Congratulations! You just got hired to create a great automotive eLearning project! Woohoo!
It’s just another training project, right? Nothing special or different about automotive.
Prior to becoming a voice talent, I worked at Ford Motor Company and its financial subsidiary Ford Credit for 30 years. I’ve taken lots of training of all different types. As a part of the IT department I developed training and information packets to go with system change roll outs. My final stint was at Ford Credit as an Instructional Designer for internal and dealer training. Automotive training covers a lot of ground, much more than you might think.
Before you jump into that project, here’s a few tips to help your eLearning race to the front of the pack.
1)Know your audience!
Automotive eLearning can be for customers, dealership personnel (sales, service, back office), vendors, suppliers, and various internal departments from the people on the assembly lines to upper management. These people do not look at the automotive industry from the same perspective and do not speak the same language.
2) Listen to the Legal team!
In my experience, Legal is an integral partner in developing certain types of training. Training about finance and for dealer folks that interact with customers are particular hot buttons. Doing exactly what Legal dictates with no variation is critical to avoiding lawsuits. Keeping that paper trail (okay, virtual paper trail!) of approvals can keep a class action lawsuit at bay. In vulnerable courses, even small changes need to be reviewed by legal to be on the safe side.
3) Test, test, test – then test again!
Nothing undermines the effectiveness of your training course that you spent months developing like something that doesn’t work. Or a misspelling. Or some other avoidable glitch. Regardless of who the audience is for a particular piece of training, make sure it works and looks the way it should. Have someone else in your group review it in detail. Have the customer review the training If any changes are made, retest any piece of the training that could possibly impact the changed portion. Then when no more changes are found, retest the whole thing. Yes, that’s a lot of testing! You do want people to believe the training, right? And you want the customers to continue to have you do the training development, right? Then it’s time well spent.
4) Pilot test with an actual audience member!
I can’t tell you how many arguments I’ve had with customers that think it’s okay if they do all the testing because that’s just the same as having someone that would really take the course test it, right? WRONG! Your customer, and you, are too close to the training and can easily over look issues with something you’ve seen over and over for weeks. Not only do you need a fresh perspective, but having someone who is in the target audience test the course and provide feedback is priceless. You may find that everything is fine. More likely, you’ll find places where your words just don’t make sense to the people that really need to know this stuff. If you can’t do a full blown pilot test, get one or two people from the target audience to test it. You’ll be glad you did!
The auto industry covers a wide array of skills and people. Given that, the big lesson here is never consider any automotive elearning to be ‘routine’ or do a ‘I’ll just copy last month’s and tweak it’ with little forethought.
Follow these tips to hit the bullseye with your customers and with your learners. After all, you want to create training they remember for good stuff, right?