Volume 10, Issue 3 - May/June 2008

Trainer’s Corner
on-the-job tips

Training in the 21st Century 
by Dale Malcolm 

The old saying “when it rains, it pours” easily can be applied to the auto glass business. It always seems like when you need more employees, there is too much work to take the time to train new ones. When there is time to train, it is difficult to plan the training on short notice. When a vendor is scheduled for training, circumstances such as employee illness, vacations and last-minute work scheduling problems can make it difficult to take advantage of this resource. 

The widespread availability of high-speed Internet has made electronically delivered or self-directed training (SDT) a worthy alternative. One of the biggest advantages of SDT is that the shop owner/manager is able to make use of that rainy afternoon. A technician can spend an hour or two taking a course module on personal safety or the latest adhesive technology. 

Online Options
Recently several online training websites have become available to the auto glass replacement business. Before dipping into your training budget and signing up your employees for online training it is important you choose one that meets your specific needs. Here are a few points to consider.

Content:

  • Does the content of the course follow the current American National Standards Institute/Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (ANSI/AGRSS) installation standards?
  • Is it an AGRSS-registered training program?
  • Have you or someone qualified in your company taken one or more of the courses you are considering? Many times, content in a one size-fits-all training module may conflict with your company’s policies and procedures. It is recommended that before signing up multiple employees for a package of training modules that they all be reviewed.
  • How is the material presented? A simple text-based document can be printed and read offline. This type of content is best suited for highly motivated trainees. Material with lots of audio and video may be better for more passive trainees. This may require a broadband connection and computer able to handle that type of content. The best material available will be difficult to watch if the video is choppy or the audio is out of sync with the video.
  • What is the source of the content? The best content is material compiled from credible sources and references. You should be sure that the content being taught to your employees is more than one person’s opinion. A good training course will list reference sources for further reading by the trainee. Training material provided by suppliers and manufacturers also may be a good choice, as those vendors may have access to information not available otherwise. Make sure you check out the course to be sure you are not paying for an “infomercial” for that company’s products or services. 
  • Does the online course have any study guides or workbooks that accompany the course either included in the course cost or for additional expense? If this is not available, you may want to provide your employee with a notebook with as much technical literature and reference material as you have available.

Testing

  • Is there a final test for each module?
  • What information is available to you or your employees about incorrect answers and areas of the course that should be repeated?
  • What other information about the course is available? Items that might be useful to an owner or manager with multiple trainees might include the number of times a trainee accessed the system, time spent online and detailed test results.

Cost:

  • What cost savings are available when buying modules in groups or packages? 
  • Is there a discount for multiple employees?
  • How long does the trainee have to finish the course after you pay for the training? You wouldn’t want to buy a large number of training modules going into a busy season.

SDT can work best in preparation for future instructor led training (ILT). Pick modules or courses with the guidance of the instructor to give your trainees a common foundation for the upcoming training session. This allows the instructor to answer questions from the SDT material and move the entire class further in less time. 

Dale Malcolm is technical manager with Dow Automotive/Essex ARG in Dayton, Ohio. Mr. Malcolm’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.


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