For the past few weeks there has been a push amongst the various user groups to participate in the #SummerOfTrailhead. Yesterday the Wisconsin User group got their chance to particpate and I have to say, it was truly awesome (or is that #clawesome cc:@TheChrisDuarte?).
As you hopefully know by now, Trailhead is a free, fun, & easy way to learn the Salesforce platform. By working your way through various exercises that are grouped by different modules, you earn points and badges for your accomplishments. The gamification makes it fun, but to be honest, I’d be using it even if badges, points, and bragging rights weren’t involved at all because it is that effective when learning the platform.
Often times when learning something new you are left to your own devices: a book, a webpage, a how-to, etc. The problem with this approach is that you are still left to your own devices when trying to understand and apply those concepts. Trailhead is interactive; upon completing an exercise Trailhead will connect to your developer org and check your work. You get instant feedback on whether or not you are grasping the concepts rather than left to wander in the woods alone.
The Summer of Trailhead event upped the level of interactivity by gathering users, developers, and admins together in one place to work on things in an open setting. I had the privilege of being a helper at this event along with Jennifer Bennett (my dev twin, sister from another mister, etc), and fellow Salesforce MVPs Andy Ognenoff & Brian Kwong. We strolled amongst the attendees and offered help and assistance with getting started with Trailhead as well as help with understanding of various module content.
Add to that the users themselves reaching out to their neighbor and asking/answering questions and it only improved the overall experience. It was reminiscent of my high school Pre-Calculus class, lemme ‘splain: I was never any good at math, B student at best most times when it came to “the maths.” Somehow though, I found myself in a Pre-Calculus class — by choice…my parents’ choice (something about prepping for college I suppose). Anyway, our teacher seemed to understand that working in groups, we’d be more productive. Each day after the content was delivered and homework assigned, we’d gather in groups and start working on the exercises — and I’ll be damned if I didn’t finish that year with a 99% in that class.
Trailhead is very similar, particularly the “live” event due to its interactivity. I believe the official event is now over but I did hear a couple of our local Girly Geeks saying they should get together in a small group and do some of the modules together. So I’m putting the challenge out there. Find your dev/admin/user buddy(ies) and arrange a trailhead afternoon. Get together, find a module you all would like to work on (they could be different modules) and start learning. You don’t need an official event, just do it. You’ll thank yourself.