Driving affordable and effective training in the motor industry.


The automotive sector is an expensive business. The process from concept and design to production and distribution is not a cheap one, and vehicle manufacturers are faced with the additional challenge of having to balance these costs with what consumers can afford. Accordingly, auto companies spend hundreds of hours looking at ways to provide essential features and remove unnecessary components to deliver a product that won’t break the bank. By pursuing a strategy of frugal engineering, they can effectively reduce costs.

Vehicle manufacturers are also increasingly turning to technology to help save money. The use of artificial intelligence systems, for example, is already noted for bringing down costs while also increasing production output. That is not to say humans are falling by the wayside. Quite the contrary, in fact.

With the industry undergoing such dramatic change, the workforce needs to be trained to manage the latest developments. New products being developed require skilled employees to oversee the process and there obviously has to be an oversight function performed by human workers.

What is important to note is that training itself can be cost-effective, says Mike Hanly, managing director of South African e-learning provider New Leaf Technologies.

“Technology has become highly democratised and even smaller companies can access it for training purposes,” he says. “Cost-effective training methods enable organisations to reach a wider audience and provide training to more employees, increasing the potential for improved sales and customer satisfaction.”

Some of the most popular training innovations include:

  • Microlearning: Content is delivered in bite-sized modules that are focused and easily understood;
  • Gamification: Game-like elements to make training more engaging and interactive;.
  • Mobile learning: The need for physical resources is reduced as training can be delivered anytime, anywhere;
  • User-generated content: Learners create and share their own content, negating the need for expensive external content development; and
  • Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR): Immersive technologies to create realistic training simulations without the need for physical equipment.

The automotive industry is incredibly results-driven, meaning that training should be too, Hanly says. Ultimately the learning and development should contribute to the company remaining competitive and, as such, training should be geared towards the goal of achieving higher return on investment. Resources and costs saved can then be allocated to other strategic initiatives.

Cloud-based learning management systems are very good for saving money on storage, management and delivery of training content, while the use of analytics and data can very quickly establish what training modules are working and which are not. Those that fall short can then be adapted or removed, ensuring that little capital is wasted on frivolous content.

New Leaf Technologies offers a fit-for-purpose digital learning tool called aNewSpring that enables trainers to create, curate and deliver blended learning that adapts to each individual. The flexibility of the platform ensures that learners can access the training they need, even if they are working remotely.

“This technology can also be tailored to incorporate interactive multimedia elements such as videos, quizzes, and simulations to engage learners and improve knowledge retention. With the auto sector changing as much as it is, being able to learn quickly and affordably is essential and this platform really meets this requirement,” Hanly says.

He adds that a lot of training will be focused on soft skills as these will play an even greater role in differentiating between competing vehicle manufacturers. Effective communication and meeting customer expectations will be critical going forward, and developing these skills are important if companies are to retain or grow their market share.

“Properly trained employees can deliver exceptional customer service, fostering customer loyalty, positive word-of-mouth, and repeat business.”