Inside Autodesk Certified Instructor Training
I completed the Autodesk Certified Instructor program back in 2013. Before this program, I had my own method of teaching class. This method consisted of me, the instructor, leading the class in lessons. The students would follow along with me. Come to find out, this was all wrong.
Autodesk Certiﬁed Instructors are globally recognized as technical experts who have mastered the requirements to provide oﬃcial Autodesk training. By earning this credential, you join an exclusive network of instructors who stand out through the high-quality instruction and accreditation from Autodesk. Instructors in this prestigious community gain a competitive advantage through the additional industry training, knowledge of the latest trends, networking opportunities with industry professionals, and career development through the Autodesk Certiﬁed Instructor program.
This article will cover what the ACI program is, what is required, the method that was used to shape and mold the ACIs, and the effectiveness of the program within the Autodesk community.
What is the ACI Program?
The ACI program was designed to produce a group of highly qualiﬁed instructors who can train users and organizations to get the greatest return on their Autodesk software investment. The teacher training provides instructors with in-depth education principles for adult learners as well as practical applications including instruction technique, content organization, and adapting teaching style. Candidates receive comprehensive coaching, evaluation, and resources to ensure that they know how to successfully prepare their learners for the challenge of working in industry.
How Do I Become an ACI?
Among the qualification criteria is that you must be affiliated with an Autodesk Training Center (ATC). You must also be or pass the Professional Certification to the software you will be teaching. For example, if you are getting certified to teach Civil 3D, you must pass or be a Civil 3D Certified Professional. You must also have an instructor ID issued from an affiliated ATC or an Authorized Academic Partner (AAP). Lastly, you must have an Autodesk profile.
How Do I Maintain My ACI Status?
To maintain your ACI, the instructor must complete the below requirements annually:
- Complete 20 hours, minimum, of Autodesk product or workflow training;
- Teach a minimum of 40 hours on an Autodesk product;
- Complete at least 10 hours of continuing development training on improving instructional skills and/or teaching the future of design;
- Submit one article or a featured contribution to a published journal or Autodesk Knowledge Network (AKN), or a presentation at a professional or educational conference.
ACI Program Tiers
Instructors who choose to maintain their ACI credentials, will continuously receive a tier award, shown below.
3-year ACI maintained – Silver Tier
6-year ACI maintained – Gold Tier
9-year ACI maintained – Platinum Tier
How Should an ACI Teach a Class?
One of the first things that was covered in our training was to stay away from “buttonology.” The standard definition of buttonology is: the basic training required to start using a piece of software; what the components of the interface are, what they do, and how to accomplish basic tasks. This type of teaching does not encourage critical thinking. It is frequently focused on showing how to use the software rather than reflecting on a workflow or how to accomplish a certain task.
One of the most important aspects of the ACI training is the method used to deliver the material. The first portion of becoming a successful ACI is to create a PowerPoint presentation. The first slide should consist of the overall class name, with the instructor’s name and title. The next slide would be a brief background of the instructor and his or her credentials.
Next, the instructor will want to present some slides relative to the dataset that will be used to teach the class. For example, show a picture of the area, or the finished product(s). You will also want to explain the intent of this, and why.
The next slide should show the duration of the course and what will be covered during those days. A timeframe is a great way to get the students prepared for what they will be learning on a given day.
Once you have established this, you will want to show a course overview with bullet points of the class. The preferred method would be to have a PowerPoint per day. For example, if your class is a three-day class, then you will want to provide a PowerPoint presentation that includes the introduction, the class schedule for the day, and a class summary for the day. Keep in mind, the first day should have an extra slide showing the summary for the entire class.
These PowerPoints can be quite large because this isn’t the only material recommended to put in the slides. The next part of the ACI training procedure is how you deliver the content. First, you must have a slide explaining what you are about to cover. You can also use a whiteboard for drawing or writing while you are explaining.
Next, you will want to demo it. In other words, you will want to show the class how it is done, while they watch you do it. Lastly, you will bring up a slide with step-by-step instructions of what you just showed them. We instructors were provided with a list of action words that were to be used. Now the students will try to do what you just showed. This allows the instructor to be free while they are working on the exercise. The instructor can walk around the class and evaluate each student’s progress. This is also a chance for the instructor to engage and answer any questions the students may have.
It is also recommended that at the end of each exercise, you have a slide with questions about the exercise. This is to keep the student engaged and focused. Usually about five questions per exercise is sufficient.
On the last day, and end of the class, you should have a Q&A session. Let the students know that you can revisit any exercise they are unsure of. You will then need a slide with all the topics that were covered in a bullet point summary for the entire course. Finally, the last slide should have your company name, your email address, phone number and anything else you feel is important to let students know that you are available for them after the class.
There are several different methods in teaching. This method has been extremely successful for me in the past and continues to be. If you are eligible to become an ACI, I highly recommend it. You will receive a badge from Acclaim that you can showcase as you like. Ironically, the biggest inhibitor to putting a training program in place is the perception that it will take too much time. Keep in mind, there is no investment you can make that will do more to improve productivity for your students. Therefore, being too busy to train the correct way is the moral equivalent of being too hungry to eat. Furthermore, it's not that hard to create basic training courses.