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Computer-Based Training Provides Active Learning

Self-paced and readily available, anesthetist CBT is a powerful certification preparation tool.

Internet.com's Webopedia defines computer-based training (CBT) as a type of education in a which the student learns by executing special training programs on a computer. This definition worked fine before the Internet came into such widespread use, but now there are so many different ways to use computers to learn that the lexicon has been forced to expand.

Web-based training, for example, is a subset of computer-based training - basically it's a method of taking CBT and applying Internet/Web technologies. Doing so enables more current content, computer platform independence, and wider distribution, but has its own restrictions due to connection speed and bandwidth. Lately an umbrella term, which encompasses all of these different formats of computer delivered training, has appeared: Technology Based Training (TBT). The CBT were focusing on in this article takes the format of tutorials and coursework delivered via CD ROM or Web.

Best Features

CBT has a number of things going for it as a certification training tool, borrowing some features from both self-study an instructor led learning. First, because it appeals to multiple senses seeing, hearing, and doing CBT is good for people with various learning styles. Plus, receiving information through more than one sense increases the likelihood that you will be able to recall it in the future.

Good CBT programs are an active rather than passive form of study. Instead of sitting motionless scrutinizing page after page of text, you get to perform tasks and answer questions. You also proceed at your own pace instead of being governed by a rate imposed by an instructor or fellow students. If you need to interrupt a lesson in the middle, no problem-you can pick up where you left off later, without having missed anything. Already have adding new users to the system down cold? Skip right past it. Didn't quite get that subnetting bit? Go back over it again, and again, until it sinks in.

Unlike classroom learning, CBT courses you purchase can be kept on hand as reference resources, just like books. And although not quite as portable as a book, you can usually transfer the software from one computer to another, or use it on your laptop as long as you have a CD-ROM drive available. Courseware is usually less expensive and more convenient than classroom learning, providing a combination of time and money savings that is hard to beat.

Few Drawbacks

Despite all the positive features CBT has to offer, its not without drawbacks. Perhaps the most off-putting to the IT professional is that it involves more staring at the computer, something most of us already spend a good bit of the day doing. Many people choose a different format for their studying, just because, well, its different. And although its perhaps more engaging than a book, as with all forms of self-study, learning via CBT requires a substantial amount of self-discipline and internal motivation. You wont be provided with specific class times, dates, and deadlines, but will have to create them for yourself.