5 Questions before e-learning starts
5 Questions before e-learning starts:
This is based on a technical e-learning LMS for dealer service technicians in order to achieve a certain level of competency to enable them to effectively and efficiently diagnose and repair vehicles on a right first time fix bases.
I am also assuming a LMS will have to be implemented i.e. it is a Management request. So Management approval and budget will be placed more to the end then in the beginning. If the decision was more of a push then pull one it will have to be placed more in the beginning of the process.
- What are their and our needs?
• Identify the dealer needs, our needs and where the gaps are.
• Dealership needs must include/meet the regional/national head office’s dealer standards required of them. This can be discussed at dealer council meetings.
• Our needs must include/meet the national and international head office’s national standards required of us. This can be discussed via WebEx or international training meetings to benchmark various countries.
• Include technicians and workshop foremen or at least a few representatives of the technicians or workshops foreman’s, which are themselves a technician or a workshop foreman, in this needs analysis. Some Service managers are a bit out of touch with regards to what is technically needed on the workshop floor as they concentrate more on the administration side of the service dept.
• Include Service managers in this discussion and not only the Dealer principle or worse the Sales manager. Some dealers seem to send them on these “holidays”
- What challenges do we face addressing these needs and what solutions/tools/methods can we use to overcome them?
• Involve the same stake holder as above in discussions
• Once the majority have bought into the solutions head office must decide on the various tools/methods to implement them.
• If it’s possible keep current training processes/systems/personnel the same to keep implementation costs down, if cost was not the reason for the change in the first place.
• Select an interim head office manager or driver of this program.
• Select/appoint an interim dealer representative per dealer to drive this program at dealer level, preferably the Service manager.
- How do we measure success or results to confirm the solutions/tools/methods and level of competency was achieved or exceeded?
• Seeing that it was driven from head office in the first place they will play a bigger role here. So they need to train the dealer representative to also be able to quickly compile a record/spreadsheet for their own dealership meetings as a management tool for the Service department.
• Setup tools and measurements that directly reflect the technician’s knowledge. This easy to do with e-learning assuming that it was actually done by the person and not a stand-in just to get it out of the way). More importantly his/her new skills has to be measured. This is difficult to do with just e-learning that is why we need blended learning in our industry. Also put systems in place that monitor their change in behaviour towards the newly learned knowledge and skills. This is close to impossible with e-learning and has to be done at a later stage via other KPI’s or personnel at dealer level.
• Non training managers like to measure the effect/outcome of technical training, in most cases, and unfortunately, by using the KPI of Right First Time Fix. That is influenced, to a great extent, by external factors not linked to training directly. So that must not be the only or main measurement.
• If Right first Time Fix is a problem the technical support/helpdesk/hotline and/or parts distribution and/or the dealer operations and/or the technician can be a cause. Rule them out first before condemning the training department as a failure.
• If problems are identified a predefined solution must be at hand to minimise or stop it from occurring again.
- What budget is required and is management buy-in at head office and dealer level guaranteed?
• Get the finance/purchasing/sales department involved in this step as you now have a defined requirement for them and management to present to possible suppliers, if a new or changed LMS is the answer.
• Using current training processes/systems/personnel will decrease implementation time and lower the budget required, if anyone of them was not the major cause in the first place.
• Implement a feedback process to all stake holders involved so they stay informed and they are kept in the loop.
• Buy in must not stop with the approval to go ahead with implementation, there must be a continuous buying in attitude towards this program.
• Make the system management friendly with regards to statistics, you don’t want people to copy and paste and waste time just to get a report out of the LMS. If possible it should be done with one click once in the LMS.
- How do we implement a pilot program/feasibility study/experimental trial with all the parties involved?
• Pilot programs are not an excuse to test the system in full. All possible concerns and problems must have been anticipated, discussed and solved at this point in time. A pilot program is used to show up any unforeseen concern and problems.
• When possible, select the most enthusiastic dealers to try it out. The pilot sample needs to consist of dealers of various sizes, locations and a mix of the best and worst dealers.
• Keep all relevant parties informed timeously about concerns and problems to keep the buy in momentum. Transparency is needed here to prevent rumours of failure but rather solutions.
• There should be a dedicated and well trained head office person available that can assist with any dealer queries. Field Service Engineers / Regional Technical managers / Regional Business managers should have been involved from the beginning and also trained up to a great extent to assist with any dealer concerns during this phase. Needless to say they should reflect a positive attitude towards the implementation.
• Review any concerns and problem that cannot be resolved immediately and communicate solution dates and actions to all involved. If it does not work it does not work. Combine this training with other solutions then or find another solution.