Thursday, August 6, 2015

Learning to Use GoldSim

Posted by Rick Kossik

I am often asked what is the best way to learn GoldSim. Although GoldSim’s intuitive interface will tempt you to simply dive in and start playing with the software, you are strongly discouraged from doing so, even if you are an experienced modeler.  Spending an hour or so up front (by following a few basic steps) is the quickest and most effective way to understand the software’s features and capabilities and start building models in GoldSim. This blog provides some simple tips.

The quickest way to learn  GoldSim is to attend one of our training courses. The majority of our training is in the form of customized three or four day on-site training workshops. We can come to a location of your choosing and deliver a training workshop customized for the needs of your users. We also occassionally offer "open" training sessions at one location (once such course will be offered in September just prior to our User Conference).

Of course, for many people, attending such a course may not be an option (and, in fact, the overwhelming majority of our users have never attended a training course). However, to support those users who are interested in taking a full "hands-on" GoldSim course, but for financial or other practical reasons cannot do so, we are in the process of replicating the entire GoldSim training course into an online format.  We have been working on this for several months (creating such an online course is hard work!), and hope to complete it by the end of the year. The course will include many exercises and examples, and will be linked throughout to a web-based version of the Help system, so you can immediately dive into  detailed reference documentation to explore any topic in more detail. When this course is taught in person, it typically requires two or three full days.  However, as on online course, you will be able to move through it at your own pace (and the site will remember where you last left off), so you may take considerably longer to complete the course, or may complete it faster.  While most software vendors charge for such online courses, we think this is ridiculous. The GoldSim course will be free. We'll keep you posted when the online course is available.

In the meantime, there are still many ways for you to learn GoldSim on your own, without taking such a course.  These are the steps I recommend:

  1. Take the GoldSim Tutorial.  The GoldSim Tutorial  is available via the Tutorial button on the Start dialog (displayed whenever GoldSim is run), or by selecting Help | Tutorial from the main GoldSim menu.  The GoldSim Tutorial presents the basic concepts on which GoldSim is based and provides an overview of GoldSim’s key features and capabilities.  After taking the Tutorial  (which takes about 2 hours), you will have sufficient understanding to start using the software, and will get more out of the information presented in the Help topics.
  2. Request your free one hour web-based training session. When you purchase GoldSim, you are entitled to a free one hour, live web-based training session in which one of our analysts provides an interactive training session via the Internet and telephone.  You are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this free training.
  3. Read “Building a Model in GoldSim”.  This section of GoldSim Help (equivalent to Chapter 3 of the GoldSim User’s Guide) describes the GoldSim user interface and presents all of the basic techniques required to build a model. Reading it will reinforce the concepts that were introduced in the Tutorial and provide you with the procedural knowledge required to navigate the interface and utilize GoldSim's basic features.
  4. Open and explore the Example Files. When you install GoldSim, a folder labeled "General Examples" is installed in the same directory as the program. (You can quickly access these files by selecting File|Open Example… from the main GoldSim menu). This directory contains example model files showing how to use each of the elements (the examples are referenced in the Help system and User’s Guide where the element is introduced). These example model files are an excellent way to begin to experiment with GoldSim. While exploring the files, use GoldSim’s context-sensitive Help (i.e., the Help button in each dialog) to access a detailed discussion of the element.
  5. Download Example Files from the Model Library.  The GoldSim website contains a Model Library with a number of models illustrating how GoldSim can be used for particular applications.  These models tend to be more complex than the simple example files found in the General Examples folder, but still relatively simple. Again, while exploring the files, use GoldSim’s context-sensitive Help (i.e., the Help button in each dialog) to learn more about particular elements or features utilized in the model.
  6. Browse the User’s Guide or Help System.  GoldSim has a large number of features, and you will not discover all of them by experimenting with simple example models.  To fully utilize GoldSim’s powerful features, browse through the User’s Guide (available as a PDF file from the Start menu), using the index and table of contents as your guide.  Each section of the User’s Guide is heavily cross-referenced, so it is easy to just jump around.  Note that the Help system contains all of the contents of the User’s Guide, with the exception of the technical appendices.
Of course, we always encourage you to contact us with questions, so do not hesitate to do so! 

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