SOLIDWORKS World is Just the Starting Line for Learning


If you’re investing in going to SOLIDWORKS World, you should be investing in an ongoing training solution, too.

Last month I flew to Dallas to attend my third SOLIDWORKS World (SWW). Every year I’m overcome with the energy and excitement at this event.

It costs roughly $600 per person to attend SWW and that doesn’t include travel, hotel, and food while you’re there. So, it’s expensive. But arguably, well worth it.

When I think about why so many people, almost 6,000 this year, spend the money to attend SWW every year, I know the answer is simple: they go to learn new things. This information makes my job really interesting. Full transparency: I’m in marketing, so I go to SWW to get leads for our sales team. While I’m there, I spend my time in the Partner Pavilion at our SolidProfessor booth and I talk to roughly 350 people over the course of the show. Of those 350 people, there are some who come to our booth solely for our beloved (and free) SolidProfessor t-shirts. But when I ask them about their ongoing training and learning needs, they balk at the idea. So my next question to them is: “Why are you at SOLIDWORKS World, then?” This question tends to lead to some blank stares and gradual steps backward. I don’t take this personally, though. In fact, I think people simply haven’t thought of attending the show in this way before and I’m happy to get them thinking along these lines.

To avoid a few more blank stares and mad dashes away, here’s why I think everyone who attends SWW should be investing in a continuous training solution, even if it’s not my favorite choice, SolidProfessor. 😉

  1. You’re only going to retain 10% of what you learned at SWW
  2. According to the forgetting curve, you’re going to retain less and less information over the course of your week at SOLIDWORKS World. By the end of the week, you’ll be lucky if you remember 10% of what you learned. Everything that you learn at SWW is important and valuable, so I’m encouraging you to get the most out of your investment. Make the effort to retain a higher percentage of what you learned there by reinforcing your learning post-show with ongoing training. If you need some tips on how to do that, this blog post outlines 4 easy steps.

    You’re only going to retain 10% of what you learned at SWW
  3. You’ll need answers to your follow-up questions after you’ve gone home and tried to apply what you’ve learned
  4. Although I am not an engineer and do not use SOLIDWORKS for my job, I’ve attended many other trade shows and conferences. I’ve come back to work afterward feeling invigorated and eager to implement the things I just learned. But in reality, here’s my typical experience:

    • 10 am: I try to do/implement a strategy or technique I just learned about at the conference. The strategy was something that had helped someone else tremendously, in the same way I need help. But I get stuck at one point or another.
    • 10:15 am: Now what? I have questions. Most presenters aren’t giving away their contact information and/or don’t have time to answer questions from the entire audience after the conference is over.
    • 10:20 am: I turn to Google. And I search and search and oftentimes get conflicting suggestions or can’t find exactly what I’m looking for.
    • 11 am: So I give up. I’ve already wasted an hour (+/-) and now I’m behind. I have goals and deadlines, so I decide to just do things the way I know how so I can complete my work.

    At this point, what good is everything I just learned by going to that expensive conference? If I’m not using it now, while I still have the high of all the excitement, when will I actually use what I learned?

    I still think what I did learn could be really helpful — if only I could get it right. This is where an on-demand training tool comes in. If you choose the right tool, it should be able to answer your questions quickly, help you solve your problems, and allow you to get back to work applying the new skill you learned. You don’t have to give up: get your question answered and actually successfully use the helpful tips from trade shows over and over again.

  5. You can share the wealth
  6. Now that you’ve had this personal epiphany and found much better ways to be successful in your role, don’t you want all your teammates to do the same? How impactful would it be if your whole team was also using your new trick? I’m sure it would be easier to hit your team goals, although you probably don’t have time to teach every single one of them. This is when it makes sense to invest in a tool that helps ensure all of you are using standardized best practices and that you have a place to get your questions answered.

    This depends on the size of your team and the company, but more often than not, allowing people access to self-serve information in real time saves the company time and therefore money. Not only will standardized training increase productivity and throughput and reduce errors, but you’ll get more out of your employees if they have an on-demand tool they can turn to.

  7. You shouldn’t be only motivated to learn once per year
  8. I’d be willing to bet that if SOLIDWORKS World happened quarterly, a good portion of those 6k attendees would attend every quarter. First, THAT’S EXPENSIVE! Second, if that’s the case, why are you only investing in learning once per year if there is clearly an ongoing need?

    There is no finish line when it comes to learning and SWW is just the starting line. You can’t max out intelligence, you can’t possibly know everything in any one subject, and there will always be different ways to think about things. So there can’t possibly be only one week per year that you dedicate to learning. If that’s all you do, you won’t be able to keep up with everything and everyone working alongside you.

Everyone who attends SOLIDWORKS World comes with the intention of learning something new. That’s an excellent first step. Evaluating the best ways to learn in order to get the most out of your training investment is an even better step. I challenge every SOLIDWORKS World attendee to do just that. You’re making a good investment by going to this conference. What can you do to ensure you get the highest possible return on that investment? I would advocate that you don’t let the learning stop there and take advantage of the momentum you already have coming off the show.

Sarah Schiro
About the Author

SolidProfessor Director of Marketing and San Diego's biggest Seahawks fan.