Free training on Power BI on Edx

If you’re looking to ramp-up on Power BI, as I’ve been doing recently since it’s a powerful new tool which will eventually have some great integration points with SharePoint and SQL Server Reporting Services, there’s a free course available on EdX:

I’ve recently been through the most recent version and apart from seeing some of the minor issues in the labs corrected, I was pleased to be reminded how this course gives a great, practical, hands-on way to learn about Power BI.

For those of you wondering if this really is free, yes, you can “audit” the course for free. It does cost $49 for the certificate to verify you’ve completed it, but I thought that was a reasonable price to pay. And paying the fee will likely inspire you to complete all the lessons so you can get your certificate. It did exactly that for me. My current management chain isn’t entirely sure what to make of a Microsoft SharePoint field engineer who wants to branch out into Power BI, so I was on my own to pay for this, but I thought it was worth it.

There are some of the exercises you can only complete if you have access to the Power BI service, which does have a subscription fee. But you can still access all the lectures for free, and if you want to get the certificate and don’t have access to the service, I think the math works out that you could skip those labs and still complete enough of the course requirements to get the certificate.

I did not write the 5/5 star review I pasted in below, but I think it is fair and informative. Power BI is an appealing product to both folks I think of as “hard-core data scientists” and Excel users who have progressed from what I call “Excel as a Posterboard” to using multiple linked graphs, then pivot tables, then “Power” features like PowerView, PowerQuery and PowerMap to provide consumable and meaningful insights to their data. It’s also true that an on-line course like this will likely have some “warts” when run across a variety of browsers and operating systems. When I first went through the course there was a little bit of a learning curve to figure out how to navigate between lessons, how to figure out where the help forums were and how to best consume the lectures. Reading the transcript and skipping the video, or skipping all the videos and going straight to the labs are all strategies which may work for folks with different learning styles. And you can do any combination of that and get the feedback directly from the quizzes and exercises to tell you whether you really understand the concepts.


“posted anonymously 6 months ago rates this course 5 / 5 stars

This is an excellent course presented by an engaging instructor with well-chosen examples and lab assignments. Even by edX standards, this course stands out. PowerBI is a powerful and complex product that combines functions of Microsoft Analysis and Reporting services, Excel “Power” add-ins and graphics capabilities, and a dashboard creation tool that has no equal. This course gives an in-depth overview on how to use these powerful features. The course is accessible to those who use Excel for data analysis and presentation but also for those (like myself) who have used the Microsoft BI services stack and wish to be more productive. In other words, an excellent course that does justice to this powerful product. The edX platform worked well, serving up clear videos, practice questions and labs. It was easy to download the course materials and grading worked well. The same cannot be said about coursetalk: the rating stars did not show up in IE11, a very common browser. This forced me to try to find another browser and start all over again. Do you guys ever test or is that too old-fashioned.”


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