Saturday, July 2, 2011

Why Corporate Excel Training Sucks For Everyone

ttp:// | Corporations need to rethink the way they train their employees in Microsoft Excel.

Corporate Excel trainings, if they are offered at all, are usually three hour classes in which 20 people gather around a projector and more or less watch an instructor go through various features of Excel. Occasionally, students are asked to join along and type in a formula or two, but on the whole, it’s usually a teaching exercise, not a learning exercise.

At Excel Everest, we’ve heard this numerous times from numerous people, and we built our whole business around the premise that firstly, those who have a strong grounding of Excel inside organizations tend to be more successful, and secondly, that the current method of training employees is antique.

After having gone through a number of Excel trainings ourselves, we don’t think people are *actually* learning from the corporate Excel classes. Along with countless users we’ve talked to, a recent bit of feedback from an Excel Everest customer lays this out pretty clearly:

“I have attended numerous one and two day programs "teaching" excel. I found that once the program is over, I am no better than I was before. For me most programs show us all the things Excel can do but they don't really teach you Excel. Your program is the first that I feel that I am learning it such that I can use it. I also like that I can repeat and review any particular lesson any time. If you don't do/use it you lose it.” - Kimber

Kimber, like many others, has been there... she’s attended classes that have no relevance, no real world scenarios, and no accountability. Plus, our guess is that it’d be difficult to describe any them as “fun.”

No only is this a loosing situation for people like Kimber, but from the perspective of the company who’s paying for trainings, it’s also a risky proposition. There’s no way to know that employees are actually learning from the trainings, given that there’s no accountability. Return on investment simply cannot be shown.

We’ve thought deeply how to fix this problem of ROI as well as the problem of employees, well, not learning Excel, and we built Excel Everest, a complete training course in Excel that’s built entirely into an Excel file. Imagine a huge workbook that teaches employees Excel, challenges them with exercises and grades you automatically in a comprehensive scoreboard. We’ve built Excel Everest to be a self-service and fun learning tool. An employee can complete the tutorial on her own time.

From the employers standpoint, this makes perfect sense as well. If an employee completes Excel Everest, she can simply send the completed document over to her manager, and her manager can quickly see that she has learned the material. It’s as easy as that. The employer knows that the money they spent on Excel Everest is paying off.

If you’re interested in using Excel Everest inside your organization, say hello at

// Excel Everest ( is a complete Excel training course built inside an Excel file. The goal of Excel Everest is to provide an immersive, interactive, learning Experience for employees, all while demonstrating a return on investment to employers. Excel Everest is currently being used in organizations such as Google, Hymans Roberston, and PlayCore.
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Can You Make a Pivot Table? If Not, You Need To Learn

Do you use Excel? Do you know what a Pivot Table is? If your answer to the first question is yes but the second question is no, you need to learn how to create and use a Pivot Table ASAP. Pivot Tables are one of the most useful features in Excel, and they’re a bit like the gateway drug to understanding business analysis and being able to work with data to answer questions.

So what is a Pivot Table? Think of it as a table that allows you to quickly summarize, sort, count, sum, or average your data. If you’ve got a big dataset of sales data, for instance, and you’re asked to see which regions are selling the best, you’d need to create a pivot table to do so. You’d first start by creating the table, dragging in regions to the rows section, and then dragging sales figures into the body of the Pivot Table. Then, Excel would quickly and automatically sum the sales data and tell you which region is doing the best.

It’s a bit hard to really describe what a pivot table is without showing visuals and and walking you through examples but suffice it to say that most charts you see inside spreadsheets were built through the use of pivot tables. Pivots take raw data and turn it into insight. They help you visualize patterns in a sea of numbers and can help you make key decisions that might effect either your organization of your life.

Pivots turn this:

Into this:

So, how do you learn Pivot Tables? There’s a couple of ways, but the best is to get in there and try it! You need to get your hands on some data and then try and make one yourself. First we might recommend doing a quick search on YouTube for “pivot tables” and finding the shortest video you can to explain them. Then, you should try and track down a some public datasets that will let you play with the tables. Or, alternatively, you could snag a copy of Excel Everest :), our educational tool, and we’ll guide you through the learning process.

// Excel Everest ( is a comprehensive Excel tutorial that teaches Pivot Tables and more! The whole learning course is built inside an Excel file itself and provides instruction on 50 topics and presents real world scenarios and examples. These exercises are automatically graded in a big tutorial scoreboard. Companies such as PlayCore, Google, and Hymans Robertson are teaching their employees using Excel Everest.

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google for more info