Learning BIM when over 30 “difficult, if not impossible, for most people”

A freelance BIM consultant based in the United Arab Emirates has claimed that BIM is as difficult to learn as a second language is to acquire for over-30s.

In an opinion piece on her DebunkTheBIM blog, Zolna Murray argues that advocates of BIM tend to turn a blind eye to the obstacles older generations encounter when trying to grapple with the technology. She says that those prepared to face up to the problem are in the minority, dwarfed by a much larger group who claim that success in learning BIM relies entirely on the person and not their age.


Counting herself out of that mode of thought, Murray states that BIM is “fundamentally” a language; and languages are “uneasy to learn past our twenties”.


“When I earnestly set out to learn the basics of Arabic a number of years ago and Cantonese last year I struggled majorly. What I memorised one day was forgotten the next, if not within minutes.”


Her father, she says, also had his own struggles learning other languages: “Well into his seventies yet bright as a button he enrolled into numerous English courses and gave up after about the third try. There was no lack of motivation or willpower. He just could not progress with it.”


Murray, who had stints as Head of Innovation at Gammon Construction Limited and Senior BIM Manager at Al Habtoor Leighton Group, concedes that there are exceptions. Languages has its polyglots and technology its technophiles, but “to start learning BIM from over 30 is difficult, if not impossible for most people”.


She points to what she sees as “the extremely sluggish development of the field of the last 2 decades” as exacerbating the problem.


Are you learning BIM in your post-20 years? If you are, we’d love to hear from you. Do your experiences chime with Murray’s views?