Con Job: 3 Ways Product Manufacturers Get Burned from AIA Courses

Posted On: 
Feb 26, 2018
Con Job: 3 Ways Product Manufacturers Get Burned from AIA Courses

Building product manufacturers can benefit greatly from AIA continuing education. However, there are several ways in which product manufacturers can get burned. We’ll discuss three main ways product manufacturers can be taken for a ride for continuing education.

AIA Course Delivery Format

One of the biggest mistakes a building product manufacturer can make is selecting the wrong delivery format. If your online AIA education course is a PDF, you’re in trouble. Repeat: if you’re using a PDF as your primary online course format, you’re losing considerable ROI. You’d get a better return playing roulette in Las Vegas.


In a previous blog, we discussed why a PDF format can have a significant effect on whether the course succeeds or fails. The PDF was developed over 20 years ago to share documents. Using a PDF or Microsoft Word Document as your primary delivery format for AIA continuing education offers poor ROI. PDF education courses perform poorly compared to other modern delivery formats such as narrated PowerPoint courses, video courses, and Prezi presentations.

PDF courses deliver the weakest course participation rates for product manufacturers. Powerpoint courses and video case studies outperform PDF courses significantly. The virus, named OUTLOOK.PDFWorm, uses Microsoft Outlook to send itself as an attachment to an Adobe PDF file. Can you imagine your specification opportunities if an architect’s computer was infected by a virus from your PDF course?

Would you rather read a 60 page PDF with mountains of text, few photos, and as exciting as watching paint dry? Or would you rather view a 1 hour video with interviews, building tours, animation, and music? PDF courses are going the way of the dinosaur. Don’t invest in PDF courses or you’ll get burned.

AIA Continuing Education Provider Platform

You can have the greatest course in the world but unless you have the proper distribution channel, it’s going to bomb and not deliver the results you wanted. I’ve worked with product manufacturers that dropped $20,000 to develop a great CE course and then selected the wrong distribution channel and the course failed.

There’s only 4 AIA Education Providers in North America that have over 100,000+ subscribers., GreenCE, Hanley Wood, and AEC Daily. For your course to succeed it needs to be on one of these platforms. However, each platform is radically different. AEC Daily delivers courses in the PDF format. See above! Hanley Wood uses a combo of delivery formats but mainly utilizes the magazine article approach. If you’re on a platform with less than 100,000 subscribers, you’re getting burned.

Multi-disciplinary Team

It’s crucial that you have a team composed of many different disciplines. The team that develops your course should be well versed in construction and design, building materials, LEED, building strong education courses, and ultimately be great story tellers. Your one hour AIA course is a narrative, with a beginning, a middle and an end. Every segment must be strong, engaging, and promote your building product in the best possible way.

If your building product is sustainable, then what LEED credits does it contribute to? The team that builds out your course needs to be able to intelligently craft a CE course that discusses LEED v4, Health Product Declarations (HPDs), 3 part CSI guide specs, and other crucial technical details.

A specifier will not complete an AIA online course if the presentation has misspelled words, crappy graphics, and lacks a strong narrative. Designers have multiple opportunities to obtain their AIA courses and LEED education. If an architect stumbles through the first five minutes of your course due to poorly written slides, a voice over that sounds like it was recorded in a tornado, and bad stock images, then you got burned.

Overall, it is crucial that building product manufacturers obtain the highest ROI. Avoiding the PDF format, selecting a platform with 100,000+ subscribers, and hiring a multi-disciplinary team are three ways to avoid getting burned. How does your company maximize ROI for online AIA continuing education?

For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank