The way designers and engineers are taught to use SolidWorks apparently has some fundamental flaws, according to Matt May, director of sales for SolidProfessor .
SolidWorks is a solid modeling CAD and CAE program that runs on Microsoft Windows. The traditional training model for SolidWorks is that a company will purchase software and go through training in a live classroom. The training is usually 1 to 5 days long, depending on the technical depth. Everything goes great. The teacher is terrific, the students are enthusiastic. They feel confident that they have a handle on the technology.
Then the engineer or designer is sent off to work with the new program. And here is where the problems start. Trainers will get calls from customers saying, “I think we covered this functionality in our training model last month, but can you walk me through it again?” Users end up needing more on-site or phone call follow-ups. They can’t remember the principles or steps needed to work the software.
Something is broken in that model, says May. “If you’ve got a business-critical design software like SolidWorks, Autodesk, Pro E or any of the popular design software out there, you have to be proficient with that tool in order to be an effective designer, to keep those projects on the expected timeline, keep it on target. Keeping everybody consistent and trained and working with design tools in the most up to date version and doing that well is really important When you’re not able to retain that knowledge, and utilize knowledge in your daily workflow, it come at a tremendous cost.”
“It’s a big challenge for medical device companies to keep their design team proficient at their design tools, and designing in a standardized way, says May. The company has invested in design software and if it is not being used consistently and appropriately, design errors could arise. Those mistakes cause manufacturing delays.
May says it is not the engineers or designers, but the model that doesn’t work. That is because it doesn’t take into account how people learn. Studies show that the average person forgets about 80% of what they learn in a live training study within 30 days.
The SolidProfessor model has sought to address that gap with a video-based training platform. It allows users to go back to and refresh themselves and learn new skills, all through a keyword or function search. It also allows for varying learning modes, e.g., auditory, visual or kinisthtic learners, as well as pacing.
May says that when SolidProfessor first launched in 2002, it printed off CDs and delivered those to customers. The videos would be installed locally. “We’ve gone away from that, for a lot of reasons.”
Accessibility is important, May said. “People can log in, and whenever they have a question, whatever they need or want to learn, they can access that material.”
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