Constructing BIM Education in the 21st Century
by Frank Paul Gennaccaro
There appears to be an inverse relationship between the economy and education. When the economy is performing well, people feel less inclined and have less time to become better educated. But during times of economic turmoil and recessions, history shows us that the pursuit of higher learning just might be the best way to escape from problems spawned from a sour economy–such as unemployment.
Architecture and construction are only two of many industries being hit hard by the current economic downturn. A recent report from the Commerce Department pointed out that in December new-home construction was at its lowest level since such record keeping began in 1959. And to make matters worse, economists predict that this struggle will continue into the coming months.
As we continue to be bombarded by more bleak forecasts and with no idea of when we’ll hit bottom, one of the best ways to compete in today’s marketplace is to learn more. A building information modeling (BIM) expert and the founder of ARCHVISTA, Inc. and LearnVirtual™, Thomas Simmons, says that “after spending more than two decades in the business, it’s become clear to me that people tend to brush up on their skills during periods of stunted economic growth. This is when people find it necessary to become more competitive via increased knowledge and proficiency.”
A Paradigm Shift
After the onset of the information age, a paradigm shift occurred when people started to figure out how best to harness the power of computers and the Internet in order to do things faster and better. And in 1982, as many new technologies were being introduced to the public at a feverish pace, the discipline of Architecture also benefited significantly when a premier architectural design tool, ArchiCAD, began to be developed. Shortly thereafter, people began to move away from traditional 2D design and closer towards 3D CAD/BIM. Then in 2006 LearnVirtual entered into the pioneering space of “virtual classrooms” and began offering a different type of BIM education at precisely the moment when BIM usage was exploding.
A paradigm shift in BIM education is now underway.
With instruction focused on ArchiCAD, Artlantis, Photoshop, Google and other BIM and design technologies, LearnVirtual not only uniquely satisfied a need that had been present in the virtual building industry for quite some time but also reversed the commonly held belief that training for BIM is an expensive prospect.
Gone are the days when you must take expensive classes that take you away from the office to learn about BIM technologies. Now you can learn right from your desk when it is most convenient for you. This approach mirrors other virtual events happening across the Internet as companies respond to leaner times and shrinking budgets. Moreover, virtual events are greener enabling participants from around the United States and every corner of the world to meet and learn all in cyberspace.
Flexibility for Challenging Times
A key feature of LearnVirtual membership is access to the eClass archives. This is where the flexibility of the program becomes obvious as you can learn at your own pace via over 100 archived classes available 24 hours a day seven days a week for members. LearnVirtual student Maroon Tabbal of SynCAD Architects in Santa Monica, California and Kinvara, Galway, Ireland states that “the instructions are searchable, precise and very timely. To be able to participate live, or playback at your own convenience a specific segment on a tool or a technique is of great benefit.” So if you’re up at 3:00 AM and you can’t sleep because you don’t understand Geometric Description Language (GDL), don’t worry, LearnVirtual has it covered for you.
With obvious cost and schedule flexibility benefits inherent in this new shift in education, and with difficult times facing us all, the number of totally “online schools” continues to rise. Within this context LearnVirtual is a key leader in virtual BIM education focused on Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD solution. If you want to make the most out of your BIM technology and gain a leg up on your competition, or just seek refuge as you ride out the economic storm, consider investing in yourself through learning and updating yourself with a top-flight BIM education. It will be a lifeline to winning new business and enabling your success.