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Audi trains 6,500 employees in fire-fighting with a new approach to learning
How the car manufacturer Audi AG trained more than 6,500 factory workers in the basics of fire protection and CO2 fire-fighting with storytelling-based e-learning.
Audi Academy (Audi Akademie GmbH) is a subsidiary of AUDI AG. It was established in 1993 and currently employs around 275 people. Its activities span technical qualification, project management and IT through to executive leadership and personality training.
What should you do when smoke billows out of the staff kitchen? Where are the emergency alarm buttons? What should you communicate to the security office? And where do the escape routes lead? These are all questions that, according to the German Employers Liability Insurance Association (Berufsgenossenschaft – BG), at least one in ten employees must be able to answer. At AUDI AG 3600 employees therefore have to pass basic training, while another 3000 must complete training in CO2 fire protection.
The Audi Academy developed a learning solution for AUDI AG that is not based on factual knowledge, but rather on interactive simulations of real-life situations. The learning software comprises text, photos, graphics, simulations and animations as well as tests and other interactive elements. The authentic portrayal of dangerous situations raises employees’ awareness in ways that text based factual content cannot. Audi Academy implemented the solution with tt knowledge force.
The learning modules aren’t abstract, but rather create realistic situations and tell a story. What is important in this is raising awareness among employees and providing recommendations for action.
Carsten Freundl, Learning Design Consultant at the Audi Academy
Working with their colleagues in health & safety, Audi Academy personnel discussed the scenarios that should be portrayed in the learning modules. Carsten Freundl, a learning design consultant with the Audi Academy and Roland Mueller, team leader for fire and works protection at AUDI AG, assembled a team of three designers, three programmers, a photographer and video expert as well as numerous actors. After they had put together a rough draft of topics and learning objectives they refined this into concrete stories and dialogues complete with a definition of clothing and the appropriate graphical representation.
The Audi Academy started the project in August 2010. A year later the first three modules were ready: fire protection basics, handling CO2 fire extinguishing systems and how to deal with fire outbreaks – the latter applied to all workers and service providers working with welding equipment or naked flames. Currently they are working on a fourth module: correct handling of fire extinguishers. They are also planning a further module on correctly responding to a breakdown in a neighboring chemical plant.
To avoid content overload, the Audi Academy limited each learning unit to five or six main points, lasting five to ten minutes. Since interactive elements increase interest in learning, the team included exercises in which the trainees must plan an escape route. In addition, the didactic concept also included intermediate tests, although these are only there to promote self-reflection.
The Audi Academy additionally tests how well trainees have performed: if someone has accomplished 80 percent of the learning program, they are judged to have passed the module. The users must visit every page of the learning program and can only progress to the next page when they have opened specific elements and content. Once an employee has successfully concluded a course, a green tick will appear on the learning platform next to the relevant module.
Access to the learning modules is only possible via AUDI end-user devices, i.e. PCs and notebooks. Although mobile learning is under intense discussion, at the moment it would be too expensive to make the modules available on smartphones.
AUDI AG was awarded the Comenius EduMedia Seal. Each year the Society for Education and Information (Gesellschaft für Pädagogik und Information – GPI) awards the Comenius EduMedia Seal for outstanding achievement in IT-based educational media. The learning module “Fire Protection Basics” was honored in the category DMP (Didactic Multimedia Projects) for its high didactic and media quality in professional advanced training/adult education.
You can find more information at: www.comenius-award.de
Thanks to e-learning, AUDI AG currently hits its annual target for fire protection training as early as July. This relates to the 6000 to 7000 employees who complete advanced training in the two most important topics, basic training and use of CO2 fire extinguishers. The initial investment was in fact quite high (as it needed to cover CO2 flooding for demonstration purposes and actors among other things) but from a long-term perspective this was clearly worthwhile, given that the material can be used for many years to come and will be available for an unlimited number of employees. By doing away with presence training, AUDI AG has already amortized the investment in professional videos and learning software.