The Problem of History


The car wash industry is nearly 100 years old. With such long, storied history comes long, storied knowledge. So much of our industry's expertise is hidden from new employees. Crucial wisdom is trapped in the heads of our experts.


 
 

Confounded by Paperwork


What knowledge we have written down is either lost in old folders or spread out amongst various online resources. We pay outside services to store and disseminate our wisdom. In short, we have outsourced our history to companies who know little — and care little — about the wheels that spin our industry.


The Future of History

At Johnny Clean, we believe in the importance of proper training and education. These days, learners are well-versed in the use of smartphones, text messaging, and social media – so participating in online learning is more than a passing fad. The design, development, coordination, and implementation of an organization-wide, e-learning training program will prove vital to the future of our industry.

E-learning platforms which include message boards, elements of gamification, and various other means of online communication allow learners to keep in touch and discuss course-related matters, while providing a culture of belonging. LMS technologies with embedded analytics can allow e-learning facilitators to track the progress of employees, ensuring lucrative returns on investments in the future of industrial education.



Image

If we are going to reclaim the long history of our knowledge, we need to embrace e-learning while at the same time harness industry-tested, educational models based on cognitive pedagogy and adult-learning theory. While all this might seem impossibly complex, such models can be broken down into manageable pieces.

In the following, we will discuss a simple, five-step process that represents a dynamic, flexible guideline for building effective training and performance tools. Based on the ADDIE model of instructional design, this five-step process can be adapted to the needs of our industry. The point is not to make learning complex. The point is to make learning effective, fun, and worth the investment.

THE ADDIE MODEL


ADDIE is an Instructional System Design (ISD) framework which stands for the five phases of the learning design process:

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation

A bit of history: the US Army invented ADDIE to guide their own specific learning programs (above top secret stuff). It is a proven learning technique that has been studied by both industry leaders and academics alike. 


Image

One of the attractions of the ADDIE Model is its flexibility; for example, it can be used with both individualized and traditional instruction. In addition, its phases are frequently modified to suit user needs, and it can be used in combination with other models, such as rapid application development (RAD) and the successive approximation model (SAM).


 
 

PHASE ONE: Analysis


All journeys start somewhere, and analysis is a useful place to begin the construction of our e-learning program. In the analysis phase, we need to take stock of the gaps in our current training program. We need to see what works and what is failing. We need to listen to seasoned experts with the same ear that we listen to our newest employees.

What does this look like in practice?
The analysis stage begins with collection. We collect all our legacy learning materials; we collect all the multimedia that we own; we collect feedback from the members of our team. Furthermore, we collect information about our current solutions. 

  • How much are we currently paying?
  • How much money can we save moving forward?
  • Can we streamline our content library?
  • Are our current training solutions effective?
  • Do our employees find our learning content useful?
  • Do they find our learning content engaging?
  • How can we make our learning content better?

These questions and more can seem tedious at first, but the collection and analysis of data is one of the most important steps in the process of building an operative training program. If we are unhappy with our current solutions — if our current solutions aren't working — then we need to know why.

We can also save real money in this phase. By aggregating all our e-learning assets into a single, self-hosted database, library, wiki, or website, we cut ties with costly outside services. The analysis stage not only helps to define our goals; it also helps to get us organized.


PHASE TWO: Design


After completing our analysis, we'll have the data necessary to create an e-learning masterpiece that’s brilliant by design! In this phase, we will align our e-learning materials with our marketplace aesthetic. We will create templates that can be easily adapted to any situation. In other words, we'll make everything nice and pretty, so that future instructional designers can easily acclimate to our company standard.

  • What new learning products do we want to create?
  • What can we harvest from our legacy materials?
  • What do we want our aesthetic to look like?
  • What ideas are we trying to communicate?
  • What software will we need to accomplish our goals?
  • Why should learners be interested in our content?

Throughout the design process, we keep our learning objectives in mind. Yet we brainstorm the cutting-edge. This is our opportunity to envision awesome new products that speak to our company culture. With strong design we will forge our way into the future of e-learning.

Remember...
The design process is a lot like washing a dirty car. We'll run our legacy learning materials through a creative conveyer, and when those legacy materials come out the other side, they will look sparkling clean. With hard work and a little creative magic, we can bring our vision to life!


 
 

PHASE THREE: Development


Now is when we put our plan into action! We gather our assets and our templates, and we start making awesome, engaging content. (Do we choose to write handbooks? Are we leveraging the power of the web? What about audio, video, and virtual learning?)

We use instructional theory to train our management team in ways that better serve our employees. We build and we workshop, and in the process of building, we learn what works best for our company.


Image

This is where the magic happens. It's where we leverage the power of our software, our learning management system, and our creative talents in order to develop useful training products. Phase Three is where the program begins to take shape.

