Axon Core is now available!

Published on 06 Apr 2020 by Emma Eynon

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After 2 solid months of preparing this course content – we are very pleased to finally present Axon Core to the world. (It is now available to buy from our online shop and after successful beta-testing, we advise it should take an average of 15-20 hours to complete.) In this article, we’d like to explain a little bit about the effort ‘behind the scenes’, which you may find of some interest!

The design phase is always key to understand who we are designing the content for, and what the end results should be. For Axon Core, we wanted to deliver a base knowledge of using Axon – without the complications of learning Fantom or even SkySpark at the same time! To this end, we essentially work backwards, by establishing the training objectives first. This gives us a reference point to shape our content with purpose, and to ensure that we are assessing for the correct skills or knowledge.

From our objectives, we can start to define the different topics to cover, and the key learning points for each – forming a learning syllabus. This syllabus helps us to guide our presented content, with relevant explanations, examples and exercises for the important ‘learning bits’. Using carefully designed graphics and interactive question types, we hope to steer learners to the relevant points and to keep engagement high (and hopefully boredom low!).

We’ve all experienced poor training at some point, and so we want our training to be an awesome learning experience. Every part of this journey is an opportunity to learn and consolidate key learning points – whether you realise it or not! We have put much effort into how our exercises and questions work, so that help is always available to be able to progress. If you need to retry an exercise – so what? If it is too easy, you may not absorb the learning point that it is reinforcing! There is always a handy hint to guide you through the expected answer, so that you learn how to do it for the next time. For those who just want to try and ‘guess’ instead of putting in the effort – well that’s fine too! Although, bear in mind that they are all OPTIONAL. It’s not always a faster method to guess for an exercise or question, and it certainly won’t help you in the final assessment. For those who do it anyway, through the use of graphics and messages upon eventually choosing the right answer, we hope for this correct information to subconsciously seep into the brain matter, without you even realising it!

Our Axon Console questions were a unique challenge, and which Steve successfully designed! It means that we are able to pass in arguments, grids and dicts, to each question, making it possible to use Axon to ‘read’ and ‘edit’ with a simulated database! We ask for learners to write Axon expressions and functions which are then effectively ‘unit tested’, to enable us to test the Axon Code in the answer!

Designing the questions themselves is driven from the syllabus and the course objectives. We use simple concepts for our databases and question scenarios which hopefully everyone, from any background, can identify with. We want to keep the focus on the actual learning after all! As we grow, and develop more of our core range of training products, we hope to revisit our training content for updates and to evolve our storylines and characters with it.

After what feels like a monumental effort to lay out the course content, with all of the exercises and checkpoint questions, we turn to creating the final assessment. This is where the course objectives play a very important part, ensuring that students can demonstrate the relevant and important learning from the course. The idea is that if you can complete the final assessment questions, using Axon, then you have successfully accomplished your learning goals! When we designed the assessment, we realised that these questions were more evolved from the modular questions, requiring culminated knowledge from the whole syllabus. To ensure that we guide our learners to this end stage, with a balanced learning curve, we added an extra revision module, to allow for practising with these combination question styles!

Lambda "Do you want to know the secrets of the lambda?"

Adding last minute touches, like our Martian themed graphics to highlight content points, we can then duplicate our content into a second locale – American! That’s right, you can choose to display the course in British or American. Now you don’t have to puzzle over the meaning of a bracket, or what it means to ‘throw your toys out of a pram’ – just choose the locale to suit you! (Also great if you prefer to read your dates “backwards” eh?!)

Adding in a period for beta-testing is always going to be a necessary step for us. In this case, we had so much demand for Axon Core, we have effectively ‘rushed’ this out as fast as we could – although only AFTER successful testing. It is surprising how difficult it is to pick out mistypes or poor grammar from copy/pasting changes – once you have read these pages any number of times!

We are very happy to have finally completed our objective – to release Axon Core with locales, achievements and a bespoke Axon console for interactive and practical exercises and questions. We hope that you enjoy the training and please feel free to send through any feedback you may have!

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