It took me a couple of years to become a Microsoft Vendor of Approved Courseware. I already had great lessons and good examples. But it required significantly more effort to be qualified to work with Microsoft. Here is how it worked for me, an expert in Microsoft Office.
Microsoft publishes a list of objectives for each certification test. The test writers and the course writers have the same list. One writes the questions (test) the other writes the answers (courseware). The official certification tests, including the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) are written by CertiPort, a Pearson company.
Here is a link to the certification topics for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification.
In the Microsoft Vendor of Approved Courseware program, courses must be reviewed by a third party, not Microsoft. My courses were reviewed by Procert Labs. http://www.procertlabs.com/
Procert Labs rigorous rules that writers need to follow. Here are the guidelines from their website:
1. COURSE OBJECTIVES & EXAM OBJECTIVES
Course objectives are often defined by the relationship between the technology and the job function it serves. Exam objectives are the principle of knowledge that are required to pass an exam and are ideally listed and specified somewhere in the course.
2. CONTENT READABILITY
Readability refers to the level of language the course is written to as well as the skill with which the words are put together.
3. COURSE ADDRESSES ALL OF THE EXAM OBJECTIVES REQUIRED BY THE EXAM
A complete review of every relevant exam objective is an essential baseline requirement of a training product designed to facilitate professional certification.
4. COURSE PROVIDES A DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE TARGET AUDIENCE
In order to assure relevance of the course content and methodology, effective courseware identifies that a student's level of comprehension, interests and experience should be in order to effectively learn from the course.
5. COURSE SPECIFICALLY IDENTIFIES WHETHER PREREQUISITES ARE REQUIRED
Courseware should clearly state the prerequisite skills a student must have in order to effectively learn from the course.
A foundational table of contents is a critical element in demonstrating that content is presented in an understandable, logical and navigable manner.
7. COURSE INCLUDES A FOREWORD
A foreword gives the student a clear and concise direction for the course.
8. COURSE INCLUDES AN INDEX
An accurate index enables cross-referencing of concepts and facilitates the finding of specific topics and references.
9. COURSE INCLUDES A GLOSSARY
A glossary is a useful tool in the learning process as terms are continuously referenced throughout the text, providing an easy resource for learning refreshment if questions arise during additional study.
10. COURSE INCLUDES A RELATED PRE AND POST-ASSESSMENT EXAM
Learning is made more effective when students are able to establish a benchmark level of comprehension in the subject being studied.
11. COURSE INCLUDES A QUIZ OR ASSESSMENT AT THE END OF EACH SECTION
Quizzes and other assessments at the end of each chapter help solidify the concepts associated with each exam objective, and provide a basis for memorization.
12. COURSE CONTAINS LAB ASSIGNMENTS OR WRITTEN EXERCISES
Achieving success on a certification exam is highly correlated with experience and involvement with the skills being tested.
Here are the results of my review: November 11, 2012
ProCert Labs certifies the Complete Guide to Microsoft Excel 2010 for the Microsoft Vendor of Approved Courseware program.
Summary: This is an efficient instruction to prepare student to become Microsoft Office Specialists. Moreover, its uniqueness and accuracy of content stands out among other courseware.
Strengths: The course has a unique writing style and also covers the material concisely.Introduction: This course accurately and casually provides an introductory audience with an understanding of the needed information to pass the Microsoft Office Specialist Certification Series.
Test Results: This course offers you detailed, effective instruction to guide you through multiple lab exercises. Instructionally, you are provided with consistent and logical content, opportunities to practice the skills presented, and an accurate description of prerequisites and target audience.
Key Features: What works throughout the course is the use of conversational elements to move the student through the material. Additionally, the instructional graphics provide extra visual understanding cues to those working through the course.
Good question. Thanks for asking,
Elizabeth Nofs, the Computer Mama