Want “Mad Skills” in your CAD software? Besides the many books and print-based websites available with information about AutoCAD, there are some that are moving toward interactivity and video learning. [full disclosure] I have been involved with one such publisher and wanted to share the resources I’ve found that will help you gain the competitive edge to get the job done faster. Sometimes, we simply don’t have the budget or time for instructor-led training. This is the next best thing.
Here are a couple of quality resources for learning Autodesk products:

This website: http://cadlearning.com/ offers online training at low cost. The format is narrated video lessons. Some of the content is free – even a couple of the lessons I have created for ADT 2006 are available as a free preview. You’ll need to create a login name before you can access the free content. Because the lessons are presented in flash, they stream very well, with minimal wait. Each section is $9.95. As an example, there are 13 sections for AutoCAD 2006. This delivery method is a great value as you can pick and choose what topics you wish to learn. You can even order these with higher audio quality CD or DVD and install locally or on the network for staff to learn or use as a helpdesk tool. 

Autodesk eLearning
If you happen to be on the Autodesk Subscription program, you have access to online learning created by professionals. These lessons are not comprehensive and only cover a small amount of features. They are, however very interactive. You will be able to track your progress, so you can return at any time if interrupted. You can even view them from a home internet connection since no special software is required. You’ll need to create a login first from the office, to establish your account. Visit: http://www.autodesk.com/subscribe or http://pointa.autodesk.com/local/enu/portal/signin.jsp?po=enu  From that point forward, you can quickly access the content through the AutoCAD menu (from the office). In AutoCAD 2006 or later, click on the Help menu, and choose eLearning Catalog. More? 

While no list of these resources could be exhaustive, here are a couple of others I’ve come across over the years. Feel free to share others in a comment.  

http://www.dgcad.com – These are very good learning lessons. Because they are free, they do not always cover the latest version of the software. The avi files download a little slower than other publishers content. They also offer newer versions for sale on DVD.
http://retrieve.com/ – What is a vBook? vBooks leverage the latest technology from RetrieveMedia to drastically revolutionize the way that you learn and get help on everything from computer applications, to cooking, to home improvements! vBooks are laid out similar to traditional books, with a table of contents and an alphabetized index, but since the vBooks are accessed online, they also are fully searchable. One of the newest features of vBooks is the vBook Library which allows you to search all of the vBooks you have purchased from a single search bar. The AutoCAD module has an introductory price of $75.


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