You may already know about the Onshape Learning Center being honored with a “Best Customer Training Program” award from the Brandon Hall Group. If you haven’t heard the news, let me humbly share some of the background.

Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Excellence in Learning Awards recognize organizations that have successfully deployed programs, strategies, modalities, processes, systems and tools that achieved significant and measurable results. This year’s customer education winners include Deloitte, Bank of America, Lockheed Martin, Royal Dutch Shell, PepsiCo, Bridgestone, BASF, Boston Scientific, Red Hat, Medtronic, and Dell Technologies. A complete list of the 2019 “Excellence in Learning” awards is available here.

The Onshape Learning Center provides product development teams with live instructor-led training classes, self-paced online courses, high-level technical briefings and instructional videos about best practices in CAD and data management. It also educates customers about Onshape’s unique approach to release management, direct editing, configurations, sheet metal, and in-context design, that they won’t find in any other product development platform

Screenshot of the Bronze seal for Onshape's

Onshape and Thought Industries were honored for our user-friendly online Learning Center, which allows Onshape users to learn new skills at their own pace.

I’m particularly proud of this award, which we won along with our LMS platform partner, Thought Industries, because I co-founded the Onshape Learning Center back in 2017 with my former colleague Noa Flaherty. The Bronze medal recognizes Onshape for rapidly scaling our customer training program from “dozens to thousands.”

As Onshape’s Training Manager, I am the primary instructor for the ongoing Onshape Bootcamp – 10-hours of live instruction spread over four online sessions – and our other Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) classes. I love running the live classes because I always enjoy engaging with my fellow engineers. I’m pumped to share what I find most exciting about Onshape and I like learning a little about some of the products that our customers are creating everyday.

Even though experienced CAD users will notice many similarities between using Onshape and their previous systems, there are some remarkable differences that help product development teams streamline their processes. Release Management is one of those things, and in a broader sense, it’s important to note that Onshape is a data management system with advanced CAD tools – and not the other way around. Most CAD platforms treat data management as an afterthought, a very pricey afterthought when you’re dealing with PDM systems. Also, there’s understanding the unique Onshape Document structure, a container that stores parts, assemblies, drawings, PDFs, and images/videos in one central place. Getting used to our innovative approach to Mate Connectors can take a little education to appreciate as well.

I especially enjoy sharing these differentiators with SOLIDWORKS users, because I am a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert, and spent several years as a Senior Application Engineer Instructor at one of the largest SOLIDWORKS resellers in the United States. It’s energizing to see former SW users go through the same transformation I did – a few of my Onshape trainees are people I actually taught SOLIDWORKS to years ago!

Nothing can replace the power of live training, but the Learning Center’s self-paced courses were created to give additional resources to people with busy schedules, and give more options for people who prefer to learn by watching videos and reading transcripts. There are many different learning styles, and we try to accommodate as many as we can.

Receiving an award for our scaling efforts might be nice to hang on the wall and post on LinkedIn, but the most important validation is to hear what our customers think about Onshape’s training materials.

Why Onshape Customers Value the Learning Center

Onshape customer Premier Custom-Built is a high-end residential cabinetry and millwork manufacturing company that is based in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania – the heart of Amish Country, where furniture craftsmanship is legendary. The company has enjoyed recent success with using Onshape’s open-source programming language, FeatureScript, to create industry-specific custom features that eliminate repetitive tasks.

Photo of the interior of a yacht with a wine cabinet designed by Onshape customer Premier Custom-Built.

Premier Custom-Built’s projects range from furnishing yachts to luxury homes. The Pennsylvania company trains its product development team in the Onshape Learning Center. (Photo courtesy of Premier Custom-Built Cabinetry)

“The short and the sweet of it is that the Onshape Learning Center was integral for me to learn CAD,” says Premier software engineer Chad Stoltzfus, who now helps create custom Onshape features. “I previously had no CAD experience and would have struggled much more without it.”

“The Onshape Learning Center is probably the most useful self-paced learning tool I have ever used,” adds Premier development engineer Jason Newswanger. “I appreciate the detailed videos, taking the material from the very beginning steps of navigating Onshape’s Document structure all the way through to advanced models, assemblies and drawings.”


Carbon uses the Onshape Learning Center for training its application engineers to help their 3D-printer customers create innovative product designs. (Photo courtesy of Carbon)

Carbon, the world’s leading digital manufacturing company, develops advanced 3D-printing technology that is impacting a wide range of industries. Its printers are being used to manufacture parts for Ford (the F-150 pickup, Mustang and Focus), football helmet liners for Riddell, and even FDA-approved dental materials for dental and orthodontic labs.

Carbon uses the Onshape Learning Center for training its application engineers to help customers create innovative product designs.

“I believe there are a lot of advantages to self-paced learning and learning by doing,” says Beth Bernhardt, Manager of Curriculum Development at Carbon. “I appreciate the Onshape Learning Center’s straight-forward and video-based approach. The courses are extremely easy to follow.”

“I also was so impressed by how Onshape’s training was set up that we decided to use the same LMS tool at Carbon,” she adds. “The Thought Industries platform interface is very professional, providing custom branding and other tools that make it an ideal corporate learning and training platform.”

Announcing 4 New Learning Center Courses

Screenshot of the menu of courses available in the online Onshape Learning Center.

The latest new self-paced courses in the online Onshape Learning Center are aimed at CAD beginners.

We’re pleased to announce a brand new Learning Pathway, “Introduction to CAD,” that is geared to new 3D parametric feature-based CAD users. The Pathway, which is ideal for students or professionals switching over from 2D CAD, includes four courses:

  • Introduction to Parametric Feature-Based CAD – Covers how to develop spatial reasoning skills, understanding parametric workflows, utilizing feature-based design, and an overview of Onshape Documents and the main interface.
  • Introduction to Part Design – Explores how to create parts with sketches and features using the parametric history or the Feature list in an Onshape Part Studio.
  • Introduction to Assembly Design – Learn how to create an Assembly composed of instances defined with motion. Covers inserting and positioning parts into an Assembly, Onshape mating techniques with Mate connectors, and how to define a product structure.
  • Introduction to 2D Drawings – Learn how to create a detailed drawing for parts and assemblies, including view creation and annotations, inserting Bill of Materials and Callouts, and updating a drawing.

The new offerings also include 31 new videos, 9 new hands-on exercises, and 10 new quizzes. Needless to say, our Learning Center team has been busy! This new Learning Pathway is particularly meaningful to me because we strive to make Onshape welcoming to experienced CAD users and beginners alike.

What’s Coming Next?

With the booming popularity of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from sites like (now LinkedIn Learning), Khan Academy and edX, it’s not surprising that Onshape customers are embracing the format as well.

We’re closely listening to what matters most to you and prioritize new content based on your needs.

In addition to the beginner “Introduction to CAD” courses we just released, our team is currently developing new advanced courses on advanced part modeling and surfacing techniques. As Onshape grows along with our customers, the Onshape Learning Center will continue to evolve and grow, too.

I personally would love to know what you think of the Learning Center’s current offerings and what you’d like to see in the future. Please share your candid feedback with me at training(at)onshape(dot)com.