There are four primary learning styles: visual, auditory, read-write, and kinesthetic. A visual learner typically is a fast-talker who likes to interrupt and needs to see things visually – or hears things that brings up a visual image. An example of this would be a Sales Manager, who learns best by watching a tutorial that shows him how to change the selling price and see the new payment amount. The video must do this quickly to keep this person’s attention span.
When I was a controller, we had a DMS system that had lessons for each user’s level of security with a quiz at the end. The lesson was a page of written instructions and required a passing score on the quiz to enable the user’s password. We had a Sales Manager that could not pass the quizzes. I would ask the DMS provider to reset his password until it came to a point when they refused to do that reset anymore. The dealer agreed and said he had to pass the quizzes. Since I knew that he had a great command of the DMS system and was a talented manager, I would go in on Sunday morning, read the lesson and relate it to things he knew how to do. We’d do his quizzes together.
An auditory learner speaks slowly and likes to have things explained to them. They are great listeners and think linearly; step 1, then step 2, and step 3. Your service advisors and technicians might be auditory learners. They do well by watching a tutorial as long as it goes step by step and talks about each step as it happens. The read-write learner is typically a parts manager or controller. They want a copy of the manual to study and figure things out themselves. If they do watch a tutorial, it needs to have pop-up messages and callouts that explain things. The kinesthetic learner wants hands-on and learns by trying and doing. They are the slowest talkers, slow to make a decision, and use all their senses in learning. This is most common in our analytical controllers, office managers, and the accounting staff.
Since many learners are a combination of two or more of the styles; the best technology training has all four training methods; live instructors, video tutorials, manuals, and hands-on test cases. Which is best for your dealership when you are in the situation of having to adopt new technology? Ideally it would be all four. For example, if one service advisor is a visual learner and another is read-write, then one would need to have tutorials to watch and the other would prefer that you provide a manual to take home and read later. The key is to find out what type of training is provided during your installation and afterwards. One particular DMS provider brings an installation team to the dealership during installation and has an online learning portal where users can take classes and another site where users can access documentation. Another DMS provider on the market integrates their learning into the product and users can click on help while in an app screen and watch a tutorial or read the manual without a separate login. During onsite installation, they perform test cases with the users to make sure the DMS is setup correctly and lets the users learn by trying.
What do you do if your staff refuses to learn the new technology? This is a difficult issue because in our industry we have highly productive employees that rarely have the time for training. One of the worse installs that I analyzed for a DMS company required that the advisors come in Sunday afternoon to take classroom training at the dealership. Nobody showed up. Another bad install required that the parts department come back after dinner at 7:00 pm to learn how to enter parts on repair orders. Again, disastrous results when they didn’t show up and the next day the service department couldn’t close any repair orders. Your best results come when you have a training plan and can monitor online the progress of each user’s training. If you run into some problems, you can head off the issues before you end up being a bad install.
Author: Sandi Jerome
Sandi Jerome is the owner of Sandi Jerome Computer Consulting. Sandi founded DealerStar, a web-based DMS. She is a former CFO, System Administrator, Fixed Operations Manager, and Controller with over 30 years experience in the auto industry.