Yet more important than our software, this phase harnesses the power of our people (of our crew). Trainers and managers come together to create online quizzes, face-to face workshops, webinars, and continuing education opportunities for our employees. Yes, we develop products — but we also develop a culture.


PHASE FOUR: Implementation


Okay, we're done developing! In this phase, we roll out new learning content to our learners. We deliver our content via whatever delivery platform we have chosen during the design phase – most likely uploading it to an LMS using a packaging tool such as SCORM. But we may also want to hold face-to-face workshops and train-the-trainer learning sessions.

There are a few loose ends we need to tie-up: 

  • Have the materials been fact-checked by our experts?
  • Have we beta-tested the software to make sure it works?
  • Will there be any accompanying documentation?

It is in this phase that we need to practice agility. It's important to keep a cool head when rolling out new software.


Image

While the implementation phase should run smoothly enough, there are always spots to clean, bugs to fix, and updates to update. (That's why the apps on your phone are constantly in development. The best products are never really complete. There’s always more to learn.)

Remember...
Perfection is impossible — especially when it comes to coding and product creation. The goal isn’t perfection. What's most important is that we put out a better product than we had in the past. We need to always be moving forward. It's in the next and final phase that we'll learn from our mistakes and use the information we gather to polish our products and get even closer to our ideal.


 
 

PHASE FIVE: Evaluation


In many ways, the last phase of ADDIE is the most important of all. It's during this phase that we collect feedback from our users, our employees, and our management staff. Using this information, we make our products better and better. On-site managers will play a big role in the evaluation phase. Their feedback on employee learning will be critical to the development of a worthwhile program.  


Image

Harnessing the Power of Analytics
It’s true that evaluating a learning program can be a daunting task. But with the right LMS and the right backend software, learning product administrators can track and visualize the success rate of student development. When we consider the bottom line, upper-level management can compare quarterly or yearly asset growth against the cost of the program. Employee retention data serves as another point of interest.

Ultimately, it's up to the business-owner to decide which data is most important when engaged in evaluation. Does employee safety take precedence over expansion and growth? Is employee retention more important than our customer subscription rate? These are difficult questions with no easy answers. But by looking closely at the data and making the right adjustments, a good training program can provide the information needed to make informed decisions.


Embracing Agility

It’s important to remember that the ADDIE framework is not uncompromising — it’s not a hardline process. Most instructional methodologies are built with agility and flexibility in mind. Different people learn at different rates, and diverse employees will exhibit diverse learning styles. A good learning developer knows when to make adjustments which best fit both students and company. A great training manager strikes a delicate balance between intellectual and monetary growth.  

Although each phase of ADDIE represents a linear progression, as we develop multiple learning products, responsibilities and organizational structures will overlap. To manage the complexity of such large-scale projects, we learn to think differently, to collaborate, to respond to change. Most importantly, the development of an effective learning program must be based on trust. If students do not trust their teachers, they will resent the learning process. When teammates cannot trust each other, businesses suffer.



Image

AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT reduces complexity by breaking down large scale projects into small, useable pieces. Rapid feedback, continuous adaptation and QA best practices are built into the team's schedules, ensuring top-quality output and proven processes. Accountability is not measured on hourly spreadsheets; rather, it’s measured in the delivery of successful products by making use of small-scale iterations.  Such iterations usually take place over the course of two-week sprints. A sprint is a short, time-boxed period in which a team works to complete a set amount of work. Sprints are at the very heart of agile learning methodologies.  Getting sprints right will create better products with fewer headaches.  


Watch the video 🙂


Sprints help teams follow the agile principle of delivering valuable products frequently. There are various ways that we can begin aligning our training program to allow for agility and change. First and foremost, we must embed learning into work as much as possible. Design work that allows learning to happen while achieving business goals. 

It’s also important to embrace radical transparency. We can leverage learning as a platform to share strategy and progress of initiatives. We can design systems that allow the flow of information to go both ways. This helps build knowledge and trust across organizations as well as a sense of ownership and accountability among all employees. Learning leaders hold a powerful lever that can connect a seemingly ambiguous organizational strategy to everyday work.




Image


Finally, agile teams engaged in e-learning must make room for failure.  Experimenting means failing sometimes, and that’s okay. Instructional thinking is a great example of a process that can help employees understand how to fail early, learn from their mistakes, iterate, and consequently become more valuable over time. The truth is, most people like learning. It's in our nature. If we treat others with respect and we offer engaging learning products, the benefits of iterative development will always outweigh the costs of small-scale setbacks. 

