So, what are we doing?
When we looked at our mission in the internet-based learning business we had to face a series of questions:
To whom will we be providing our learning products?
How will we be able to reach the student base?
How will we measure our ability to provide learning to the student base?
What will be the learning objectives for each of our programs?
How important will our learning business become to the employers?
These questions, and many more, caused us some serious reflection time.
We had come from a classroom setting with Quest, Learning Centers. We offered traditional training in two, and three day, programs. We were focused on the management and supervision at equipment dealerships. We had started providing this training in the early 1990’s when most of the OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers) stopped providing their dealers with their own management training classes. They stopped providing this training due to costs. We decided we enter this market and satisfy what was still an important need; training managers and supervisors in parts and service to improve their performance for them personally and for their dealerships.
We created a lot of content. Each of our classes covered 15 hours in the classroom and we provided a “text” book each of which were approximately 250 pages. We had nine such text books and offered nine different classes. In the more than twenty years that we did the classroom training we covered North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Russia and the Middle East. We had several thousand people taking classes.
Then dealer needs for training evolved. There were different vehicles that management wanted to try to reduce the costs of training. Along came the webinar. As a teacher I wasn’t very excited about teaching online via a power point with me talking to a group of people who were looking at my screen and hearing my voice. I had no idea if they were “getting it” or perhaps they were doing other things at the same time. However, one of the things it did do is that if forced us to develop products that had a shorter duration. We developed webinars that were designed for 45 to 60 minutes in length.
At last we arrive at the place where we were confronting what the future of learning was going to look like. I wasn’t that interested in travelling all over the world to teach in classrooms and webinars didn’t strike as a good vehicle from which to teach people.
• We chose the internet as the delivery system.
• We chose slide shows, audio tracks and film clips as the vehicle.
• We chose pre-tests, final assessments, and opinion surveys as measurement.
• We chose “badges” as our “certification measurement tool.”
The goal was to keep the cost down and employee learning time investment at the lowest level possible. Then, based on customer input, we determined that the learning programs should be job function related not management and supervision related.
We have plans to be offering 117 two-hour Learning On Demand (LOD) classes, then there are 25 job function programs we call Planning Specific Program (PSP) classes. Each of these programs covers four two-hour classes, and we also have leadership classes we call Planned Learning Programs (PLP). Each of these programs covers ten two-hour classes. We will introduce our Virtual Classroom (VCR) programs in 2019. These classes are for fast track employees and consist of five classes requiring ten hours of learning.
We are redesigning the LOD’s to break the two-hour class into three sections, each section will be about 30 minutes ending with an essay question. We are introducing this in 2019 with our third-year programs, The Final Staging, within the PLP’s then we will redo each of the programs for the Building Blocks and finally The Framework.
We have also changed our reporting to the clients. Each month we send out a progress report to each dealer showing each student and four or five steps or progress. Program Progress, Pretest Results, Final Assessments, Surveys, and Certificates. This allows the students and their employer to track the progress of the individual learning path. We are sincerely interested in providing each student with an employee development program.
We are finalizing our badge structure which we will introduce to you in a later blog.
The Time is Now.