Perform better geotechnical numerical analysis

The first course in the COGAN (Competency in Geotechnical Analysis) e-learning series
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 (496 ratings)
10,150 students
English [Auto]
Define the aims of a geotechnical numerical model
Develop the geometry of an analysis model and apply appropriate simplifications
Set up appropriate initial states and construction stages
Select appropriate models and parameters to simulate ground behaviour
Select appropriate groundwater and drainage conditions
Judge whether analysis outputs are reasonably accurate
Select appropriate elements and material models for structures


  • You need to have a good background knowledge of soi and/or rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering.


This course teaches you the decision-making process when setting up a geotechnical numerical model as well as how to add structural elements in soil-structure interaction problems appropriately. It is the first software-neutral e-learning course in this field and is aimed at novice users of the software in both academia and industry.

The first section contains 13 lectures structured in the normal sequence of setting up a geotechnical numerical model, from planning the analysis to reporting the results at the end. The first six lectures focus on setting up the model geometry including rationalising the geometry, the 2D plane strain and axisymmetric assumptions, boundary conditions and mesh generation. This is followed by a self-test quiz with feedback provided on your answers. Another seven lectures then follow covering the input parameters that need to be provided including constitutive model selection and setting up the initial state and subsequent construction stages. We end with the important stages of validating the analysis results and presenting the input and output data in a report. These lectures are also followed by a self-test quiz.

The second section contains five lectures on modelling structural elements, including the different element types and modelling concrete and steel materials. There is also a worked example on deriving input parameters and interpreting output for structural elements in plane strain and axisymmetric models.

All the lectures use videos with 3D graphics and a commentary by our tutor to illustrate many of the complex geometrical concepts that are explained in this course in an engaging way.

On completing this course you will be able to prepare geotechnical numerical analyses more confidently, avoiding many of the common errors of novice users. You will gain valuable skills in geotechnical numerical analysis – a method whose use in geotechnical design is growing rapidly.

Who this course is for:

  • This is a practical, introductory course to geotechnical numerical analysis intended for new and inexperienced users of such software both in industry and in academic study.
  • This course is not likely to be suitable for experienced users of geotechnical numerical analysis, nor for other fields of numerical analysis.

Course content

2 sections • 18 lectures • 2h 8m total length
  • Analysis Planning
  • Geometry simplification
  • Plane Strain and Axisymmetric Assumptions
  • Locating Boundaries
  • Fixities and Axes of Symmetry
  • Elements and Meshing
  • Half-Time Quiz
    10 questions
  • Constitutive Model Selection
  • Initial Stress
  • Construction Methods
  • Analysis Options
  • Analysis Methods
  • Validation
  • Reporting
  • Full-Time Quiz
    10 questions


(Competency in Geotechnical Analysis)
  • 4.6 Instructor Rating
  • 496 Reviews
  • 10,150 Students
  • 1 Course

The main aim of this project which is funded by the European Union's Lifelong Learning Programe and by the project partners is to improve competency in geotechnical numerical analysis.

This will be achieved through two main deliverables:

The COGAN Competency Tracker which is an online database of around 500 competency statements describing what you need to know to perform geotechnical numerical analysis. This software will provide links to learning resources to help you gain competences and will also allow you to record achievement of competences.

Two E-Learning Modules on the Udemy platform for work-based learning, to achieve in depth the learning outcomes in the two key areas of setting up a geotechnical numerical model and using structural elements.

The course tutor is the coordinator of the COGAN Project, Dr Andrew Lees. He is Director of the geotechnical analysis consultancy Geofem Ltd and Assistant Professor of geotechnical engineering at Frederick Univeristy in Cyprus. He has extensive experience of both the application and teaching of geotechnical numerical analysis.