People add value that technology can’t replicate. Training and education require compassion, empathy, creativity, and interactive learning processes that are still best done by people. If we want to reclaim our history and build a better future for the car wash industry, we must build systems that allow employees to be more human while at the same time selecting technologies that will expand their human potential.

Image

Created by Michael Russo
job@russo.xyz
503-720-4468


 

CREATING THE FUTURE OF THE CAR WASH INDUSTRY

The Problem of History

The car wash industry is nearly 100 years old. With such long, storied history comes long, storied knowledge. So much of our industry's expertise is hidden from new employees. Crucial wisdom is trapped in the heads of our experts.

Image

Confounded by Paperwork

What knowledge we have written down is either lost in old folders or spread out amongst various online resources. We pay outside services to store and disseminate our wisdom. In short, we have outsourced our history to companies who know little — and care little — about the wheels that spin our industry.

Image

AGILITY CAN HELP US TO RECLAIM OUR ASSETS

The Future of History

At Johnny Clean, we believe in the importance of proper training and education. These days, learners are well-versed in the use of smartphones, text messaging, and social media – so participating in online learning is more than a passing fad. The design, development, coordination, and implementation of an organization-wide, e-learning training program will prove vital to the future of our industry.

E-learning platforms which include message boards, elements of gamification, and various other means of online communication allow learners to keep in touch and discuss course-related matters, while providing a culture of belonging. LMS technologies with embedded analytics can allow e-learning facilitators to track the progress of employees, ensuring lucrative returns on investments in the future of industrial education.



Image

If we are going to reclaim the long history of our knowledge, we need to embrace e-learning while at the same time harness industry-tested, educational models based on cognitive pedagogy and adult-learning theory. While all this might seem impossibly complex, such models can be broken down into manageable pieces.

In the following, we will discuss a simple, five-step process that represents a dynamic, flexible guideline for building effective training and performance tools. Based on the ADDIE model of instructional design, this five-step process can be adapted to the needs of our industry. The point is not to make learning complex. The point is to make learning effective, fun, and worth the investment.


The ADDIE MODEL

ADDIE is an Instructional System Design (ISD) framework which stands for the five phases of the learning design process:

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation

A bit of history: the US Army invented ADDIE to guide their own specific learning programs (above top secret stuff). It is a proven learning technique that has been studied by both industry leaders and academics alike.



Image

One of the attractions of the ADDIE Model is its flexibility; for example, it can be used with both individualized and traditional instruction. In addition, its phases are frequently modified to suit user needs, and it can be used in combination with other models, such as rapid application development (RAD) and the successive approximation model (SAM).

PHASE 1: Analysis

All journeys start somewhere, and analysis is a useful place to begin the construction of our e-learning program. In the analysis phase, we need to take stock of the gaps in our current training program. We need to see what works and what is failing. We need to listen to seasoned experts with the same ear that we listen to our newest employees.



Image

What does this look like in practice?
The analysis stage begins with collection. We collect all our legacy learning materials; we collect all the multimedia that we own; we collect feedback from the members of our team. Furthermore, we collect information about our current solutions.

  • How much are we currently paying?
  • How much money can we save moving forward?
  • Can we streamline our content library?
  • Are our current training solutions effective?
  • Do our employees find our learning content useful?
  • Do they find our learning content engaging?
  • How can we make our learning content better?

These questions and more can seem tedious at first, but the collection and analysis of data is one of the most important steps in the process of building an operative training program. If we are unhappy with our current solutions — if our current solutions aren't working — then we need to know why.

We can also save real money in this phase. By aggregating all our e-learning assets into a single, self-hosted database, library, wiki, or website, we cut ties with costly outside services. The analysis stage not only helps to define our goals; it also helps to get us organized.


PHASE 2: Design

After completing our analysis, we'll have the data necessary to create an e-learning masterpiece that’s brilliant by design! In this phase, we will align our e-learning materials with our marketplace aesthetic. We will create templates that can be easily adapted to any situation. In other words, we'll make everything nice and pretty, so that future instructional designers can easily acclimate to our company standard.

  • What new learning products do we want to create?
  • What can we harvest from our legacy materials?
  • What do we want our aesthetic to look like?
  • What ideas are we trying to communicate?
  • What software will we need to accomplish our goals?
  • Why should learners be interested in our content?

Throughout the design process, we keep our learning objectives in mind. Yet we brainstorm the cutting-edge. This is our opportunity to envision awesome new products that speak to our company culture. With strong design we will forge our way into the future of e-learning.






Remember...
The design process is a lot like washing a dirty car. We'll run our legacy learning materials through a creative conveyer, and when those legacy materials come out the other side, they will look sparkling clean. With hard work and a little creative magic, we can bring our vision to life!


PHASE 3: Development

Now is when we put our plan into action! We gather our assets and our templates, and we start making awesome, engaging content. (Do we choose to write handbooks? Are we leveraging the power of the web? What about audio, video, and virtual learning?)

