By Nick Harris
Our friends at 4D Technologies have taken a different approach to self-service learning with their CADLearning platform. They recognise that the way many of us expect to access information has changed as the ubiquity of Internet search leads us to learn in a less linear way. We now spend our time reading snippets of blogs and forum posts, or tracking to the interesting part of online videos. Some people prefer to learn a new software product by following a well-structured, series of sequential lessons that build their knowledge as they apply new techniques to a common dataset. Others take a different approach, they like to dive into the product, try out the tools and commands and then, when they get stuck, search for very specific guidance that gets them past that hurdle.
CADLearning has been designed to accommodate all types of learners. It is a video based, cloud hosted learning and support portal. Lessons are split into short, self-contained videos, typically less than 5 minutes, which are designed to be both part of a structured training course and viewed independently. Each video is narrated and the text of the narration is displayed below the video, with the corresponding snippet highlighted as it is spoken.
The videos are tagged by product and topic so that you can use the powerful search to easily find a video to get help on a specific command or workflow. It covers 50 Autodesk products with more than 40,000 videos and there is content for all levels of learner. You can create playlists with any combination of these videos enabling you to build highly personalised learning paths.
To add a video to a playlist, you simply mark it as a favourite whilst you follow a predefined course, or use the powerful search to find and mark a video based on a keyword.
Importantly, the intuitive interface encourages outcome-based learning. When you first log in to the portal you are asked to choose a goal, for example preparing for the Inventor or Revit Autodesk Professional Certification exam. Once you have chosen a goal you are presented with a learning path containing all the video content needed to prepare you for that goal.
CADLearning has been developed with flexibility at its heart. For enterprise customers there are centralised administration and reporting facilities that you would expect of a scalable learning management system. You can identify and create different role profiles to match the way your business is structured and then assign each of them individual learning paths, assessments and goals. Of interest to many of our customers is the ability to add custom content to augment the existing videos. This additional content could cover workflows that include multiple applications, or guidance on how to start new design projects in the context of your company standards. Once created you can splice them into training courses alongside the existing content to provide an experience specific to you.
Whether you are an individual or work for a large organisation, talk to your account manager now about which flexible CADLearning plan is best for you.