Based on my recent unscientific research, SolidWorks seems like it is an easy application to learn. In one poll, I asked for preference of educational choices for new employees not familiar with SolidWorks. A second poll asked how current users actually learned SolidWorks. The results are a little surprizing.
Of the respondents to the first poll, just slightly over 50% said they would teach SolidWorks to new employees on the job by mentoring them. Just under 50% said they would send their employee to VAR classes.
In the second poll, the overwhelming majority stated that they are self-taught in the use of SolidWorks. Some questions comes to mind. If SolidWorks is so easy to learn, do the VAR classes serve any purpose? Or, is it that the VAR classes are so ineffective that one is forced to learn on their own?
My own experience in sending new employees to VAR taught introductory SolidWorks classes have yielded mixed results. They do not seem effective in many cases. In fact, the VAR classes actually seem to be turning off some individuals to the use of SolidWorks. It may be that there is just too much information crammed into the short 3 to 5 day courses.
SolidWorks is easy enough to learn without classes. Classes should simply be used to provide a head start. Instead, in some cases they seem to have the opposite effect. Maybe the classes need to be broken down a bit. Perhaps the introductory class can take a slower pace and focus on core skills over the 3 days. Then, more complex skills can be taught in an intermediate class over another 3 days. (The current advanced classes offered by VARs would likely remain the same.)