Modern CAD tools are continually evolving, features are being enhanced and new tools made available. After all, that’s one of the main reasons we pay for subscription or maintenance. But by not investing properly in training many of us are not making the most of tools we’ve invested in.
When training is carried out — an essentials class or perhaps to learn more specific tools — it’s often when the initial software purchase is made. This is typically carried out off site in a classroom environment and involves having designers and engineers out of the office for a few days at a time.
The problem is, all of this costs time and money and everyday work always seems to get in the way. Projects are on tight deadlines, management wants the job done yesterday and training heads straight to the bottom of the to-do list.
By missing out on on-going training, the risk is that users will continue to approach tasks in the same way they have always done, even though there could be a better, more efficient way of doing things.
And when it comes to product updates, only the most diligent who work through the what’s new training, with the ever-present sample models and workflows, will learn the potential benefits of new features.
So is there an alternative, that doesn’t require time out of the office and the associated investment in cost and manpower?
i GET IT is an on-demand self-paced training system for users of almost every major CAD system.
It has been available for some time but is now part of Tata Technologies — yes, that’s right, Tata, the Indian engineering giant.
Tata Technologies is a division of the Tata Group and through a series of global investments, has become a powerhouse in the world of CAD — not only through the resale of CAD software, but also implementation, services and consultancy.
i GET IT covers all of the leading systems, including AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Catia V5 and V6, Autodesk Inventor and Siemens NX as well as more specialised systems like Autodesk Alias.
The nature of the training differs for each product. More popular systems have the most well developed set of tools — everything from basic use, sketching, part modelling, assembly creation, through to advanced areas, such as surfacing.
Training varies from system to system. For example, if you run through the SolidWorks training, the same tutorials aren’t available for Catia or NX. They’re similar, but there’s not an exact match.
Wealth of learning
For each i GET IT course there are four basic tiers of subscription: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. In the case of Autodesk Inventor, Bronze gives access to all the essentials plus update training from various releases and basic drawing classes.
Stepping up the range, Silver offers sheet metal and weldments while Gold adds training for more sophisticated tools including tube and pipe, iLogic for design automation, specific part modelling, user interaction, sheet metal, positional representations, and weldments.
Platinum gives access to the whole shebang – everything we’ve discussed plus training in associated applications such as Autodesk Alias, Showcase and the like.
The product offerings for other systems are similarly comprehensive.
Sign-in — get learning
i GET IT is web-based and, once signed in, the user is presented with a nicely structured interface.
Courses are located on the left and the content on the right. Content predominantly takes the form of video instruction with full screen video showing the functions and options in the system.
If there’s a dataset associated with the tutorial, then it’s available to download for the user to work through in the CAD tool. Question and answer sessions are used to gauge progress.
These can be for an individual or a team, which is useful for those looking to implement i GET IT on-demand.
There’s also an Apple iPad app, which provides access to all the same learning material, but has the advantage of keeping things separate from the main workstation or laptop screen.
Alongside the CAD application training, i GET IT also includes a series of more engineering-specific training.
This again is given in the form of video-based training, question and answer sessions. Topics covered include Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T), plastic part design concepts, and vehicle design, one of the most interesting.
It’s also worth noting that there are a few modules that tailor this type of content to the NX and Catia user.
The courses are developed by various engineers, instructors, and consultants within Tata Technologies engineering services. This helps ensure there is real world working knowledge built into the courses.
There are also training classes for data management systems such as Autodesk Vault, SolidWorks PDM’s tools, Teamcenter and Aras. While they are not geared towards administration of the systems, there’s more than enough to get users up to speed.
Tracking performance & custom training
Alongside the courseware, i GET IT has a built in learning management system which allows a self-learner or corporate manager to prescribe a set of courses.
The question and answer data feeds back into the system and progress can be viewed alongside other metrics including details of time spent on each stage.
i GET IT can also be customised, which will be of particular interest to corporates. As a fully-fledged learning management system, i GET IT enables users to upload their own training materials, carry out assessments and track progress.
This could have a huge range of uses. Not just on the CAD side, for assessing a potential candidate’s ability, but also getting new starts up to speed with best practices, processes and any other business related item.
For example, anything from details of which standards to use, how to check data into the PDM vault, how to file an expense report or even the dreaded health and safety lecture.
Administrators can track when each training module has been completed and carry out a quick test to gauge the level of learning. And, as with any content within the system, locate areas where members of the team need to focus their next learning steps or repeat courses.
i GET IT has a wealth of training options for all types of users — from a corporate design manager looking to up-skill an existing team, to a sole trader or small team looking to get the most out of the tools that have been invested in.
i GET IT also has the benefit of supporting organisations, big and small, that run multiple CAD systems. Investing in in-house training or off-site activities for each system simply isn’t feasible.
With i GET IT, there’s a course for every major system that can get users up to speed and get them working more efficiently. It’s available when users have spare time and works in either a structured or more ad-hoc manner.
The cost is low enough (starting at £50 per year), and this investment should be recouped quickly by helping users work more efficiently with their chosen CAD system.
Signing up for an account is free and you’ll get some example courses, including one on Autodesk Inventor Fusion (which itself is a giveaway for the time being). I’d recommend at least having a look and seeing what’s available.
It could be the best investment you make this year.
|Product||i GET IT|
|Company name||Tata Technologies|
|Price||from Â£50 per year|