Towards the end of last year, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) announced that it had agreed a partnership with digital training provider, VOCANTO, as part of the push to make electric vehicle education readily accessible to all who need it. Although still in its infancy, the new platform has huge potential, as PMM finds out.
For some time now, the IMI has been stressing the need for automotive technicians to undertake suitable training so that they can work with electric vehicle technology safely and professionally. Part of this drive manifested as the organisation’s IMI TechSafe initiative, which prompted the industry into realising that this was not a trend that should be ignored.
Of course, 2020 saw the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. As with all industries, this required a radical rethink about how people could still access valuable training resources. The IMI got to work and secured a partnership with renowned e-learning platform providers, VOCANTO, to ensure technicians could progress with their EV education. Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI, pointed out: “The challenge – especially while social distancing remains such an important factor for everyone’s health – is how to make this training as accessible as possible to those who need it.”
The IMI has announced that the platform will be launched in two phases. Phase one will mean access is granted via an annual licence scheme. Organisations, such as colleges, training schools, repair networks, etc., that are keen to provide their employees/students with the information included on the platform will receive a number of ‘redeem codes’ that each individual can input into the system to gain access. This will be the primary method of access for now, however, phase two will be rolled out later in the year and will enable participants to sign up to individual modules.
Towards the end of January, the IMI held a webinar to showcase the platform to all who had expressed an interest. One of the speakers, Chris Cotterill, UK Business Development Manager at the IMI, highlighted: “The pilot schemes carried out by our varied customer demographics will mean the platform works for any customer that wants to engage with it. We are now looking to build momentum within the industry, and to these ends our business development team has been working hard to contact those who have expressed their interest.”
It is important to note that IMI membership does not automatically enable access to the VOCANTO portal. For those interested, it will come as an additional cost, but one that is well worth the investment. However, the institute has expressed that there will be the opportunity for combined offers to go alongside IMI membership.
Content is key
During the pilot, the IMI made both light vehicle and EV lessons available to the participants. For the time being, the breakdown of the EV module offering is as follows: Intro to Electric & Hybrid Vehicles, Safety, EV Technology & Components, and EV Batteries & Charging. As you would expect, the light vehicle options are considerable, with most processes and component categories covered.
Once a learner accesses the platform, the nature of the questions and tutorials varies from multiple choice questions, through to interactive 3D visuals highlighting the specific components of a vehicle. What’s more, gamification has been integrated into the platform in order to appeal to younger participants. Learners gain experience points and rewards as they make their way through the modules, which not only provides an incentive for them to complete their work, but also serves as a valuable source of data for any trainer looking to keep an eye on the progress of their students.
Although the platform will encompass a comprehensive breadth of content upon launch, the potential for later additions is almost limitless. The focus groups that were used by the IMI to launch the platform will continue to advise on the content that will be uploaded, which means that there is the opportunity to include further modules on any number of automotive topics, such as ADAS, accident & repair, and diagnostics, just to name a few. It’s this adaptability and flexibility that the IMI really wants to present to the industry, setting up the VOCANTO platform as the ideal solution for the future of automotive learning.