Hi all, Kimberly here. The Microsoft Press team met this month to dig into the feedback you gave us about .NET Framework Training Kits. (My thanks to everyone who completed the survey!) Three themes emerged from our analysis. I want to tell you what they are and how we plan to address them in the Training Kits that cover the .NET Framework 4 exams.
Technical accuracy By far, your biggest concern is errors. Even minor technical errors make you nervous about the overall accuracy of the book, and when you are studying for an exam, nervous is not good. As a standard practice, we hire technical experts to review every chapter, every block of code, and every practice test question in the book. In response to your concerns, our editors are updating our technical review guidelines to make sure they are absolutely clear and complete. We are also taking extra care to select top notch reviewers and to reinforce how very important accuracy is with the entire book team.
Inconsistency across chapters Many of you remarked that it is distractingly easy to tell when a Training Kit was written by multiple authors. Our experience with recent IT Pro Training Kits confirmed our hunch that the magic number for a Training Kit authoring team is three—two book authors and one author for the practice test questions. A team of three is big enough to balance the work load for these monsters and small enough to maximize collaboration. As much as possible, we are sticking with this magic number for the .NET 4 Training Kits. We are also assigning a lead author on each title. The lead author will work closely with our editors to ensure that the kit as a whole provides the best test preparation experience possible.
Repetition The third major theme that emerged from your feedback is that the same material is repeated too many times. Our Training Kits follow a specific instructional design model that is intended to maximize the transfer of knowledge and skills to readers who have a variety of learning styles. This approach works really well for some audiences, but your feedback tells us that developers aren’t among those audiences! Our editors are evaluating each element in our standard Training Kit design from the perspective of this specialized audience to ensure that only elements that are most effective in helping you prepare for an exam are included in the .NET 4 Training Kits.
Of course, when it comes to getting certified, nothing substitutes for real-world experience. But I am really excited about improving how our Training Kits help you study by making changes you’ve asked for. Thanks again for your thoughtful feedback, and keep it coming!
Oh, yeah…and we’re going to look at ways to better distinguish C# from Visual Basic code samples, too!