What Makes a Great Tutorial?
Are you familiar with Tutorials?
Tutorials are the best way for members of the GrabCAD Community to either answer another Community member’s question or to show off their own knowledge or expertise.
But what separates a great tutorial from just an average one on the GrabCAD Community or one that doesn’t even get noticed at all?
Good question! Here’s a handy How To list of what makes for a great tutorial, when you should post one and, of course, why.
Why Should You Post a Tutorial?
Tutorials can help you give back to the GrabCAD Community of almost 4 million professional engineers, designers, manufacturers, and STEM students.
Have you ever learned something through GrabCAD? Then, pay it forward and share those skills with others. Teaching others how to do something is a great way to brush up on your own skills or really fortify them in your mind. They are also a great way to draw attention to you and your work.
The Best Time to Post a Tutorial?
- After you learn a new skill.
- To build your engineering reputation.
- To connect with more members.
- Before you start a job search.
- After someone asks a question about your model.
What Type of Tutorial Should You Post?
Well, what are you good at?
Nobody is going to want to read a tutorial that doesn’t make any sense or doesn’t teach them a new skill. So, if you consider yourself an expert in a certain area of CAD design, mechanical engineering, simulation, manufacturing, or 3D printing, then you should share your knowledge of that skill or expertise with other members of the GrabCAD Community. After all, that's why we're all here.
For example, here is a tutorial courtesy of our friends at Stratasys that teaches you how to finish and paint an FDM 3D printed part, transforming the initial 3D print into a high quality, finished final part in just a few simple, easy-to-follow steps.
Where Should You Post a Tutorial?
What Makes a Great Title?
Quite simply, the better your title the more likely another member of the Community is to open and read your tutorial. If your tutorial teaches someone how to finish and paint FDM printed parts, then we suggest titling it exactly what it is teaching you how to do: How to Paint an FDM Printed Part.
Also, the more clear and explicit your title, the more likely someone is to find it on Google or another search engine. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what a search engine like Google takes into account when someone types in, for example, “how do I paint an FDM 3D printed part,” so it’s best to make your title similar to the words and phrases someone would use when searching online. It’s also worth keeping in mind that a lot of people are searching “how to…” find and learn things on the Internet.
Adding a description helps the viewer get a brief introduction as to what they are going to learn about in your tutorial. A good description can include anything from why you produced the tutorial in the first place to what benefits the viewer will get out of viewing your tutorial.
The Importance of Categories and Tags
Picking good categories and tags also helps us sort and place your tutorial amongst other like minded content. So, for example again, if your tutorial is teaching someone how to finish and paint your FDM printed parts, choosing “Fused Deposition Modeling” (FDM) under the categories and also tagging the words “FDM” and “painting” would help us better sort and categorize the tutorial on GrabCAD. Tags also help with SEO.
Having clearly outlined steps makes your tutorial clear, easy-to-follow, and avoids overwhelming the reader. Mix it up with words, pictures, and/or videos.
The two icons that appear in the black box in the picture below are what you would click on if you wanted to upload either a picture or a video. Once clicked, you will be able to choose the exact picture(s) or video(s) you’d like to upload.
Adding pictures provides a visual that ensures the viewer they are following the steps correctly. For example, the picture below, taken from the “How to Paint an FDM Printed Part” tutorial, shows the viewer how to correctly use wet/dry sandpaper.
You can also embed YouTube videos of your tutorial if that makes things simpler.
By adding a skill level – beginner, intermediate or expert – to your tutorial, you give your viewers a way to gauge how simple or advanced the topic of your tutorial is. This way they will be able to tell if they are getting in over their head or if it’s a skill that may be too simple for them.
Having a conclusion at the end of the tutorial you’ve just created helps summarize the work you’ve done and lets the reader know that they’ve come to the end.
How to Save and Publish Your Work
Hitting the “Publish” button saves your work and also posts your brand new tutorial to the GrabCAD Community for all to see, interact with, and learn from. Nice job!
You can also “Save” your tutorial in a draft that can be accessed from your profile in case you can’t finish it right now and need to get back to it later.
We’ve just shown and told you how to create a great tutorial that your fellow members of the GrabCAD Community will want to engage and interact with. Now why don’t you create your first one today!
About the author: (Dave Moran)
Dave is GrabCAD's Content Marketing Manager. He has more than 15 years of experience in writing, journalism, photographer, videography and digital media. His work has been featured in the Boston Globe, the Associated Press, the Hartford Courant, the Huffington Post, PEN New England, AOL.com, and much more.
All posts by Dave Moran