I’m sure that if you have never worked with the LiveCycle training material you have no idea what that title is about. During the LiveCycle Building Applications (LCBA) training a mortgage workflow for the fictional company Fin@nceCorp is build step by step. It starts with a PDF form to submit a mortgage application, then through a workflow process with reviews by loan officers through PDF and Flex forms it ends with a rejection or acceptance letter. Along the way it introduces the key concepts of LiveCycle and when the course is complete the students should be able to build workflows in LiveCycle.
Last week I was in Lisbon to teach this course to a group of people who are about to use LiveCycle to build workflows for generating contracts in PDF. Monday and Tuesday I covered LiveCycle Developing Forms (LCDV) with a group of up to 13 people, both backend developers and forms developers. Luckily this is a somewhat normal schedule for this course, because having flown in straight from the MAX in San Francisco I was somewhat jet-lagged.
Then Wednesday and Thursday with just the backend developers we had the absolute madness of squeezing 4 days of training plus some custom content on LiveCycle installation and webservice invocation in two days. Luckily the client knew exactly what he wanted so we could skip several chapters and I just demonstrated several of the walkthroughs instead of everybody completing them, but I think this was still a little too much.
Then Friday we switched gears completely. First I wrapped up the webservices content and then in a brainstorm session we designed a process that matched a simplified version of their business case. We ended up with a master process with 7 subprocesses on the whiteboard. After some more discussion we had the in and out variables of each subprocess and I put everybody to work on a subprocess. As soon as people had defined their process with variables I wired them all together in the main process on the projector and then I helped people with issues with their individual subprocess.
I have rarely had so much fun in a training. I had to run around and was answering questions all day (I am very glad the Portugese take their time for their lunch), but it is fun to be challenged as a trainer.
What is more, I think that the students got more out of training this way then if we had followed just the regular schedule. Doing this group building process not only what is taught is really put in practice, but the additional aspects of application design, decoupling processes and API design become much clearer. It is a good thing I had some really smart people in the class because I would never have been able to write the XSLT they did in such a short time, but that just shows how even in such a short exercise skills can complement eachother.
So here is my recommendation: if you want to get the 4 day LCBA training for your team, make sure you get a trainer with field-experience with LiveCycle and tag on an extra day to design and build your first application together. It will prepare your team so much better.