Learn SOLIDWORKS in 5 Minutes!, Ultimate SOLIDWORKS Tutorial for Absolute Beginners, SOLIDWORKS Tutorial #80 – Simple and Effective. These are just a few of the titles of thousands of YouTube SOLIDWORKS tutorials. Nowadays, there is so much information available to us on the Internet and thousands of hours of videos about SOLIDWORKS specifically, but how helpful are they really? How do they compare with an officially licensed SOLIDWORKS training course? How do you choose the right video? In this blog article, we talk about self-learning on YouTube for free versus attending a live SOLIDWORKS training class.
Let’s take a step back. By now we are all familiar with the ubiquity of YouTube. I’ve personally used it as an impromptu instructor on several accounts, trying my hand at everything from basic car maintenance (successful), making homemade heart-shaped lava cakes (huge disaster) and even for SOLIDWORKS help. YouTube, and other online video hosts are great for finding a quick piece of advice in a jam. In fact, TriMech adds tips and tricks videos to our YouTube channel weekly to help the SOLIDWORKS community. But can this learning format compete with genuine SOLIDWORKS training? What are the pros and cons?
I often find that when I'm learning software, I focus on finding the answer to the specific question of issues I'm using the software to solve. After all, that’s why I’m on YouTube or in a training class, to begin with, right? Whenever I use YouTube as an educational resource, the first hurdle I find is, "How do I know this is the right video?" It may seem like a trivial question, but it is arguably the most important one. SOLIDWORKS has a LOT of features and applications, so what are the chances that the first video on the first page of your search results, with a four-minute run time, is the answer to your specific question? I’d wager not very likely.
Benefits Of Live Training
That brings me to the first main benefit of a live training course, an instructor. Having an instructor that you can interact with and who works through examples is invaluable! Think of the last time you had to learn something crucial to your everyday life – driving, cooking, writing a report, etc. Did you pick it up in one go? Of course not. You had plenty of questions, structured over a period. That is the mark of a good education. A class sparks new questions and the answers to those questions uncover more, and the cycle continues. SOLIDWORKS live training courses offer not only plenty of time to explore the software but more than enough time to fully develop specific, complex questions on a software most engineers use daily. In fact, TriMech uses a structure of three plus two days (three days on week one and two days on week two) specifically so students can return for the final session with industry or job-specific questions for their instructors.
This is the main area where YouTube and any other online video host fall short. I’ll take a decent amount of time to find the right video that may answer a specific question, but how long until I find the video that is able to quell my follow-up question? Or the question after that? Maybe such a video doesn’t exist, or it is in a foreign language or (as I have found many CAD videos to be) completely silent!
There is a chance, however, that I have a bias. It is true, I am an instructor for TriMech SOLIDWORKS classes in a very large metro area. But this also means I know quite a few people that have taken actual courses and can lend some perspective. I phoned a few former students and asked them if they had ever used any sort of online tutorial, and if they could speak about the differences between the two. I specified I’m not looking for any praise one way or another, just wanted to understand the experience a bit more. This is what they had to say.
- In the beginning, I watched a few YouTube tutorials. When I took an AutoCAD class, the teacher was in the front of the class, and everything they did, we followed. The SOLIDWORKS class was more exercise-driven and way more involved than the AutoCAD or the YouTube class.
- I use the tips and tricks from the TriMech training class in my modeling all the time. I always reference the textbook and the tools you offered. The benefit of a class is that if it’s something you don’t really understand, you can always ask the instructor. Specific questions are hard to find when working on the internet. You can always post and hope it’s answered but you need to get lucky. In my industry, I don’t have time to wait for an answer.
- Lately, I’ve been modeling 3D more than anything. YouTube is extremely helpful, especially because everything is on YouTube. However, it’s like any resource, you must pick and choose what you’re talking about. If you had your own channel, I know I would watch it.
YouTube and other pre-recorded online tutorials are great as supplemental knowledge. Looking to challenge yourself? Lookup a video, work through a complex shape and have it guide you through the process. Stuck in a rut and in need of a quick tip? Aside from calling our dedicated technical support line, I’m sure you can spend some time finding a video that will supplement you in a pinch. But this online content is no match for a live instructor, available for questions and comments as you begin your long and rewarding journey with the best 3D CAD available.
If you’re considering CAD training and are not sure if it’s worth your time or investment, click on the button below to watch our On-Demand Webinar, Cost of Not Training: Leveraging Your CAD Software