Digital Builder Ep 39: Why On-Site & Online Training are Better Together

Training is often one of the most complex and, sadly, often unappreciated programs that organizations provide for their employees–but it doesn’t have to be!

In this episode recorded live at the Autodesk Gallery, Jessica Pollack, Senior Manager of eLearning & Digital Services at Autodesk, shares her expertise in delivering digital learning experiences. Learn about how e-learning training programs provide more personalized opportunities for employees to develop new skills and consume information at their own pace from wherever they are.

Watch the episode now

You can also listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and anywhere else you get your podcasts.

The evolution of trainings in construction

If you've been in the construction industry for a while, then you know that trainings in the past primarily involved in-person sessions that lasted hours, often spread out over multiple long days. As Jessica points out, "trainings used to consist of everyone coming from different job sites, and getting together in the main office in-person. Then they would go off to different job sites and help out others on those sites."

But these practices have shifted dramatically because of improvements in digital technology and, in part, due to COVID-19.

"When the pandemic hit, everyone was grounded from traveling. Our careers totally shifted, and we needed to be really creative with learning. That started out with us doing the one-on-one remote trainings, but there was this need for more digital on-demand, self-paced learning," recalls Jessica.

This paved the way for the development of the Autodesk Construction Cloud Learning Center, which gives users access to on-demand courses, live training, and certificates that can be added to your LinkedIn profile.

The benefits of online training 

What are the benefits of online training? For starters, you don't have to bring everyone in the same room to impart knowledge. The "remote" component of digital training allows people to learn and upskill, no matter where they are. 

Online training also enables you to support different learning preferences and languages. 

"It is such a huge benefit to people with different learning styles because, for example, some folks need closed captions. We can also reach more people with different languages through e-learning—being able to just get that refresher really quick or rewinding a video to go back to that one thing you needed to learn," says Jessica. 

With e-learning, each team member can consume content at their own pace and view materials on demand–ultimately helping them effectively find and retain the necessary information. 

Balancing in-person vs. digital training

The matter of where and how to conduct trainings shouldn't be an all-or-nothing battle between offline vs. online learning. Jessica says the key is striking a balance between the two channels. 

Some situations would benefit more from remote training, while in-person is a better option for other circumstances. 

"If you're having some new hires start at your company and you need them to get onboarded quickly, e-learning is the way to go. It's just quick and easy and accessible. But that definitely doesn't replace the on-site training if you want that deeper implementation specific to your company's workflows."

Which training formats are most effective?

Training sessions come in various forms and sizes—so which one should companies use?

Answer: it's all a balance. You'll want a healthy mix of on-site and online training. 

On the digital side, try to use different formats to keep people engaged. Quick videos work well, says Jessica, though you'll also want to add interactive activities, such as knowledge checks and tutorials.

"There are so many options out there, so many tools within e-learning.”

The Autodesk Construction Cloud Learning Center

As we're knee-deep in the topic of e-learning, let’s dive deeper into the Autodesk Construction Cloud Learning Center, our in-house platform for upskilling users on Autodesk Construction Cloud. 

The initiative was launched during the pandemic and since then, the volume of training materials has grown significantly. 

"In the past couple of years, we've created hundreds of videos to get people started on our products," remarks Jessica. "It's all about the on-demand, self-paced learning people have been looking for.   

She continues, "All of our learning paths are currently organized by product. We have a lot of exciting things coming this year, but this allows people to jump right in. You get a product, and you can go right to the Learning Center and learn it from start to finish."

Most of the content is bite-sized (one to three minutes), but you can also go through entire courses. 

"When you complete an entire course, you can get certificates of completion to put on LinkedIn. There are a lot of benefits to going through these full courses.”  

New podcast episode every week

Digital Builder is hosted by me, Eric Thomas. Remember, new episodes of Digital Builder go live every two weeks.

It's always worth noting that in construction, the learning doesn't stop. So, dive into the full episode to hear more from Jessica and discover what we're doing at Autodesk to help construction pros level up.  

Listen to the Digital Builder Podcast on:

Eric Thomas

Eric is a Sr. Multimedia Content Marketing Manager at Autodesk and hosts the Digital Builder podcast. He has worked in the construction industry for over a decade at top ENR General Contractors and AEC technology companies. Eric has worked for Autodesk for nearly 5 years and joined the company via the PlanGrid acquisition. He has held numerous marketing roles at Autodesk including managing global industry research projects and other content marketing programs. Today Eric focuses on multimedia programs with an emphasis on video.