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Microsoft Corp. rolled out a new training solution model today—alongside the release of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005—that will allow partners to add training as part of service packages, and speed up the adoption of the applications by partners and business clients, the company said.

Learning tools associated with the applications were released by Microsoft Learning, the software maker’s training arm, a year ahead of the launch to speed implementation, and training programs will incorporate a “blended learning plan” to make training more relevant to IT users, the company announced in unveiling the program yesterday.

The model will be applied to other Microsoft releases in the future.

The new training model is designed to allow partners speedier implementation of solutions using the applications and to perform training for clients themselves.

Blended programs could include classroom training, workshops, clinics and hands-on labs, e-learning courses, virtual labs and reference materials, such as MS press books and white papers, online and offline.

“These courses were originally delivered by training centers and they still are, but they are also delivered via e-learning and by partners, like us, as a part of landing business,” said John Paul Cook, a database and systems architect for Software Architects, Inc., based in Chicago.

“Sometimes you’re developing a system that the existing staff will maintain. In that situation, the client often wants you to take care of training or mentoring, or both, of their people, so when you walk out it’s a seamless transition. That’s a big deal to be able to say, ‘We’ll make sure you’re up to speed and on the same page as us.’ That can be very valuable.”

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Materials will also be released sooner in the deployment process, Microsoft said.

“It was months after Visual Studio 2003 that we saw courses linked to it. I had already been working with .NET for a year before the coursework came out,” said Rob Labb, lead architect and Microsoft Certified Trainer for Fidelis IT, Inc., Torbay, Newfoundland, in a prepared statement.

“This time around we’ll have all the coursework, which is a really great turnaround. It helps my consulting business when I talk to my clients and say ‘Yes, I can develop the product and there’s training for your staff as well.’”

Some partners have training materials since October 2004, Microsoft said.

Microsoft Learning also unveiled with SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005, new certifications, which were designed to streamline and simplify the credentialing process for partners and IT professionals.