Professional C64 trainings
Back in the 80s, the Commodore 64 was the first contact many of us had with a computer. Whilst most of us started hacking away at Basic and machine code without any real training (apart from the Basic handbook and perhaps a few books we picked up when we bought the C64) and basically “played it by ear”, there slowly emerged a need to have proper trainings organized for those who had to get used to the computer in their workplace and who needed to have some sort of official certificate, signaling that they were versed in the world of the new technology.
One of those who saw the need for this was the “Leidse Onderwijsinstellingen (LOI)” in the Netherlands. This institution had made its name as a market leader in distance learning – trainings that you could take in the comfort of your own home, at your own pace, but with the guidance from an instructor who would review your progress, tasks and tests at regular intervals. Depending on the type of training, after a couple of weeks, months or even years (as they also provide certified Bachelor and Master trainings) you would get your certificate or degree after the successful completion of your exam.
So back in 1987 they introduced the training “Commodore 64 Expert”. This training was made up of 10 individual modules, each focusing on a distinct area related to your home computer: Programming in Basic, Graphics on the C64, Office applications (working with a word processor and spreadsheet), etc.
Each module would take about 2 months to complete, but you could only obtain the certificate of “Commodore 64 Expert” if you had taken at least 3 modules.
Where some modules would be very hands-on, some modules would also focus on specific areas where the then nascent computer industry was getting a foothold. For instance, the module “The use of the computer in classrooms” focused on the many different aspects and uses the computer could have to aid the teacher in getting more difficult subjects like mathematics, physics across in a visual and pleasant approach.
The modules were top-notch, featuring the needed theoretical background, the necessary examples on cassette or disk and of course the required software like a word processor etc. The module “Programming with Logo” even included the complete package on a 128 Kb ROM cartridge (more on Logo in a later article).
The cost of the modules was roughly 250 Euro for 3 modules, which is of course more than the cost of a couple of books, but the big difference of course is that you get the software included, guidance from an instructor, and a certificate showing that you have successfully completed the training by a certified training institution.
Taking 6 modules would have set you back 450 Euro.
The LOI certainly was not the only institution providing these types of trainings, but in the Benelux countries, it was for sure one of the most in-depth trainings and, not to be underestimated, organized by a well respected college.