EV 101 | Ford launches AI-driven 'University' to fix dealership employee knowledge gaps

Ford launches AI-driven 'University' to fix dealership employee knowledge gaps

Ford launched its new training platform, ‘Ford University’, on Wednesday, designed to fill dealership employee knowledge gaps in a major overhaul of its L&D practices.

The new platform was rolled out at 3,000 dealerships and seeks to modernize the automaker’s previous training programs.

It is a digital, video-based service available to employees 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and features a personalized, data-driven dashboard for each dealership worker.

Employees are also offered gamified learning programs and access to both AI-supported virtual coaching and a comprehensive content library.

Ford University to address the challenge of “long-term knowledge retention”

In a statement about the launch of Ford University, Abby Vietor, Global Director of Dealer Training and Productivity at Ford, suggested that previous, text-heavy development programs were not building sufficient skills.

“The traditional approach to training creates opportunities to enhance long-term knowledge retention, a challenge we're addressing head-on with Ford University,” her post reads.

Read more from us

This challenge has been exacerbated by the evolution of the automotive industry toward electric and “software-defined” vehicles, which has left dealership workers reportedly struggling to keep pace with technological change.

“Customers want… specialized support on the latest vehicle technologies,” Vietor writes. “Meanwhile, many dealers have expressed the challenge of managing the swift pace of new products and technology developments.”

Speaking to CBT News, Vietor has added that Ford University will fill a particular knowledge gap within electric vehicles (EVs). “It’s an area where the customer conversation is evolving and changing,” she explained. “We want to make sure all the employees are prepared to speak to it.”

Ford University is a “win-win” for employee and customer engagement

Ford anticipates the new methodology and technology will drive higher rates of employee engagement and improve the customer experience, described by Vietor as a “win-win.”

The automotive company says it has invested heavily in content design by hiring award-winning video producers, content creators, and training specialists with experience working on famous television shows and feature films.

Alongside gamified programs, AI coaching, and the video library, Ford University will utilize concepts such as spaced reinforcement – a learning method where bite-size pieces of information are steadily and repeatedly dripped through to learners – to improve knowledge retention and to apply it to real interactions with customers using a “teach, show, practice, reinforce” framework.

Vietor hopes the “engaging content that reinforces complex topics and information” will help upskill its dealers from salespeople to trusted advisors capable of making genuine connections with customers.

The program is currently available to sales employees at Ford dealerships but will expand over time to include other departments.

You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for the next 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.