In-House User Groups (CAD Manager's Toolbox)

26 May, 2009 By: Robert Green

Users and staff can help fill the training-budget void.

As training budgets have been scaled back, more CAD managers find themselves having to conduct training using nontraditional techniques such as lunch-and-learn sessions or video training. Although I can't make budget problems go away, I would like to suggest a way to build an in-house user group that can form the basis of your training program.

I've used the following process and found that seems to work well.

Find your motivated users. Figure out who wants to learn more about their CAD tools and is willing to invest a little time on it. Tell these motivated users that you want to start a user group inside your company to share tips and tricks and to conduct training.

Organize it. Those users who are willing to assist in putting the user group together should be given tasks such as putting together an explanatory e-mail message, preparing topic lists for training sessions, and creating lesson plans.

Schedule it. User group meetings never happen unless you put them on a schedule. Pick a day in the middle of the week and schedule the meeting to start at the end of the business day (or during the lunch break if that works better). Aim for one or two sessions per month and publish the topics ahead of time that you'll be teaching at each meeting.

Conduct it. Run the meetings, teach the topics, and build enthusiasm for your program.

Recruit. As the user group gains momentum, bring in more employees as members and watch your training sessions grow.

Creating an in-house user group isn't as effective as formal training, but it is substantially better than no training at all. Give an in-house user group a try and see if this option works for you.