the box thinking on how we can be innovative!