The New Face of AEC Training

December 17, 2018

Once upon a time, Architecture, Engineering, & Construction firms invested heavily in training their staff on the expensive design and estimating systems that they purchased. They’d send key employees to travel for a week or two to exotic destinations (like Newark, NJ) to learn all that could be learned about their new software. That doesn’t happen much anymore, for three reasons:

  1. It’s crazy expensive! You not only pay for the class - the loss of production from your employees can cost you 10X as much as the price of the class.

  2. It doesn’t work. There’s only so much information that folks can hold onto from extended sessions like that. Most students are lucky to retain 20% of what they learn for more than a few days after long-term training.

  3. Software classes are usually focused on showing the “tools” available and tend to ignore real world processes. At the end of the day, most software companies want to impress you with all their functions . . . and convince you to buy more software.

Training staff is vital to the success of an AEC firm – you train ‘em, or you lose ‘em – and most owners/managers realize this. What’s the answer then? Well, I call it “Processed Based Training” or PBT. This methodology is still software-based – it has to be in this technology age – but it focuses on how to use the tech in day-to-day operations and processes instead of explaining all the possible tools in a given system. It’s the difference between teaching your kid what every part of an engine is and what every tool in your garage does, vs. showing him or her how to change the oil in their 1998 Honda Civic. While both are good bits of information, the real-world process has a definitive process and a measurable benefit.



Here at ZenTek, we use PBT whenever possible in classes like “Residential Site Design in Civil 3D” which is a series of four different courses focused on actually completing a site design from start to finish. We break our PBT courses into two-hour sessions, so students can easily retain what they learn, and we deliver it online so that they never have to leave their desk and can return to work, using their new skills, as soon as the class is over. We use this format for the construction world as well, with classes like “Real World Estimating with Bluebeam” to show students how to structure and complete actual projects, instead of just showing all the tools in a software system.


At the end of the day, Processed Based Training is rapidly becoming the new model for the design/build world. It’s effective, easy to access, and provides a measurable ROI for your staff. They’re not just learning how to use tools – they’re focusing on using the correct tools to accomplish specific tasks, and that correlates directly to increased profit for your company. If you’re still dealing with software resellers who only offer basic “system use” training, it’s time to start looking around for some serious PBT classes to help your staff. As long as you’re looking, why not talk to ZenTek? After all, we’re the kind folks who’ve started you thinking about PBT, and we have Process Based Training for just about any kind of AEC firm. And you can always check out  to see what classes we have on tap.


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