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Cath Everett

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Volvo drives forward with e-learning


A car manufacturer has abandoned third party face-to-face training in favour of tailored in-house classroom and e-learning programmes based on digital video content.

Volvo Cars is now incorporating video clips from 25 digital training films produced by Video Arts into its existing classroom and e-learning courses on topics ranging from customer service to communications and management in order to make them more engaging.
It is also providing its 5,500 staff at 123 dealerships in the UK and Ireland with access to either entire films or specific clips to refresh their memory on topics ranging from ‘running an appraisal’ to ‘dealing with a difficult customer’ from their computers at any time.
John Merrell, leadership and e-learning manager at Volvo Cars, indicated that the move was a “completely new departure” for the firm.
“We can now provide each person with effective content that meets their needs and we can follow this up by drip-feeding further content so they can build their knowledge base. Rather than simply providing a course, we’re now providing an ongoing process of continuous improvement,” he said.
Individual learning needs are assessed using the firm’s competence programme and after having undertaken training, each learner’s understanding is checked via one-to-one coaching sessions, which are undertaken on either a face-to-face basis or over the phone, he added.
One of the aims of the move is to foster a coaching culture within the organisation. The idea is that managers will be able to use either whole training videos or suitable clips in order to facilitate team coaching sessions aimed at addressing any areas of performance that need work.
There are several benefits to the new approach, Merrell said. On the one hand, Volvo has saved a “huge amount” of development time by being able to both create new ‘rapid content’ e-learning courses and enhance existing ones.
On the other, the content is more engaging and is considered a means of setting the company “apart from the competition”. “Learning used to be seen as a chore, but now people really enjoy it," Merrell said.


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