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I am trying to find alternatives to the term crash course, in reference to a training session that intends to get you started with a topic quickly.

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In what context? Otherwise this is a general reference question for Google and a thesaurus –  simchona Sep 21 '11 at 16:52
    
Without any further info, I would be inclined to say that crash course is perfectly fine, and better than most alternatives. –  Daniel Sep 21 '11 at 17:07
    
Sorry not precisely sure what you are looking for in terms on context. To be more specific the "crash course" is a computer programming training course. The desire for a different phrase comes from a marketing stand point, the people putting it on done like the phrase crash course but cant find a better way to describe it. –  Digital Powers Sep 21 '11 at 17:08
    
O.T. for this forum but something involving "catapult" might be catchy...and the opposite of "crash", if you include a picture of an aircraft carrier deck. For those who know how that works. Of course, again, UK...Harriers...never mind. :) –  JeffSahol Sep 21 '11 at 17:42
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There used to be a driving school in Sri Lanka when I was there that offered a crash course. –  Barrie England Sep 21 '11 at 19:24
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6 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Boot Camp

I attended a "Boot Camp" for a programming language once. The phrase is a good match if the intent is "initial indoctrination and instruction". I am not sure if that is an American expression, though.

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+1 I use it, and have seen it used, and I'm an American. –  Daniel Sep 21 '11 at 17:26
    
I'm UK, so maybe I shouldn't express an opinion on what is primarily a US term. But I'm perefectly with the expression, so I'll just say that so far as I'm concerned, boot camp is primarily associated with residential correctional facilities. It's also used of army induction programmes, but it sounds a bit out of context for the general run of intensive training courses relating to commercial/academic training. –  FumbleFingers Sep 21 '11 at 17:34
    
I like book camp an awful lot but I think it implies a longer duration, like several days of training. –  Digital Powers Sep 21 '11 at 17:41
    
@FumbleFingers, I agree with you that boot camp is used with initial military training and residential correctional facilities. In the US, it's also being used for fast-paced, very intense, and usually multi-day training. I've seen it used with exercise and programming training. You have to be very disciplined to succeed at it. –  mkennedy Sep 21 '11 at 20:20
    
@Digital: I'm surprised you're attracted to boot camp, but that just goes to show you should really have given more context in your original question (specifically - what is it about crash course that you don't like?). In the absence of that information, the obvious inference is that you don't like crash course because it's a bit "informal". In which case you should have preferred any/all of Autoresponder's suggestions over this considerably stretched usage of the already "slangy" term boot camp. –  FumbleFingers Sep 21 '11 at 21:27
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How about:

Accelerated Training Module

Accelerated Learning Module

Intensive Training Program

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It is sometimes called a "primer"

It can be used as such:

I just took a primer on using Wordpress. I feel like I could blog all day long now.

A crash course tends to be seen as "throw them in and see if they can swim" type of course where the reason for doing things is left out and you're only told the basics you need to function. For example, a crash course on wordpress would teach you how to use the basic functionality you needed to post because it was a part of your job.

A primer on the other hand teaches you the fundamentals so you can move into deeper water as you see fit.

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There are no alternatives for the words as such. The other one I came across is crash program which is substituting just the "course" part of it. Crash course is more popular. Crash course is an intense training/learning exercise which is undertaken usually when a person wants to learn something extensive in short duration of time.

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"There are no alternatives for the words as such": I don't know, boot camp comes close, IMHO. –  Daniel Sep 21 '11 at 17:27
    
Boot camp is more commonly used for Military training camp of new recruits or a correctional facility where a strict disciplinary regime is to be followed whereas Crash course could be in anything ranging from technology, accounting, horse riding, scuba diving etc. –  Matrika Sep 21 '11 at 17:39
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Try googling "boot camp". I don't see any military usages. I realize that Dictionary.com exclusively supports the military definition, but that doesn't go far in real life. –  Daniel Sep 21 '11 at 17:44
    
I did not go for many links, but most of them are taking it in correctional sense. Can you please point me to the specific link you are talking about to make me understand better? –  Matrika Sep 21 '11 at 18:04
    
Just to throw one out there: Fitness Bootcamp has that usage and meaning, along with many others. –  Daniel Sep 21 '11 at 18:12
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You might call it a cram. Wiktionary defines noun cram as "The act of cramming" or "Information hastily memorized". Or use cram as an adjective; for example: "He spent two weeks at a cram school, but her cram course was only three days long."

As a verb, cram means "To put hastily through an extensive course of memorizing or study, as in preparation for an examination; as, a pupil is crammed by his tutor", or "To make crude preparation for a special occasion, as an examination, by a hasty and extensive course of memorizing or study", among other senses.

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I like this question! There are certainly requirements to alternatives to "A crash course in computer programming" or "A Crash Course in piloting light aircraft" - unless you like the idea that the course titles conveys a slightly humourous intent.

To me "Cram" suggests studying to pass the post-course test - not the course itself.

"Boot Camp" most definitely IS military and describes many fast-paced IT courses - e.g. MCSE Boot Camp - it also implies intensive, but not necesarily quick. An MCSE for example requires 7 or more exams to be passed - most of these exams have an associated course, some of which are 1 to 2 weeks long - but the boot camp may offer to teach you what you need for all 7 exams in 1 month, many are residential (like military!) and maybe by working 10 hour days and still expecting books to be read overnight.

The reason people are asking for context is that if your fast paced course is over 1 month, boot camp is good - if it's over 1-2 days then boot camp isn't suitable, and Intensive would work better.

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