By Richard Rost 12 months ago
At least once a week, I get asked if I have courses that just cover [this] specific topic, or people say they only want to learn how to do [that] specific thing. For the most part, there's no problem with wanting to learn just one thing. If you search my web site using the search box at the top, or look in the index for that course (such as the Access Index) you can look for any keywords you want and watch just that lesson.
However, if you're looking to get a full, comprehensive understanding of something like Microsoft Access, then I strongly recommend you watch all of my courses in order, even if you don't think you need them. They are really designed to be followed one after the other. While you might think you don't need a specific topic, that topic itself is usually just an example of how to do something, and I may include several lessons of important material in that topic. You may never want to use Access to write letters. Doesn't matter. I use that as a vehicle to teach you a few other things.
Some people tell me that they've been using Access for years, but have no formal training. They've built some simple databases from what they've picked up online or in books, but they're looking to round out their knowledge. They want to know which classes they can skip. Again, I've got a lot of fundamentals that I cover in the Beginner lessons, so if you skip those, you're missing out. Sure, you might know 80% of the material I cover, but that 20% you don't know can make a big difference (like people who don't realize that almost every table should have an Autonumber, and that you shouldn't use the Required property.) So again, I tell people... don't skip levels.
Remember... the stability of a building is only as good as its foundation.
And no, I don't just tell people this to sell more courses. Sure, I'm in business to make money, but that's not the point. I want happy students who learn what I'm trying to teach, and 9 times out of 10 when people skip lessons, they miss vital information. They post questions in the Forums saying they can't figure out how to do something... and it turns out it was covered in a class that they skipped. I don't want frustrated students. I want happy students who come back for more lessons. If you get frustrated because you can't figure something out because you skipped around, that looks bad on me, and it will drive you away as a student. So please... watch them in order and don't skip around.
Plus, I keep the Beginner lessons very inexpensive so that people DON'T skip them. I want you to watch those lessons even if you feel you don't need them. I'm actually planning on making a quick Beginner overview that covers the important stuff for people who don't want to spend 15+ hours watching all those videos. That's coming. In the mean time... don't skip levels.
Here are some specific examples of students who asked me this, and my replies...
Don't Skip Around
I wanted to take a minute to share this email I received from one of my students. I get emails like this a lot, so I wanted to share it with everyone:
When I'm making classes, I often have a list of topics to cover, and I might just pick some random project to do in class just to cover a topic. For example, in my VB classes, I create a cash register program for a hot dog stand. Will you ever be running a hot dog stand? Probably not. But the lessons are important for what comes next. In my ASP class we create a web site to sell used computer equipment: PCResale. Are you going to sell used computer equipment? Probably not.
You get my point. Think of these as samples. Learn from them.
Also, even if you think you know everything that I cover in that lesson, it's worth the time to just preview it. I recommend putting it on 2x speed and at least giving it a cursory watch. You might pick up a few tips or tricks. They're peppered throughout my lessons at random places.
Take Classes In Order
Again, I received another email from a student, Mark. This time, he gives a great story about why you should take my courses in the order they're presented even if you don't think you'll need that lesson:
So, don't just take it from me. My lessons are presented in a certain order for a reason.
What Do I Need?
People often email me telling me what goals they want to accomplish with their database, which is great. However, it's not just as simple as me saying, "OK, you need Expert Levels 3, 8, 12, and 24." Even though I may cover a particular topic, like invoicing, in Expert Level 9, you still need everything from the previous couple of levels to understand how to make that invoice. Here's my reply to one student who sent me a list of what he's trying to accomplish:
Hope this helps!