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Take an Online CAD Course with Global eTraining - or Develop Your Own

By Ralph Grabowski, May 6, 2014  

Global eTraining is an online training solutions center with courses for Autodesk certification, in addition to ones for Microsoft and other professional skills, and custom training development. The company is five years old, and is built on 25 years of experience in running Digital School, a computer-based training center and technical design college in Edmonton, Canada. It is an Autodesk Training Center, and resells its courses through 50 Autodesk resellers and VARS, as well as directly to professional users, AEC design firms, and educational institutions. The company recently marked the milestone of selling 100,000 seats.

Global eTraining CEO Susan Brattberg

CEO Susan Brattberg looked at what other training firms had done, mostly video tutorials or online PDFs, but decided that her company should make an online teaching system of its own. The idea was to replicate the classroom experience online, and so this meant keeping static material to a minimum. The result was a system that combines visual, aural, read-write, and kinaesthetic (tactile) elements for students see, hear, read-write, and perform actions (see figure 1).

Figure 1: Global eTraining's training system engages all areas of learning

The company takes a course, and then breaks it into bite-size pieces. Audio, video, and interactivity are added through clicking and hovering areas of the screen. Then the interface receives integrated message boards, contests, and other outside sources, like Wikis.

The Global eTraining (GeT) software supports a variety of quiz formats, and can determine when questions are answered wrong too often; this can mean questions were worded poorly, and so can be fixed. It tracks grades, quiz scores, and competencies, and it can be set up to pre-assign materials, deliver sessions, interact with lectures, and provide takeaways for after the class.

By engaging the human senses through audio, video, text, social, and testing, Global eTraining feels its interactive courses have a better rate of course-completion and knowledge-retention than other types of online learning. Recently, the Software and Information Industry Association presented the CODiE Award to the GeT system for Best Corporate Learning/Workforce Development Solution.

The Problem It Solves

BIM and other advanced systems are far ahead of where most CAD users are at today. I know from my experience in training that many CAD users tend to know just basic concepts. Online training would let them train when there are gaps in the workflow, or when they need to learn a new concept.

Training has gone to the Web for the same reason that businesses moved from in-person meetings to WebEx and GoToMeeting: to eliminate the cost and time of travel, and to fit meetings (or training) into an hour or so, a more convenient schedule than taking a one or more full days.

Scheduling classroom training for new and quickly growing companies is solved by going to the Web:

The result is that online training becomes more efficient as it reaches a broader audience than traditional classroom training. The cost is now a few hundred dollars per person, for what previously might have been worth $15,000. So how much does Global eTraining charge?

Global eTraining's system is like pyramid, with software basics as the foundation, upon which are perched professional upgrades, then the targeting of specific workflows, and finally custom development. The pricing begins at $299 for a single course. After this, the per-course price drops dramatically. For instance, an entire series is $499 and an entire Professional Library with thousands of hours of course content is $699. Volume discounts begin with five users from the same firm, and then grow to encompass more. The company works with multi-national AEC firms who train thousands of users across the globe (see figure 2).

Figure 2: Courses currently presented by Global eTraining

The Generator

Web-based training is no longer a novelty. The Generator, however, takes training to another level by giving subject-matter experts the ability to directly build their own interactive courses. The company says this system is far more efficient than online learning development has been historically. Before coming up with The Generator, Ms Brattberg was beginning to recognize that those traditional ways of providing distance training needed to change. It was taking too long to produce courses and it was difficult to update. And so her programmers came up with The Generator, an interactive system for creating training courses.

The Generator runs in HTML5-compatible Web browsers and enables subject-matter experts to work from anywhere, their content stored on the cloud. The user-friendly interface means that they don’t need to be experts in course development or programming, and can capture and share their knowledge simply and quickly (see figures 3 and 4).

The cloud-based platform also means that students can continue with courses sitting at a desktop computer, on an Android tablet, or with iPhone using just about any modern browser. (For iPhones and iPad, the company has iOS apps that run the courses.)

Figures 3 and 4: Courses created by The Generator shown in a Web browser

Using the Generator

Ms Brattberg spent a few minutes setting up for me a new course from scratch. She showed how all I needed to do to create a new course was to type, click, and drag -- no HTML or other program coding needed. Indeed, the company uses The Generator themselves to generate courses much faster.

Firms can customize it for countries, companies, and projects in three steps:

  1. Develop
  2. Publish
  3. Deliver

Naturally, companies can brand the portal after their own name. Courses are hosted on a Learning Management System, either your own the Global eTraining portal.


TenLinks: The courses listed are for AutoCAD, BIM, and Office. Will your courses go beyond AEC, such as into MCAD?
Susan Brattberg: We haven't had the time in the past, but now with The Generator we have the time to broaden our offerings.

TenLinks: How do you yourselves create new courses?
Susan Brattberg: We have our own in-house experts, but we are always looking for more subject-matter experts who can provide us with quality content.

TenLinks: How are the experts paid?
Susan Brattberg: If we hire them, then we pay them a fee for their service. If an expert would like to use The Generator for self-promotion, then we set up a revenue sharing system.

Additional Information

About the Author

ralph Ralph Grabowski, TenLinks senior editor, is one of the leading CAD journalists and authors, with over a 100 books and many hundreds of articles. His upFront.eZine may be the industry’s longest running newsletter. Ralph holds a civil engineering degree. More…

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