Record sales for Kia Motors UK have been a regular occurrence throughout the last 5 years, so it comes as no surprise that there has been a need for some drastic changes within the company, namely the L&D department, in order to keep up with the changing pace of sales, market share and the company’s ever-improving brand reputation.
Just 6 years ago Kia Motors UK had two separate processes for delivering their classroom and eLearning courses. Classroom-based courses were organised and booked via telephone, email and fax. The training administrators were required to complete forms and other paperwork and a significant amount of time was spent organising the facilities, resources and materials for each course. Communicating with the learners regarding their preparation and attendance for the event also involved administrators sending emails manually.
eLearning courses and assessments were available but they could not produce reports or enable managers to track employees’ development, attendance or performance. With ambitious sales growth planned for the UK market, Kia realised it was time to introduce new procedures into the Academy which would be much more time and cost-effective, as well as a user-friendly and better-organised process for both administrators and learners.
Three companies were shortlisted by Kia UK. Digits was one of the three because they had been highly recommended by existing clients and Kia liked the fact they offered the opportunity to create a bespoke LMS tailored from an extensive selection of features, including course building, event administration and integrated accommodation booking.
Digits was eventually selected as Kia Motors UK’S LMS provider on these bases in addition to the cost, support and bespoke service offered throughout and beyond the installation and implementation of the LMS.
The LMS has significantly improved Kia’s training process. Many more courses can now be added much more efficiently, with reports on completion and results easily accessible for managers and administrators. Resources can be booked recurrently in just a few clicks, employees can be informed about courses via email and SMS and training opportunities can be extended through blended learning.
In 2008, 1767 delegate days of classroom training were recorded and the forecast for this year is more than 5000 delegate days. This has been achieved without increasing the admin resources at all, and could only have been achieved by having an effective online system where dealers are able to view available courses, make bookings, see their development plans and track progression.
After 4 years in partnership with Digits, Kia decided the next stage of improvements to their training process would be to integrate a digital workbook into to their current LMS to replace the printed workbooks they had always used. Kia Academy Manager, Ian Goswell, conducted extensive research into the market for their perfect workbook solution, which included a visit to Learning Technologies 2012, to see what was on offer. After giving many potential suppliers his brief, Ian pitched the vision to Digits and discovered that they were able to interpret and deliver a proposal that exceeded Kia’s expectations. The workbook would be tailored to their requirements and designed for use with PCs, tablets and smart phones.
The workbook is set up on tablets which are readily available to each individual delegate in their classroom training sessions. The pages of the workbook resemble those which would have originally been printed and handed to the learner, although the information is much more visually engaging. There is a text box to type up notes on the page and all this data is stored on the user’s personal development plan within the LMS which can be easily accessed on a PC, tablet or smart phone whenever it is needed for reference.
Benefits of the digital workbook include:
Reducing costs: The e-Workbook significantly reduces printing costs over time; the investment in tablets and initial development of the workbook are one-off costs whereas the printing of workbooks never ends. Kia UK expects to recover its initial investment within just 6 months, although it is important to remember it is not the budget but the delegate experience that is the key driver in the workbook development.
Environmental Impact: The environmental impact of the production, packaging and transportation of the workbooks and folders is also reduced; this includes the many books that get lost and replaced over time which will no longer be a problem when the data is stored digitally. Kia UK has estimated a 25% reduction in expenditure on printed material when e-workbooks are being used for all non-technical courses.
Updates: The workbooks are able to be kept up to date with relevant information when needed; any data can be updated centrally at any time, even after the course has been completed, whilst retaining any personal notes and history of activity. Again, there is no need to continually print updated versions of the workbook or have staff referring to out-dated information every time something changes.
Easy access: Personalised workbooks are always accessible on Kia Academy online and can be accessed on mobile devices for quick reference in the workplace. The workbook keeps all information and notes in organised folders so it is more efficient than getting the employee to look through pages of a printed workbook to find what they need.
Familiarising delegates with customers: Using tablets in the classroom enables delegates to become familiar with the technology that customers are using as part of the car buying process. Ian Goswell explains, “Kia delegates are getting a much better understanding of the customers’ experience as they are encouraged to “play” with the tablets and browse Kia’s and competitors’ websites before the course and during breaks in order to see the sites through customers’ eyes.” More and more customers are using mobile devices to browse the internet and download product e-brochures, which are increasingly being used to replace traditional hard-copy brochures. Kia UK’s Dealer Development Director, was aware of the increase in popularity of digital technology and was very keen to embrace digital technology into the company’s training provision.
Now that the idea for the creation of a workbook in electronic format has been achieved, the teams at Kia Academy and Digits are busy looking into the next version of the training process. The first stop on the roadmap is to make the workbook much more interactive by including drag and drop functionality and video content; the aim is to produce a hybrid between eLearning and a workbook. Statistically, learners only retain 5% of what they are taught from a lecture, but up to 90% by practicing the information they have just learnt, so an increase in workbook interaction will be extremely beneficial to the learners and the company.
Kia Motors UK are also keen to roll the digital workbook across all courses and departments as soon as possible, and continue to produce innovative concepts to improve their delegates’ learning experience.
Another improvement will be to make classes downloadable onto the tablets to reduce any impact of an unreliable internet connection. Kia and Digits continuously work together to create innovative ideas and solutions to improve Kia Academy’s training procedure and enhance Digits’ products.
Kia UK now has a strong learning platform and integrated workbook which works to keep employees enthusiastic and engaged in their learning experiences. Training using the latest technology and giving learners the opportunity to take control of their own development enhances innovative skills and ideas which are fundamental to Kia UK’s success as the company’s market share continues to grow.