Visit is designed for companies such as IDG, publisher of Macworld. Not only could it save a small fortune in training overheads, but it could make far-more informed choices about hiring new staff and freelancers. Visit is also ideal for anyone seeking to improve their competency in any area of DTP or graphic arts. A negative point is that the online courses expire after one year, while CD-based courses are the owner’s for keeps.
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Eurosync publishes specialized CD-ROM tutorials in DTP and graphics applications that are a low-cost, yet effective, alternative to tutor-based training – something that’s often horribly overpriced and annoyingly ineffective. In Macworld, November 2000, I reviewed Eurosync’s Photoshop colour-correction seminar, and found it to be excellent. Now, the company has moved this concept forward, through Visit. It’s an interactive online applications-learning and assessment resource that contains Eurosync’s CD-based courses. Many companies are increasingly turning to online training, and the attractions are obvious: affordability, flexibility and convenience. Among the courses available as part of Visit are Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and QuarkXPress. The courses work in the same way as their CD-based counterparts, with a “teacher” narrating the pupil through each step of the QuickTime movie-based tutorials. The movies stall until the user has clicked the correct option from the correct drop-down menu or dialogue box for any given segment of the course. This affords one familiarity with – and an understanding of – the steps and processes involved. It’s an effective approach. What’s new on the site is its applications-assessment elements, which can help users identify areas of weakness, and design a custom curriculum to remedy these weaknesses. Companies can also use these resources to assess the skill levels of interviewees and freelancers. These assessments involve typical job scenarios – such as colour correction or PDF workflows. The beauty of it is that the user can be performing the task at home, while Visit reports on his or her progress in real time. Although it’s immensely useful, Visit can be irritating. Viewing the lessons requires QuickTime 4, because version 5 lacks certain components required by the site. This meant I had to uninstall version 5 and download 4. Also, Visit crashed Internet Explorer 5 more than once, which is annoying when in the middle of a course. And at the time of writing, a virus had hit the Visit the site, meaning none of the QuickTime or Shockwave elements appeared. The company assures me that is a rare occurrence. But still…