Featured Case Study

Introducing Blended Learning to Reduce Training Costs for an SUV Manufacturer in the United States

A manufacturer of sport utility vehicles in the U.S.

Business need
As a limited-volume producer of sport utility vehicles in the U.S., the client needed to stretch its available budget for training of dealership service technicians. Additionally, there was very little training available for other fixed operations personnel (service and parts managers, warranty administrators, service advisors). In 2001, RPS took on the assignment to assess the existing instructor-led training (ILT) for conversion to self-paced Web-based training (WBT) and highly participative hands-on training, and to create a standardized, challenging training curriculum for other fixed operations personnel.

How we helped
The client selected RPS because of its proven ability to develop and deliver quality training while reducing overall costs. RPS analyzed 30 existing ILT technical courses, and converted them to 35 WBT courses and nine hands-on courses. This training strategy provided considerably more information to the technicians while significantly reducing the amount of time they spent away from the dealerships to attend training centre classes. Since the beginning of the programme, RPS has also added a series of “TEKTips,” short video segments on timely topics accessible via the Web, and built a concentrated two-week ILT course specifically for the Puerto Rican market.

Additional contract add-ons included the development of a WBT curriculum for each of five different positions, with challenging end-of-programme online testing. To ensure the integrity of the test results, new exam questions are created each year.

Business results
In the six years since RPS has worked on the design and delivery of the client’s technical service training, the cost of having a technician complete each course has been reduced by more than 50 percent. This reduction does not include the savings realised by the client franchise dealers, who now have the benefit of increased technician productivity and reduced expenditures for travel.

A substantial contributing factor in lowering costs since the second contract was signed in 2006 was RPS’s effort to minimize expenditures for instructors and training facilities. First, RPS converted nine hands-on courses into Web-based simulations. Then, for the hands-on training that was important to continue, RPS negotiated an agreement with another client enabling the first client’s technicians to take needed training at the second client’s 36 regional and satellite facilities across the United States.

The quality of training is strong, as evidenced by the proportion of the client technicians who pass the certification testing offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), an independent body. When the programme had been in place for three years, the client technicians seeking first-time certification or recertification scored higher than the average for import-vehicle technicians; those who were tested in Advanced Engine Performance exceeded the average certification rate by more than 30 percent.