The rapid rate at which the automotive sector is changing requires that vehicle companies equip employees with new skills almost as soon as developments occur.
The transition to hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) in the face of overwhelming pressure to reduce carbon footprints has shaken up the industry, and those manufacturers failing to adapt quickly find themselves losing market share.
Studies show that skills like electromechanics and electric power systems are in high demand among auto firms seeking to gain the ascendancy in a world where fossil fuels are increasingly taboo.
But it is not only at the coalface of production that new skills are needed.
Selling the latest vehicles to consumers necessitates that everyone within the company understands both the mechanics and value of the product.
This not only requires training, but training that can keep up with shifting trends, particularly with new technologies playing a greater role in the sector.
It is one of the reasons that eLearning has become so popular among vehicle brands.
Nissan South Africa, for example, is using it to great effect to train its dealer staff.
Hulisani Mabote, the Learning Management System (LMS) Administrator at the Nissan Academy, explains that his team has been working closely with South African learning solutions provider New Leaf Technologies to gather available content to ensure product knowledge and processes are well outlined for all dealer staff within the network.
“The team builds storyboards and together with New Leaf Technologies develops exciting learning experiences by ensuring all content is well developed, objectives are achieved through the learning experience, and the learners are given a well-organised learning experience with interactive elements,” he says.
“The intention is to give one an enjoyable learning experience while providing meaningful content to produce the desired end result.”
Assessments are incorporated into the eLearning programme to ensure the content is being retained. This is followed by selling demonstration activities and one-hour tech torque sessions to further enhance knowledge retention.
Customers are also asked to rate their buying experience based on criteria learnt in the programme.
Mabote points out that the convenience of eLearning gives dealer staff the opportunity to go through the content at any time of day. By engaging with the content, either as new information or as a mental refresher, they can provide the correct information on products being offered.
“Accessing content anywhere, anytime ensures our clients get the best service at all times.”
There is also the added benefit of being able to distribute the learning material to dealers around the country without having to incur the costs of travel and accommodation every time staff need to be informed about a new development within the organisation or auto industry.
Considering Nissan SA’s broad target audience, Mabote says, the Academy needs to apply various methods to its training programmes to make the most impact.
“But, above all, we need to meet our objectives and, given the ever-changing auto environment, make sure that the learning experiences differ from those that went before.”
The value of this approach is that allows training facilitators to create, curate and deliver blended learning that adapts to each individual.
The “engagement” factor Mabote refers to comes in the form of interactive multimedia elements such as videos, quizzes and simulations.
It stands to reason the more engaged staff are, the more likely they are to retain the information to deliver exceptional customer service and create loyalty to the brand.