HyperLearning Technologies (HLT) is no stranger to the most current IT training solutions. When brothers Roger and George Geyer founded the company in 1995, they were one of the first companies to become a Microsoft Solution Provider – partnering with the then popular electronics giant Circuit City, as well as Office Max, to offer computer classes both basic and advanced. Today, HLT offers its students, many of whom are veterans, training for industry-recognized certifications such as CompTIA’s.
When the IT training field started to expand, Geyer immediately knew he and his brother needed to branch out their certification offerings. “About nine years ago, we had a fellow working with us, and he said we should concentrate [on] CompTIA,” George said. “Today, that is the theatre for the whole IT field. So we’ve been offering the A+, Network+ and Security+ certification tracks since then.” Having one or more of CompTIA’s top three certifications, a requisite for many jobs in IT, is essential for those just starting out.
But HyperLearning Technologies didn’t stop there.
Offering the top IT certifications was great, but HLT wanted to provide every means possible to help their students pass certification exams. Traditional study materials, like books and study guides, were acceptable, but HLT opted to try a new, cutting edge test prep tool from CompTIA – CertMaster.
Unlike traditional study materials, CertMaster is an online learning tool that blends neuroscience research and game design theories to help certification candidates understand and remember information longer - not just memorize answers for a test. Candidates can take CertMaster with them anytime, anywhere, as the program runs on both Web and mobile devices.
Wayne Shelton, HLT’s training and operations manager, immediately jumped on-board with CertMaster. “We did a trial version to see if we liked it better than other materials we had [used] in the past,” Shelton said. “Based on students’ experiences, all of whom really liked it, we decided to keep going with it.”
They’ve been using it ever since.
There are currently three CertMaster courses to match CompTIA’s three most popular certification exams; CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Security+. Shelton said one student particularly liked CertMaster’s ability to move quickly through concepts she already knew and focus on those she had trouble with. In fact, it was the only thing she used to study, since she felt so confident using it.
CertMaster is gaining more and more traction with the students at HLT. Shelton said, “Now the students look for it, especially those who started with A+. They come to me asking for the CertMaster course for Network+. They’ve really embraced it.” Shelton further enthused over CertMaster’s comprehension-based learning: “It’s important [students] understand the concept of the material and not just the answers.”
HLT provides training for any and all interested in IT, but the company focuses on helping veterans obtain training and knowledge for successful, civilian careers. “A year and a half ago we had to rewrite our whole program so that we could qualify for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits,” George said. Part of that funding helps to pay for vocational training, including the CompTIA courses that HLT offers.
CertMaster’s successful teaching and practice algorithms aren’t the only benefits the test prep tool has to offer. For companies and training institutions like HLT, there are advanced reporting analytics to track student progress. Wayne praised these reporting capabilities, “I’m able to run weekly reports to see which students are actually doing their CertMaster and what areas they are struggling in,” he said. “Because I’m also a trainer, I can address those weak areas that I see on the reports.”
As Shelton has seen, CertMaster’s reporting capabilities make it an excellent test prep tool, not just for individual use, but also for classroom instruction. CertMaster helps certification candidates learn and remember fundamental concepts they might struggle with on their own. In a classroom setting, teachers can pinpoint areas of struggle and further support the CertMaster learning method with classroom instruction. It’s a win-win either way.
Beyond all the learning, reporting and success rates though, there’s one further factor that both George Geyer and Shelton agree has been the most critical – confidence.
“We’ve noticed [our students’] confidence level has greatly increased since using CertMaster; confidence in learning the material and feeling they have what they need to pass the exam.” Shelton said.
With student confidence soaring and CompTIA certifications an essential for IT, HLT has no plans to stop using CertMaster anytime soon. Confidence, it turns out, starts with CertMaster.
Ashlyn Keefe is a freelance writer working in the Chicagoland area.