Volvo Cars is using digital video to improve the speed and effectiveness of its customer service, communications and management skills training for 5,500 dealership staff in the UK and Ireland.

Rather than sending people away from the workplace for face-to-face training, the company has invested in providing unlimited access to 25 digital training films from Video Arts, which runs the world’s largest library of ‘anywhere, anytime’ video learning. The digital video content is used to meet the individual learning needs of employees, as revealed by Volvo’s competence programme.

“Digital video is versatile and easy to use,” said John Merrell, Leadership & E-learning Manager at Volvo Cars UK. “We have 123 dealerships and all of our staff can access any of the Video Arts training films from their computers at any time. They can either watch them all the way through or view specific clips for a refresher on whatever subject they need, such as running an appraisal or dealing with a difficult customer. On top of this, we can incorporate high quality video clips from the films into our existing classroom and e-learning courses and we can create our own tailor-made e-learning programmes around the Video Arts content. This gives us the flexibility to quickly provide each individual with the learning they need.”

This approach has enabled the training team at Volvo Cars to create a dialogue with individual learners. “We can now provide each person with effective content that meets their needs and we can follow this up by drip-feeding further content, so they can build their knowledge base,” said John Merrell. “Rather than simply providing a course, we’re now providing an ongoing process of continuous improvement. We can check each learner’s understanding through one-to-one coaching sessions, either face-to-face or by telephone. This is a completely new departure for Volvo.”

By enhancing its existing e-learning courses – and creating its own ‘rapid content’ e-learning resources – Volvo Cars has saved a “huge amount” of development time. “It’s easy to put together your own effective and engaging programmes, using the Video Arts content,” said John Merrell. “Adding in the high quality digital video clips helps to enhance the engagement of learners and it has improved the effectiveness of our courses.”

John Merrell says the digital video content will help Volvo Cars to foster a coaching culture within the organisation. “It will support us in helping managers to coach their staff,” he said. “We’re using the content to establish a forum for coaching interventions and over time we want our managers to use digital video clips to help facilitate sessions for their teams.”

Merrell added that feedback from users has been very positive. “Learning used to be seen as a chore but now people really enjoy it,” he said. “Video Arts provides tried and tested courses, with great humour and strong learning messages. It’s easy to empathise and relate to the content because it’s immediately engaging and it holds your attention. We can also check people’s understanding of the learning and monitor the impact back in the business. This initiative is part of integrating total quality in all that Volvo does. For us, it’s a way of setting ourselves apart from the competition.”