No, that’s not a bait-and-switch headline; it’s 100% USDA, Organic, Grass-Fed Truth – we received a 2015 Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence in Learning Award!
In case you’re not familiar with them, the Brandon Hall Group is the leading independent research and analyst organization focused on human capital management (HCM) practices, and they’ve been doing it for over 20 years now.
On September 11th, 2015, Brandon Hall Group executives announced the winners of its coveted 2015 Excellence Awards during an online event. Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards were given in six divisions and more than 70 categories, and the winners included companies and organizations from throughout the world in almost every major industry. The entries were evaluated by a panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts, Brandon Hall Group Senior Analysts and Executive Leadership based on the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, innovation, and overall measurable benefits.
We were humbled, amazed, honored, and happy to hear our name announced for the work we did with Ally Auto in Detroit, MI. The award, you ask? Oh, yeah – “what did we win?!” The course was Ally Automotive – F&I History, and it received the Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence in Learning Bronze Award for Best Use of Games and Simulation in Learning.
When Ally originally approached us, they had a set of nine or so courses that were the bedrock of an online Dealer Services training program. Once the first set of courses were done, they brought us a few more, including a course about the general history of the Finance & Insurance process and, in particular, at Ally (formerly GMAC). The special request for this one was basically “go crazy – spare not the awesomesauce.”
And that’s exactly what instructional designer Deb Bowden and myself did. From the beginning of the ID and storyboard stage, we disregarded “what was possible” in the tool of choice (Lectora Inspire) and instead designed what we envisioned as the ideal history course—a Back to the Future-style time-travel immersion scenario, reinforced by knowledge checks that were full-blown games. Once the storyboard was approved by the client, the project landed on my plate for development. Graphics and staging were tweaked, music selected, narration recorded, games created (most built entirely from scratch just for this course), and—finally—the course was built. It was probably the most fun I’ve had as a developer to date, being thrown a course and told there was no limit; if we could imagine it, we could do it. As a result, it turned out absolutely awesome and exactly as requested.
It helped to have such a responsive, involved client, too. eLearning Brothers Project Manager Bruce Adams said, “It was so much fun to work on and see how the content came to life as we collaborated with the client. The excitement and laughs we had as we reviewed the module together was wonderful.”
The course serves as an introduction to the history of F&I at automotive dealerships that utilize Ally Auto financing products, giving them a good background and understanding of how the products have evolved over the last few decades. It also provides a historical context for the rest of the training program we developed for Ally Auto.
The course starts with a cinematic sequence: title screen, moving graphics, and driving (no pun intended) orchestral action music. Then, the learner picks their time-machine (car) and outfits the interior with some accessories. Finally, the learner is explained the time travel scenario. He or she will visit each decade, from the 60’s to the future. In each, there’s a Ken Burns-style narrated photo montage with period-themed music that teaches the learner about F&I in that decade. That’s when the bad news hits—the time machine’s power is sapped! But it’s ok. By playing a period-inspired game based on that decade’s F&I history and getting correct answers, you earn power to make another time jump. Get enough correct answers, fill your “F&I Capacitor,” and jump to the next decade! When you’ve visited all the decades, you return home and you’re done.
How does this translate into the dealership floor as a training asset? Very well, actually. It’s a lot of fun, which certainly doesn’t hurt, and it’s fairly quick—around 30 minutes seat time. Plus, you can leave and come back at any time, so it’s easy to keep doing your job while you’re training. And we’ve heard from the client that the learners actually enjoy taking the course AND tend to perform better after completing the curriculum—increases in F&I product sales, better overall performance, and reduced training time are all being noticed.
We’re so happy to have received this award, have a great partnership with the Lectora Team at Trivantis, and have a fantastic client in Ally Auto! Congrats all around!