CAD Manager's Newsletter (#428)

11 Jun, 2019 By: Robert Green

Proactive CAD Training Strategies

Dedicating a little time to training in a consistent, thoughtful way will help you ward off problems before they arise. Here's how to set up a simple, effective training program for your users.

In a previous installment of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, we talked about implementing a proactive CAD management program, so problems can be prevented rather than fixed. One of the key elements of that proactive approach is a plan for ongoing, regularly scheduled user training.

In this edition, we will explore some updated best practices for developing your own training program. Here goes.

Time Is Money, so Choose Wisely

If time is money, then doesn't it stand to reason that time in training means money spent on training? You bet it does. Does management like spending money? No. So, it also stands to reason that a great training program should achieve the maximum amount of knowledge transfer with the smallest amount of classroom time — thereby keeping costs down and management happy. But how can you meet all these objectives? By picking your training topics carefully, and prioritizing them to cover only the most relevant topics.

How can you choose training topics that will have a significant impact on your users' workflows? First, consider the following prompts, and make a list of your answers:

•  What processes do users complain about?
•  What causes rework?
•  What standards and procedures are being violated?

Next, the question becomes how to prioritize the topic list you just made. Consider these metrics:

•  Which topic(s) address the greatest number of users?
•  Which topic(s) will save the greatest amount of time?
•  Which topic(s) will help you prevent more problems?

If you find a training topic that meets all (or even just two) of the criteria given while generating time savings and/or error prevention for a large percentage of users, then you've got a winning topic! If you focus your training program on these types of topics, you can't go wrong.

Stress Substance and Speed over Style

Great training means delivering information in an easy-to-understand manner — and doing so as quickly as possible. Simple training delivered sooner will always beat fancier training delivered later.

Your training materials don't have to be fancy to be effective — they just need to be clear and easy to understand. Image source:
Your training materials don't have to be fancy to be effective — they just need to be clear and easy to understand. Image source:

Some of the best training sessions I've ever delivered were done with very basic course guide handouts and simple examples. Conversely, some of the worst training sessions I've ever attended had huge demonstration data sets and ornate graphics, but the instructor simply couldn't communicate the information clearly.


•  It is better to train users sooner with basic examples and course materials than to delay training while you put together an elaborate presentation.
•  If you can't explain the concepts in a way that users understand, nothing else matters.

Read more »

Tools and Resources

CADD Microsystems Publishes On-Demand Autodesk Software Webinars
Autodesk reseller CADD Microsystems offers a collection of on-demand webinars discussing the capabilities and uses of products including Revit, ReCap, Navisworks, BIM 360, AutoCAD, Civil 3D, and more. The webinars are free but require registration to access.

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Sponsored: 4M Restructures IDEA Architecture for Version 19
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NVIDIA Launches Quadro RTX GPUs for Mobile Workstations
New Turing-based graphics processing units are intended to boost mobile machines' performance with real-time ray tracing, virtual reality, and other demanding visual tasks. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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