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One of the best ways to get the most out of Salesforce is to take advantage of the incredible wealth of videos on the internet. It’s also a good way to learn if Salesforce is the right tool for you.
Similar to that is the Salesforce Learning Center, which has a few dozen videos in the 2-10 minute range, and a number of 2 page ‘cheat sheets’, a decent place if you are looking for a certain skill.
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If you’d like training that lies somewhere between power-user and admin level, then ShellBlack.com‘s website has a lot of 1-3 page walk-throughs of how to do useful things to your org. You can turn to it for overall training, or to answer a specific challenge you have (presuming they have written on that topic).
If you’d like to see exactly what you can do with the latest Salesforce release, the Winter 12 release training is helpful. Certified Admins have to watch these, but they are a great resource for everyone. Best way to find the list of past and current release training videos is to google for it.
This years Dreamforce in San Francisco was an amazing event with 15,000 people in attendance. Salesforce addicts can watch the Keynote speech by Marc Benioff on Day 1 and Day 2 are a great way to learn more about Salesforce’s recent and upcoming features, and how other organisations are using it (if you have four hours to spare).
More useful than that, if you want specific training on a certain tool or feature, are the individual classes from Dreamforce. To see individual sessions from Dreamforce 11, ignore the video that starts playing when you following the link, but look at the dozen of categories below it. Videos for individual sessions at Dreamforce 10 are also available. I watch these offline on my iPad or iPhone, either while commuting, or while using the cross trainer at the gym. Click the box immediately below for technical info on how to do this.
How to watch Dreamforce on your mobile device
If you have an ipad/ipod/iphone/whatever, you can watch the Dreamforce videos (and all YouTube videos for that matter) on your mobile device. Install Download Helper, an add-on for Firefox, and open the video in YouTube using Firefox. Look for the tiny Download Helper icon which will be on the Firefox toolbar, click on the tinier arrow next to the icon and select an option (I just pick medium, but if you need crystal clear resolution on your ipad, you can select 720p in the mp4 format).
This will download the video onto your computer. Drag/import it into iTunes, fiddle with iTunes so it is set to sync some/all movies to your device, sync your device, and voila, you can now watch Dreamforce sessions while sitting on the train commuting.
If you have something else, like an Android or Nokia or Windows Phone, I’m sure you can do something similar once the video file is on your deskopt, though you may need to use a different video format.
The best way to train is to take the ADM 201 (4 day Administer training course) with Salesforce, but as that is around £2500 (reduced to £600 for certified charities who have the flexibility to wait for a waiting-list spot), it obviously doesn’t count as free training. But there are ways to take advantage of the ADM 201 for free.
One is simply borrowing the book from a friend / colleague, and walking through all the exercises. If you want more traditional training, the DEV 401 and 501 are on iTunes. While not the same as the ADM 201, the DEV 401 is a subset of the ADM 201, dealing with all the features of the Force.com platform but without discussing standard objects such as Opportunities and Campaigns. It deals a lot with things like Workflow and Approvals, custom objects and joins. It is sadly 3 years out of date, but it’s better than nothing.