You don't see many horse-drawn carriages on the road today. The same is true of the ubiquitous wall-mounted phone once found in every kitchen in America. To us, the reasons to embrace more modern technology seem apparent – as a society, we've found newer and better alternatives to 19th-century transportation and 20th-century communications. However, explaining this obsolescence to a citizen from those eras might be a little more complicated.
Just like our 19th-century counterparts, recognizing the trends of tomorrow could prove challenging today. Right now, there are few advancements more profound than those currently taking place in the world of education. Bolstered by the Covid-19 pandemic, digital and online learning are revolutionizing how we teach, learn, and train.
Commonly thought of as "elearning," virtual education platforms have long been considered the training and education of the future. Still, they are increasingly becoming the best solutions to meet the needs of today's world. As a driving school, it's an opportunity you might not want to pass up.
Getting Educated in "E" Learning
It’s common to think of the “E” in eLearning as an abbreviation of the word “electronic,” and that’s undoubtedly true. However, it would also be accurate to consider a few other “E” words. Words like “everywhere,” “every day,” “engaging,” “effective,” and most importantly, “evolving.”
E-learning is constantly adapting, improving, and increasing its footprint on the American education and training landscape. The best and most forward-thinking companies are embracing these concepts now before they’re left behind.
The Benefits of E-Learning
As the owner and operator of a driving school, your primary mission is to provide the highest quality and most effective training possible. Increasingly, the most reliable means of doing so may be through a dedicated eLearning platform, also known as a learning management system or LMS.
Research shows that students retain between 25-60% more through online learning than they do in traditional classroom settings. That’s right. Students learning on online and digital platforms retain significantly more information than in conventional classroom settings. And that’s just the beginning.
Other studies show that because it is self-paced, eLearning leads to increased student satisfaction and reduced stress. This positivity results in improved learning outcomes, better engagement with your students, and an increased likelihood of referrals and new business generation.
How can a proper e-learning strategy benefit your school?
Provide the highest quality training with a level of consistency that doesn’t depend on good instructor availability. Virtual lessons within a learning management system don’t have bad days or personal distractions, and they never call in sick. They’re always available and just as effective from one day to the next.
Increase student satisfaction by driving better reviews on Google and Yelp. Happier and more engaged students mean a higher likelihood of positive reviews, shares, and invaluable word-of-mouth.
Expand your services outside your immediate area. A traditional brick-and-mortar business can only serve the customers who can access it. It’s a hard sell to convince a student to travel further for your driving school than a competitor’s, but they can access a learning management system from the comfort of their home, wherever that may be.
Save on Payroll. Besides not calling in sick, virtual lessons and instructors don’t require a salary or benefits, and they never take long lunches.
With the shortage of instructors, keep the ones you have behind the wheel, not in a classroom. Like most businesses, driving schools are dealing with serious staffing issues. A lack of qualified and willing driving instructors bottlenecks your business.
Engage more students. Traditional classroom settings are less effective and limit the number of students you can train at any one time. Virtual platforms are not constrained by the number of students you can recruit.
Increase revenue. Offering complimentary programs to your students, think traffic violator, insurance discount, soft personal skills, even college prep courses, etc., unlimited choices are a great way to increase revenue. With the ease of access provided by a quality learning management platform, providing additional courses and services to your students is more accessible than in-person education.
Bundle online with your classroom and behind the wheel. Regarding driver education, there will always be a need for quality behind-the-wheel training. Bundling your in-vehicle training with online education is a very appealing option for prospective students.
Offer training that is proven and effective without additional instructor training. The challenges in hiring qualified instructors are affecting most schools across the country. There’s always a chance a willing candidate will require additional training. There’s no such investment needed with a quality eLearning platform. Ever.
Offer training in other languages. Similar to never needing to provide additional driver instruction training to your employees, you’ll never have to worry about offering your classes in a range of languages for your students. It’s built right in.
How can you implement an e-learning platform for your business?
To offer an e-learning course, you need two components:
LMS (Learning Management Platform) Think of a DVD player, but 100% hosted online.
An online course that can play on the LMS. These courses would be the “DVDs” played through the LMS platform.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road, as not all LMS systems and courses are the same. Think of it like making a movie. You can create one using your portable phone or make one via a big-budget Hollywood production. As you can imagine, the result can vary dramatically.
When considering your options to adopt an LMS platform for your business, you have a few things to consider:
The LMS platform itself.
An LMS system can cost 100’s of thousands of dollars to develop, and that’s just the beginning. They require monthly maintenance, coding, server hosting fees, and more. So the first decision you need to make is, are you going to build, buy or rent? Rental or pay-as-you-go options offer you the easiest and most headache-free way to get started.
You will also need the LMS to comply with your particular state/course requirements governing how you track and manage your students.
For example, will it track active participation? Is it fully secure from hackers? Can you easily communicate with students by chat or email? Accept online payments? Can it offer upsells to your students? Is it mobile-compatible? Over 90% of teens will use their mobile devices.
The courses you’ll be offering through your LMS.
Does the content meet state requirements? Does your local jurisdiction approve it?
Are your offerings visually and aesthetically pleasing? (first impressions are essential, and you only get one chance to make them)
Are videos modern and up to date? You don’t want to use videos with cars from the 70s. No one is interested in an 8-track tutorial.
Is it using proper teaching methodology or just a bunch of information thrown together?
Is it multimedia or just text only? 30 hours of reading isn’t appealing to anyone.
Is it interactive? Remember, kids learn best with video games and interactive digital content.
Is it broken down into small bites of simplified content that students will enjoy?
Take a look at a great example of a good mix of video and interactive content:
The most important takeaway is to consider the needs of your driving school business and how best to address them. For many, this may be expanding their services to include top-tier content served through an LMS. Finding the solution that best fits your business will position you to be as successful as you can be today and tomorrow.
Liam Hoch researches and writes about safe driving for DriverZ.
Having been a passenger in multiple near-catastrophic vehicle collisions, Liam knows first-hand the dangers of distracted, reckless, and unsafe driving.
Passionate about our core principles of helping to make safer drivers and, ultimately, saving lives, Liam stays at the forefront of driving safety innovation and research.