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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Top Trends in AEC Technical Training from ASCENT Center for Technical Knowledge

January 26th, 2017 by Susan Smith

In an AECCafe Voice interview with Paul Burden of ASCENT Center for Technical Knowledge, the courseware segment of Rand Worldwide, he spoke of the trends he saw in the provision of technical training for their customers.

As a developer of training and resources for Autodesk software, Burden says they see four trends:

  1. A demand for more specialized training. “For years we’ve had standard 3D products now we’re starting to see people looking for more than the fundamentals,” said Burden. “Recently we’re seeing an increased demand for Revit training for landscape architecture that is quite specific. That’s an area we’ve begun to develop some content for now. We’re starting to see more demand for workflow related education between the different software packages. We’re doing one now that is for Navisworks, focusing on the workflow between Navisworks and some of the other AEC products like Revit and Civil 3D — as the design goes between those different software tools.”
  1. Performance support type content. People are asking for less formal training and more performance support type content. “They’re asking for more adjusted content, for example, they have a very specific area for which they’re trying to get information,” said Burden. “I think we’ll see more of this, and we want to be able to get information to you very quickly without having to go through a longer, formal training class. Customers want specific information right when they need it where they need it. Some of the tools on the market today are beginning to have that element to them.”
  1. Chunking it down. “Over the next few years we’ll see a transformation of our content into smaller chunks, because it’s bite size information that people want,” Burden said. “We’re satisfied with our content but will see a repackaging of that content.”
  1. More focus on the value-add of the content. Customers will be more interested in the quality of the content and not so much the packaging, but also how it’s delivered. “They really need to make sure that it’s showing how to use the product in the way they want their users to use the software. As we get more younger people in the workplace and the demographic of the users change, the focus of training and disseminating information changes. It will become more consumable, constant information.”

Burden said they make content available in a number of ways. One is the online portal where all their content is made available. “We also sell at an apprentice level. Physical print is available. With Fusion 360 we delivered the training as a print book but we also have a digital version of it that incorporates video demos.  Anyone who purchased the print version registered with us is able to get the video demos as well.”

Additionally, a large part of ASCENT’s training program is hands-on tutorial to take users through areas of the software that apply to what they are doing in their jobs and provide guidance and step-by-step instructions. The instructional design methodology may begin with a fundamental level course for Civil 3D for example, with the basic software and repeating what the customers are doing on a regular basis. “We find that helps with the retention and understanding of the course.”

ASCENT is part of the Autodesk Authorized Publisher Program, managed by the Autodesk Training Center. They have established relationships with many ATCs, many of whom use ASCENT’s trainings, and ASCENT also sells training content through their own website and Amazon. They also offer regular webcasts of their authors on a regular basis.

Some companies do their own training in-house using ASCENT’s training resources. There is a great need for customized training for companies who don’t use products out of the box. For example, some retailers use Revit for some retail design and there is a specific way they use Revit that requires specialized training.

At Autodesk University 2016, ASCENT released the second edition of the Autodesk Fusion 360: an Introduction to Parametric Modeling, available both in print format from ASCENT’s eStore and Amazon, plus in Video-Enhanced eBook format through ASCENT’s eStore. The second edition includes over seven hours of video demonstrations with 118 CADLearning embedded videos. Those who purchase the print version can register for complimentary access to a digital version containing all of the video content.

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Categories: 3D PDF, AEC, AEC training, AECCafe, apps, AutoCAD, Autodesk, BIM, building information modeling, Civil 3D, Cloud, collaboration, construction, data archiving, engineering, field solutions, file sharing, IFC, IMAGINiT, plant design, point clouds, site planning

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