NAPA continues to expand and grow its Autotech learning platform to deliver maximum results for technicians and service centres.
Alongside vehicles themselves, automotive technical training has continued to evolve.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 saw a major shift toward online learning and virtual sessions as much of the world—including Canada and the U.S.—took measures to try and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
At NAPA, this has resulted in some significant developments related to the NAPA Autotech technician and service centre training program.
Evolving and expanding
According to Chris Thorne, Manager for Automotive Service Provider Training, NAPA Canada, training offerings have continued to evolve and expand throughout the pandemic.
Thorne says that when the pandemic first hit back in March 2020, many service providers were challenged with new and unforeseen circumstances, such as lockdowns and workplace restrictions.
As a result, many were unable to focus on training in the same manner as before COVID-19. To keep ASPs engaged in training, NAPA began to offer virtual interactive training webinars instead of traditional in-class learning.
Thorne says that since these programs were introduced, they’ve proven very popular with NAPA’s service shop customers as attendees are not only able to save time when it comes to taking part in training, but the cost is significantly lower than typical in-class learning—plus recordings are available to allow technicians to revisit the sessions at any time.
While cost and convenience have proved to be significant benefits, Thorne is keen to stress the critical importance of having quality content.
“We have focused on delivering an engaging virtual training experience,” says Thorne, “and that starts with providing content that technicians and shop owners see value in.”
He explains that these sessions are designed to cover the necessary theory for a particular subject, but also “focus on specific vehicle diagnostic situations so that technicians can leave a session with real value to bring back to the shop that can be applied on the job.”
High levels of engagement
Besides the specific, relevant and practical subject matter, interactivity is also key to fostering high levels of engagement among attendees.
With that in mind, NAPA Autotech enables technicians to ask questions via a live chat feature or open their microphones during its virtual webinars.
Thorne explains that this chat feature on the virtual learning platform really encourages two-way communication and “has worked very well to keep our audiences engaged.”
Additionally, to ensure maximum value, NAPA has integrated video demonstration segments to provide technicians with a clear understanding of what’s involved, related to specific procedures, so they can learn more effectively.
Although virtual learning doesn’t substitute hands-on instruction, NAPA Autotech has gone to great lengths to ensure it can deliver the best possible online and virtual content within its training sessions.
NAPA’s content development team works very closely with their technical trainers to ensure audiences receive maximum dollar and educational value from each session, while NAPA regularly surveys technicians regarding training content that they would like to see, to as- sist with future program development.
“We want the content to cover the challenges that technicians are coming across in their bays today,” says Thorne, while at the same time, providing “diagnostic strategies, as well as encouraging technicians to embrace new technologies that are being incorporated on today’s vehicles.”