"What is old is new and what is new is old". This phrase sure applies to a recent conversation I had with a High School teacher. In educational circles Differential Education is the "new speak" in education. In schools across America they are scrambling to utilize Differential Education to help teach gifted and challenged students.
When my friend explained the details about Differential Education I smiled and said, "that's nothing new we have been doing Differential Education for years in Industrial Training. We don't need to labeled it. We just called it Curriculum Development for Adult Learners or how develop courses which engaged the student in a combination of classroom theory and hands-on learning activities so they did not fall asleep in class."
Early in my career Subaru of America sent me to the University of Wisconsin for advanced Curriculum Development and Adult Training Certification. Subaru wanted to ensure that our training programs helped to produce positive Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) results. All customers expect perfection in warranty repairs the first time at the Dealership. "Come backs" cost money and CSI ratings. A technician's failure to learn new diagnostic skills will cost Dealers money and their reputation will suffer. Therefore, our training had to produce positive results ... technicians with new diagnostic skills. They must learn or get fired.
When I interviewed Ray Sciarappa, AutoMax Consultant/ Trainer he indicated that he had the same experience in the Army. Ray was assigned to train those that were falling behind in Army technical training courses. Failure to learn the needed technical training can cost a life. Failure to learn in the Army is not an option.
Ray’s and my experience in Adult Skills Training has been the same:
- Not all adult students learn at the same pace
- Each student is different and they learn differently
- The pace and speed at which a student learns does not matter
- The training material presented must be learned and failure is not an option
Stephanie Bravmann, a professor in the School of Education at Seattle University, has written a paper on Differential Education*. She tells us that differentiation itself is based on three beliefs:
- Everyone learns differently
- Quality is more important than quantity
- "One-size-fits-all" curriculum and instruction presumes that content is more important than students
These beliefs, in turn, require that every teacher answer three specific questions:
- In the content you must teach, what is it that you want all of your students to know?
- How can each student best learn this in ways that are appropriate to their specific needs?
- How can each student most effectively demonstrate what has learned?
QUALITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN QUANITY
Our curriculum at AutoMax is made to respond to the characteristic needs of students while serving the needs of our Dealers. Students want to change their lives and careers. Dealers want top performers that produce sales and gross profits.
The length of time AutoMax spends in instruction to the student mirrors a typical College level course. The AutoMax content gives each student a "blue print" for success and action plans to succeed in the automotive business. We assume that each student enrolls in our classes because they have a desire to achieve more than the norm. The student demonstrates that they understand the material presented by performing assigned learning activities in class. The proof that they have learned effectively is by the income they produce over the first 90 days of employment. In addition, the proof of effective course content is by the continued demand for our services by Dealers and the testimonials we continue to receive.
In the Adult Education business we need to prepare the student for new skills or a trade regardless of the educational background. Our students run the gamut of education from GED's to Masters Degrees. I have trained "burnt out" degreed Medical Specialists, Lawyers, truckers, factory workers, waitresses and yes, even a retired Banker. So in our business, educational background is not a deciding factor in who will do well in the Automotive Business. We are teaching new skills, new awareness, new goals and new visions.
"ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL" CURRICULM and INSTRUCTION
Professor Bravmann makes the point that in Differential Education "one-size-fits-all" curriculum and instruction presumes that content is more important than the student. At first I found this point to be a negative, because all of us at AutoMax care about the success of the student. But let's not miss the point. The AutoMax curriculum, instruction and support material, in fact, is more important than the students. When applied, it will change their life. If they chose not to apply what we teach then everything in their life will likely stay the same and their success in the automotive business will be a gamble.
We focus on the basics to give the students a "fast start in the business". It is a time proven "blue print" for success in sales and customer satisfaction.
EVERYONE LEARNS DIFFERENTLY
There is a faster pace of learning in our seminars. Because adult students have different ways of learning, classroom training is combined with hands-on learning experiences that are based in reality. The AutoMax material content dictates that the student does more independent study in order to gain product knowledge and to become certified in their automotive brand. When a student requires more support in career development AutoMax has a program to help them.
AutoMax students are be encouraged to delve more deeply into content as is challenging for them and they are provided with a variety of self help books to enhance their learning experience. These books on motivation and sales psychology allow for students to choose the levels of complexity that are appropriate to their education needs.
SYNERGY - NO STUDENT LEFT BEHIND
We recognize that since the AutoMax seminars are presented at a faster pace some students will not absorb the material as quickly as others. Additional practice of the new skills presented is required by each student. The skills must be practiced and feedback given. Greetings and sales presentations need to flow from each student so that it becomes instantaneous and second nature. A key element of our seminars, which we introduce early in the training class, is the concept of Synergy.
After the AutoMax training the class of students will become an independent study group. In most cases the entire group will be hired by the Dealer as a new sales team. We do not assume that additional training will occur at the Dealership. Therefore the new sales team will help each other and continue to train each other. The stronger students will become the teachers. The more they teach and help others in the group, the stronger they become in the newly acquired skills. Their reward for this service? More personal sales with more gross profit. It is the leaders that develop out of this new sales team that will become future Dealership Managers.
AutoMax continues to develop new curriculum for our new AutoMax Automotive Institute focused on existing sales staff and Management. In order to develop programs that are personally challenging and meaningful to the student, assignments beyond the classroom focus on developing their existing client base and increasing Dealership gross profit.
The bottom line in applying differential education to the courses we develop is this. It does not matter:
- What you have done in the past
- What education level you have achieved
- How you learn or the pace at which you absorb the material
When you apply what you learn from AutoMax, at any Dealership in the World, you will become successful in sales and customer satisfaction.