Several people have asked me what books I would recommend for learning Fusion 360.
In short, I don’t recommend learning Fusion 360 through a book. I understand that there are many learning styles, and some people prefer reading. With that said, software tutorial books come with a slew of issues.
Learning with Books
In general, reading doesn’t provide the best learning experience. What we read is usually forgotten within a few hours. Think about the last book you read front to back. Do you only remember a few sentences or favorite quotes from the book?
In terms of learning science, books follow the transmissionism model. It’s the idea that facts are transmitted from author to reader without regard to the individual student.
Very few people retain book information long-term. Those who do self-reflect and have inner monologues. Comparing new ideas with existing ideas or considering points of conflict are just a few ways. If they’re taking notes, these types of people also synthesize and summarize the words of the book.
Problems with Software Books
Books teaching software become outdated very quickly. Fusion 360 offers a new software update each month. Sometimes there are multiple updates a month. Consequently, many books are outdated before they’re even published.
Another concern is the approach to tutorial books. Books are laid out with images separate from the text. You read one thing then have to search for the corresponding image (if there is one). Contrast this with a video where viewers can listen and watch at the same time.
Tutorial books frequently leave out instruction steps to reduce the number of pages needed. Worse yet, they don’t elaborate enough on key concepts. This can cause vital information to be left out.
Lastly, tutorial books often fail to repeat key concepts. They expect the learner to read it once and remember the information forever. This doesn’t match with the abundance of research on learning science, which proves repetition is one of the best ways to retain information.
Did you ever use flashcards to study for school?
Do NOT Buy These Books
Here are the books that I recommend you do not buy. These Fusion 360 books are all outdated. Don’t waste your time and money on them. I’ve had one too many people reach out to me complaining about the book or to ask me where something is now located in Fusion 360. Some were more confused than when they started.
- Autodesk Fusion 360 Black Book
- Autodesk Fusion 360: A Power Guide for Beginners and Intermediate Users
- Fusion 360 for Makers by Lydia Sloan Cline
- Parametric Modeling with Autodesk Fusion 360 (Spring 2019 Edition)
- Autodesk Fusion 360 Basics Tutorial by Tutorial Books
What Instead of Books?
On many accounts, video tutorials are much better for learning new software. However, I should be explicit, videos are not the end-all solution. Using a combination of video, reading, self-reflection (asking questions, synthesizing notes, etc), and most importantly practice (and more practice) will yield a much higher retention rate of the new knowledge.
If you’ve watched any of my tutorials (on YouTube or my courses) then you’ve probably noticed I repeat key steps and core concepts, use phonetics to spell out keyboard shortcuts and utilize several other learning “tricks” to help you retain information. Many of these learning tricks are built into my style of teaching. Thus, they’re “invisible” to the learner.
The majority of my videos are also project-based, which helps ensure there is a clear goal in mind. My courses are even broken into milestones, making it clear what core concept you’re learning.
Lastly, videos and online courses (with additional assets) can be updated on a regular basis. I’ve even had to update courses before they were released, due to major changes in Fusion 360’s interface. Being this agile is something that isn’t possible with Fusion 360 books.
Understanding the foundations of CAD and Fusion 360 will set you off on the right track. Start working through my checklist for Fusion 360 Beginners. I’ve developed the checklist to introduce you to just enough concepts that Beginners learn how to properly use Fusion 360, without getting into too much trouble.