At conferences and events I have found that the vast majority of sessions are one hour long. Sometimes events have experimented with 75 or 90 minute sessions, but the majority of talks I've heard were an hour, short enough to get an idea of how to use a feature or have an idea about why you might use something, but too short for in depth learning. More in depth sessions are usually all day sessions, or multi-day classes, which are very focused, and expensive. It seems that it's rare the many employees get the chance to attend this type of training.
This year the Summit is trying something new, with a few half day sessions that should provide a deep dive in a number of areas during one focused three hour time slot. There are sessions on a variety of topics including performance tuning from Tom LaRock, and Scaling SQL Server from Glenn Berry. The sessions take place on Wed and Thur in the afternoon, so check the schedule if you're interested.
I like the idea of combining some longer training that is focused along with the wide variety that most events offer. To me this is a way to better justify the ROI of attending an event by allowing you to focus in a deeper way on a specific subject. It also is a great way for some of the more expert speakers that offer training or pre-conference sessions to give attendees an idea of what they can teach, and why that specific training can be worth the expense.
I'm hoping that some attendees will come away with skills they can use, or refine when they get back to their jobs. I'm hoping they can tie that back specifically to one of these half day sessions and even blog about what the reaction was from their management. I'm also hoping that this helps to get more training sessions scheduled as pre-cons at SQL Saturdays or other events, bringing lower cost training to more people and improving the skills of the SQL Server community overall.
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