This Post is by Ken Good.
Some time ago Jared wrote an article on BIM terminology on our Cadimage blog, and since that time we’ve been talking about creating an article for Shoegnome. One topic that kept coming up was training—where to get it, how to get it and what topics to look for.
As one of the online tutors for Cadimage Group (the folks in New Zealand who make the Cadimage Tools), I run courses in both ARCHICAD and the Tools. I’m located in the UK, which is quite some way from the Head Office in Auckland, but this means I can carry out training and support to the European and American markets while they are sleeping. This helps us cover all markets at all times.
I’ve been running live and online training courses for most of my career, so I’ve provided some thoughts here for you to help navigate the world of online training—whether you are looking to brush up your skills, or become a tutor yourself.
What to look for when booking a training course
- Experience. Try to find a trainer who has had significant experience in presenting both live and online courses. That’s because a major part of successful training lies in the people skills. There’s no eye contact when you are learning online (which may seem unnecessary because you are learning a computer-based skill) but you really need to choose someone who ‘gets’ the different learning paces and learning styles of different people, and who can pick up on this over an internet connection. There is quite a craft to that which only comes with experience and an inbuilt ability to read people. It’s a real ‘human’ skill rather than a technical one.
- Follow up. Consider what follow up training (if any) is provided with the course. It’s now widely accepted that content needs to be reviewed at certain time increments to solidify learning – otherwise it simply fades from memory. For example, a refresher or quiz after 1 week of learning, followed by a video recording 3 weeks after the initial course is a perfect way to solidify the learning, and this is something we like to do with our courses.
- Content. Think about the course content. Do you want something straight off the shelf and standard (which is great for some people who know exactly what they want)? In this case you might want to undertake a formulated course where video recordings are sent to you at intervals, for you to watch and learn at your own pace. Or, are you after something a bit more tailored to you or to address a particular concern? If you don’t have much time to spare, it is often better to pay a little extra to get a tailored course so you are improving your skills every moment (rather than for just a portion at the end of the course).
- Preparation. If you want to sign up for a custom or one-on-one course, think about how the custom content is created and how well the trainer will understand your needs. For example, we ask learners to complete an online questionnaire to fully understand where gaps are in their knowledge. We also suggest that they provide a current project file for us to use during the training session, so they get experience that’s relevant to their work.
What you need to know if you are thinking about becoming a tutor
- Duration. I’d recommend structuring your training sessions to be between 1 – 1.5 hours in length. It’s hard to keep someone engaged for much longer than this when you are not in the same room together.
- Be prepared. You’ll need to be prepared for nearly any question – so a thorough understanding of ARCHICAD, BIM and building methods are a must.
- Be Knowledgeable. You’ll also need to fully understand what your attendees want to get out of the training session. For example, it’s not uncommon for someone to ask for a mid- or high-level training session, when they are actually missing some core foundation skills that are essential for the more advanced topics. If you aren’t aware of gaps in your attendees’ knowledge, they won’t understand what you are teaching, and you won’t understand why they don’t understand the topic.
- Software. When it comes to software, I use ‘GoToMeeting’ to share my screen with the learner who might be located on the other side of the city, or in another country. The software also allows me to talk to them and record the session too. The recordings are sent to the person a week or so after the training, and this helps them to repeat the tasks and solidify their learning in their own time. Of course you’ll need a full commercial ARCHICAD license too.
A little while back my colleagues gave me the nickname ‘ArchiGOD’, which came about after a typo in an ARCHICAD presentation showed my name as ‘Ken God’ rather than ‘Ken Good’. Since we had a tendency to prefix everything with Archi- , it was only a matter of time before a colleague dubbed me ‘ArchiGOD’. And, seeing as I designed my wedding invitations in ARCHICAD, it was probably quite an appropriate nickname too.
Nowadays I run one-on-one ARCHICAD training sessions to folks across the world via the wonderful world of the Internet. People are generally most interested in sessions that offer mid-level ARCHICAD skills, or upgrade topics when a new version is released. Sometimes people want more specific topics like rendering, documentation and workflow, which we can also accommodate.
I started out using ARCHICAD back in the 1990’s, and since that time have clocked up over 15,000 hours of training to individuals and groups of up to 200 throughout the UK. Some of these large sessions also included an open Q&A portion, where there was no preparation and just required quick thinking and an in-depth knowledge of the software in order to get by (no Googling for answers in front of a live audience!!).
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