Asking Google

I’d like to bring up the importance of being able to do a simple Google query (aka Asking Google) and how it affects our learning patterns. When people talk about BIM software and its adoption in companies all over the world one of the things that gets mentioned the most is its “steep learning curve”. I would partially agree with that especially if we talk about AEC professionals that spent 1-2 decades operating CAD – the transition from 2D CAD to BIM software is a significant “paradigm shift” and requires people to leave their comfort zone and adjust to a different way of working. But the difficulty of transition has been discussed numerous times all over the place, instead what I really wanted to talk about is one aspect about software learning process that often goes unnoticed and as a result makes this infamous “learning curve” even steeper.

So, when we learn we have to ask questions, the question is who to ask and how that might affect our learning. Imagine an AEC office environment in a process of adoption of a new software. When questions arise what do we usually do? Majority of us would pick (what I consider) a passive approach to turn around and ask a colleague. But is this at all a good solution? Yes, you might be able to get the answer in seconds, but from my experience this information “won’t stick” and you will have to ask the same question over again very soon. This is were the difference between passive learning and research – it is in the amount of effort. Things that come easy usually don’t stick around for too long. The other alternative is to put some effort in getting the answer which is to do research.

Now, you cannot really afford go to a library and spend hours or days looking for an answer – there has to be time balance. So what are your options? Use your favorite search engine of course! It is surprising how we often neglect valuable resources that are at our fingertips. The reality is that when you put an effort in digging out an important piece of information two valuable things will happen to you:
– it will stick! Once you figure out a solution on your own – you will not forget it!
– you will learn other things along the way, while researching for solution!
Looking up things in your favorite search engine works great because of the balance between the time you spend “digging out” the solution is relatively low but you still put certain effort in research that will make this newly acquired knowledge stick with you forever.

If you are a part of an Architectural or Engineering firm and your firm implements / in process of implementing BIM you most likely have you so called “BIM champions” – the people that ended up learning the software and the process much faster than others. Those are the people that others usually go to with most of the software-related questions. Well, how do you think these people learned the software so darn fast??? I have a guess – they had nobody to turn around to and ask questions and they had to put effort to find answers to these questions. They had to research on their own to keep learning the software.

There is an enormous amount of knowledge available to you at your fingertip. Millions of people have been stuffing internet with information that is just a one or two Google queries away.
You have a choice of being passive about your learning or you can take matters into your own hands.
Google is your grandfather’s library just on steroids!

Before asking your colleague Ask Google First!

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