Training Program Reinforcement Part 2

image In my last post I spoke about the power of reinforcement in the world of education. My point to making the connection between academia and corporate learning is that reinforcement is no less important in academia than it is in a corporate learning environment. But without report cards, parent-teacher conferences, and other staples of academia, how does one reinforce corporate training?

It’s as simple as this. Corporate training shouldn’t end when your employees leave the classroom. In all likelihood your employees will come back from training excited about all the cool things they were shown in training, but how much of it did they actually retain? Fact of the matter is this, you have no clue what your employees did or did not retain.

A comprehensive training program will follow-up on the classroom learning offered to your employees. You can choose the best way to quantify what your employees truly learned in training. You may choose to create an assessment customized to your company, and the way it does things. On the other hand, you may choose to have your employees take one of the Certification Exams offered by Autodesk. The method isn’t the important part here; it’s the reinforcement you’ll be able to provide as a result of your employees taking an assessment.

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Training Program Reinforcement Part 1

image It’s hard to believe, but 3 weeks ago I started my employment with Ronald A. Williams. Last week was quite exciting as I got to meet a number of our customers for the first time at a CTE conference. For those outside the education world, CTE stands for Career & Technical Education, and is perhaps better known as vo-tech. I must say, getting to chat with the teachers who are in the classrooms training the next generation of CAD professionals was quite interesting. Frankly, the inner-geek in me just couldn’t help but start comparing the world of education to industry.

One topic I found especially intriguing was the profoundly different ways education and industry measure success of their students/employees. Companies pour thousands and thousands of dollars into training their staff, but how is success primarily measured? Typically success in industry is measured by the dollar; Return on Investment. If I invest x-dollars in training, how much will new efficiency gains make me back over time?

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Engineered Efficiency offers Unlimited Live Training

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While I personally thought Autodesk would announce next (not this) release would be the final release of Land Desktop, the announcement itself really comes as no surprise. Since the Technology Preview release of 2004, Civil 3D has evolved from a really cool new technology to a technology now able to sustain real-world design. For firms still using Land Desktop, switching to Civil 3D has less to do with the technical abilities of the software, and more to do with the cultural paradigm and the raw cost.

Civil 3D is not an incremental upgrade to Land Desktop; it’s a replacement for Land Desktop. For that reason many firms still have weighed Civil 3D vs LDT, and simply decided to stay on LDT subscribing to the notion “if it aint broke, don’t fix it”. More often than not that argument is code for, we’re not willing to commit to the hours upon hours of training our staff will need to be productive on Civil 3D. While Civil 3D certainly has the potential to save lots of time [money] in the long run, it’s difficult to convince management to forgo the necessary cost of training.

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Secret to Training Engineers

Good employees are hard to find, and even harder to keep. While this virtue is undeniably true in just about any industry, I find it to be especially true within the engineering industry. Many have heard the timeless question; is the glass half full or half empty? Optimists will respond stating the glass is half full, pessimists half empty. Engineers on the other hand will simply conclude the glass to be twice the size it needs to be. While I mention the parody in jest, its truthfulness can unveil some key insights as to the way engineers learn.

Arguably the most fundamental trait of an engineer is their innate ability to solve problems. Simple or complex, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is a conclusive yes or no answer can be found. This passion for discovering the answers to problems big and small consequently feeds into what could be described as an endless appetite for information. Much like a chef can take seemingly unrelated ingredients and make a celebrated dish, engineers have the ability to take seemingly unrelated pieces of information and assemble it together into a larger concept or idea.

Sometimes the process of assembling fragments of information into a single concept can take seconds, other times it can take days or months. Engineers have the tendency of building a relevancy engine our non-engineer friends are likely to find annoying. So why are we able to remember things our non-engineer friends cannot? In essence it boils down to the way we as engineers commit things to memory.

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AU 2007 – The Training Trinity

imageMine included, it seems that many of the AU Unplugged sessions had a lighter turn out than expected.  Even with the limited attendance, I must say my session provided a great platform for some discussion I am certainly bringing home with me.  The concept of a Training Trinity is one I have not seen much (if anything published on).

About a month ago I made a post centered on “Starting a CAD Standard“.  I’ll paraphrase for those of you who may not have read that post.  My “Starting a CAD Standard” post focused on the idea that the most important element to a CAD Standard is not the awesome DWT you have set up, it’s not the documentation (directly), not even the automated routine you may have programmed.  Instead what makes of breaks a CAD Standard is the unspoken (and undocumented element).  When starting a CAD Standard one must have a clear and concise goal, a mission statement even. 

Different elements of your CAD Standard shouldn’t be established as islands.  I can assure constructing bridges between your islands is not an option.  Instead each element of your CAD Standard must compliment the other elements of your CAD Standard.  While I have always aired on the side of defining procedures outside of the CAD Standard, your standard will certainly imply numerous procedures.  For instance if your file management standard is set up to have model files and sheet files, you are implying a workflow in which sheets are generated by xrefing model drawings. 

So what does all of this have to do with training?

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