Magazine article Training & Development

E-Course Reviews

Magazine article Training & Development

E-Course Reviews

Article excerpt

Several publishers offer introductions to learning extensible markup language. We've reviewed XML courses by DigitalThink, MindLeaders, Element K, and NETg. Though each of those publishers assumes familiarity with HTML and XML, their courses differ considerably in scope and presentation.

The courses fall into two categories: those that teach you how to write XML and those that give you an overview of markup language.

If you need to learn how to apply XML, DigitalThink's XML Fundamentals is your best bet. Although it's relatively expensive, you get a lot for your money. After taking the course, you can expect to produce reasonably sound XML documents.

However, many people need only a basic overview of XML. The courses by MindLeaders, Element K, and NETg are aimed at those users. If you choose one of those courses, you should be able to make sound decisions about using it in specific situations.

ActiveEducation is also premiering a 45-hour XML course, but it wasn't available for review at press time.

These courses are rated on a five-star scale. Five-star courses are the best e-learning has to offer; one-star courses waste your time and money. The prices listed are for individual users. Corporate pricing is available in most cases.

Highly recommended

****1/2 XML Fundamentals: 10 hours, US$450 for six months of course access. Publisher: DigitalThink

XML Fundamentals is well designed, and it's written in an engaging tone. DigitalThink doesn't include simulations, but there are quizzes and activities appropriate for learning XML.

Its strongest features are the exercises that you complete on your own and submit for review by a live tutor. Doing those exercises gives you realistic practice in writing XML. In fact, the course provides plenty of practice opportunities to enable you to produce workable XML independently. Other nice features include chat rooms and newsgroups on specific XML topics.

On the downside, the course is pretty expensive. But if you need a quick introduction to writing XML, this is your best choice.

Recommended

***1/2 XML Series: 10 to 12 hours, US$288 for one year of course access. Publisher: MindLeaders

In this six-course series, MindLeaders delves into the core of XML and does a thorough job of explaining the language. The courses use many short quizzes rather than simulations. The quizzes reinforce the material and provide a clear measure of how well you're progressing. However, the lack of hands-on coding means that you can't practice what you've learned.

The overall value of this series is excellent, but you'll need to spend some time writing XML on your own. …

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