Social Media: An Effective Web-Based CAD Training Tool

Richard Cozzens


In 2008, I presented a paper at ETHICOMP titled “Feasibility of Web-Based Training.” The paper was based on research I conducted as the CATIA V5 Workbook * (Cozzens 2000) was first published and released. Data collection continued as I developed a web-based training site CATIA V5 in 2003 **. Until about 2006, the number of customers purchasing the book and using the web-based training increased. Throughout the world over 150 colleges and universities utilized the book for their CAD (Computer Aided Design) course curriculum. The web-based training site had about 1,500 users. The research conducted indicated that web-based CAD training was a feasible method of training given the training had the right components.

In 2010, I presented a paper at ETHICOMP titled “Quality Web-Based CAD Training.” The paper was a continuation of the 2008 paper. In the paper, I reviewed the history of the development of the market for CAD web-based training, discussed the market decline, and finally looked at the continuing need and benefit for this specific type of quality web-based training. In the paper, it was mentioned that web-based CAD training would never completely replace face-to-face training. With advanced web-based curriculum and technology, it had become a viable substitute for traditional training.

It is clear that technology is changing the way web-based training in general is managed and accessed. An example, a recent article in Time Magazine (2010) Philip Rosedale stated “Anything that can be made and recorded becomes essentially free.” Anita Hamilton in another Time Magazine article stated, “What’s certain is that the $4 billion college text book market is ripe for a digital makeover.” The market is changing and will continue to change.

Interestingly, I attended a conference recently “Solid Works World 2011” in San Antonio, Texas.”*** A conference like this usually has at least four to five web-based CAD training vendors. This year there was only one web-based CAD training vendor “SolidProfessor.” There are two main reasons for this decline in market share. The first is a mature and shrinking market. The second reason is what I refer to as the phenomena of CAD training using social media platforms such YouTube, podcasting, and blogs. Training on YouTube is essentially free and the quality is getting better as the content grows. Web-based CAD training is also being accepted as a viable method of training. At the “SolidWorks World 2011” conference, I had the opportunity to attend several training sessions. In those training sessions, references to YouTube Channels, podcasts, and blogs were listed as external references and/or additional training for the specific SolidWorks tool being presented in the session. January 2011, I attended a UACTE (Utah Association for Career and Technical Education) Conference. At this conference, the training for all the state CAD instructors included how to access and use free web-based training material. All the instructors were eager to view and sample the training. Most of the instructors were eager to implement the training into their class rooms.

Keeping this in mind, in this paper I describe changes implemented in my web-based CAD training used at a university level for students. I have also implemented these changes into the training outside of the university such as the SolidWorks training I conducted at ITSON (Insituto technologico De Sonora) in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico last May. I am implementing these changes into my YouTube and eLearning (blackboard) accounts as well. This paper takes into account the results of the on-going research and also current trends in CAD training market. During this training, students have access to social media platforms such as YouTube which includes tools and techniques (see figure below for details). During the semester, students will be interviewed and will also be requested to give a feedback on the usefulness of this training. This paper uses Double Loop Learning by Aygris to best describe the different phases of this on-going research. This will help to provide an insight into web-based training in general by reevaluating the underlying assumptions (as stated in the theory) from the results of the on-going research in web based CAD training.
The contribution of this paper is to better understand the effectiveness and feasibility of web-based CAD training using various social media platforms such as YouTube, podcasting, and blogs.


Cozzens, R. “Effectiveness of Web-based Training.” Proceedings of ETHICOMP 2008, Pavia Matua, Italy.

Cozzens, R. “Quality Web-Based CAD Training.” Proceedings of ETHICOMP 2010, Tarragona, Spain.

Rosedale, P., “The Future of Content,” Time Magazine, November 11, 2010.

Hamilton, A., “Global Business,” Time Magazine, November 11, 2010.

Batista, Ed, 2006. “Double-Loop Learning and Executive Coaching” online at, accessed 01.23.2011.