When it comes to learning geometric tolerancing, some people opt for buying a book to read, or nowadays they can sign up for an online self-study course. The advantages to this are twofold: the ability to study at your own pace, and it is usually less expensive for an individual than a full training seminar.
- Traditional training with an instructor in the same room is sometimes more expensive (not always, depending on the number of students) but the huge advantage here is the ability to ask questions and have the instructor relate the concepts to your specific needs. If people from different areas attend the class together (design, CMM inspection, manufacturing), then they can also learn from each other and be in sync when GD&T issues come up in the future.
- I have dabbled in online training in the past, but we have not pursued that option in depth because we have found that the best service to our clients is to work with them directly to help digest and retain the material. Numerous times people have told me, “I have tried learning about bonus tolerance in the past, but the way you explained it made sense instantly!” While teaching a GD&T concept, I can get feedback — someone asking a question, or just body language — that helps me see if a different way to illustrate something is needed. (For one client, I sometimes teach via television to several of their sites across North America. It’s still not as good as being in the same room; but at least they can ask questions via the audio hookup.)
- Finally, in addition to teaching the concepts of GD&T, I always leave time at the end of class (sometimes the entire last day of class) for hands-on discussion of a group’s drawings. This consultation session is usually very lively, and lets participants apply the theory to reality. This is something an online course cannot do.
So be sure to weigh the pros and cons when investigating training options. Online courses will work great for many people, but don’t forget the traditional live seminar, especially if a company wants to have several people learn GD&T.