We use instructional theory to train our management team in ways that better serve our employees. We build and we workshop, and in the process of building, we learn what works best for our company.




This is where the magic happens. It's where we leverage the power of our software, our learning management system, and our creative talents in order to develop useful training products. Phase Three is where the program begins to take shape.

Yet more important than our software, this phase harnesses the power of our people (of our crew). Trainers and managers come together to create online quizzes, face-to face workshops, webinars, and continuing education opportunities for our employees. Yes, we develop products — but we also develop a culture.


PHASE 4: Implementation

Okay, we're done developing! In this phase, we roll out new learning content to our learners. We deliver our content via whatever delivery platform we have chosen during the design phase – most likely uploading it to an LMS using a packaging tool such as SCORM. But we may also want to hold face-to-face workshops and train-the-trainer learning sessions.

There are a few loose ends we need to tie-up: 

  • Have the materials been fact-checked by our experts?
  • Have we beta-tested the software to make sure it works?
  • Will there be any accompanying documentation?

It is in this phase that we need to practice agility. It's important to keep a cool head when rolling out new software.



Image

While the implementation phase should run smoothly enough, there are always spots to clean, bugs to fix, and updates to update. (That's why the apps on your phone are constantly in development. The best products are never really complete. There’s always more to learn.)

Remember...
Perfection is impossible — especially when it comes to coding and product creation. The goal isn’t perfection. What's most important is that we put out a better product than we had in the past. We need to always be moving forward. It's in the next and final phase that we'll learn from our mistakes and use the information we gather to polish our products and get even closer to our ideal.


PHASE 5: Evaluation

In many ways, the last phase of ADDIE is the most important of all. It's during this phase that we collect feedback from our users, our employees, and our management staff. Using this information, we make our products better and better. On-site managers will play a big role in the evaluation phase. Their feedback on employee learning will be critical to the development of a worthwhile program.  




Harnessing the Power of Analytics
It’s true that evaluating a learning program can be a daunting task. But with the right LMS and the right backend software, learning product administrators can track and visualize the success rate of student development. When we consider the bottom line, upper-level management can compare quarterly or yearly asset growth against the cost of the program. Employee retention data serves as another point of interest.

Ultimately, it's up to the business-owner to decide which data is most important when engaged in evaluation. Does employee safety take precedence over expansion and growth? Is employee retention more important than our customer subscription rate? These are difficult questions with no easy answers. But by looking closely at the data and making the right adjustments, a good training program can provide the information needed to make informed decisions.


Embracing Agility

It’s important to remember that the ADDIE framework is not uncompromising — it’s not a hardline process. Most instructional methodologies are built with agility and flexibility in mind. Different people learn at different rates, and diverse employees will exhibit diverse learning styles. A good learning developer knows when to make adjustments which best fit both students and company. A great training manager strikes a delicate balance between intellectual and monetary growth.  

Although each phase of ADDIE represents a linear progression, as we develop multiple learning products, responsibilities and organizational structures will overlap. To manage the complexity of such large-scale projects, we learn to think differently, to collaborate, to respond to change. Most importantly, the development of an effective learning program must be based on trust. If students do not trust their teachers, they will resent the learning process. When teammates cannot trust each other, businesses suffer.



Image

AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT reduces complexity by breaking down large scale projects into small, useable pieces. Rapid feedback, continuous adaptation and QA best practices are built into the team's schedules, ensuring top-quality output and proven processes. Accountability is not measured on hourly spreadsheets; rather, it’s measured in the delivery of successful products by making use of small-scale iterations.  Such iterations usually take place over the course of two-week sprints. A sprint is a short, time-boxed period in which a team works to complete a set amount of work. Sprints are at the very heart of agile learning methodologies.  Getting sprints right will create better products with fewer headaches.  


Watch the video 🙂


Sprints help teams follow the agile principle of delivering valuable products frequently. There are various ways that we can begin aligning our training program to allow for agility and change. First and foremost, we must embed learning into work as much as possible. Design work that allows learning to happen while achieving business goals. 

It’s also important to embrace radical transparency. We can leverage learning as a platform to share strategy and progress of initiatives. We can design systems that allow the flow of information to go both ways. This helps build knowledge and trust across organizations as well as a sense of ownership and accountability among all employees. Learning leaders hold a powerful lever that can connect a seemingly ambiguous organizational strategy to everyday work.




Finally, agile teams engaged in e-learning must make room for failure.  Experimenting means failing sometimes, and that’s okay. Instructional thinking is a great example of a process that can help employees understand how to fail early, learn from their mistakes, iterate, and consequently become more valuable over time. The truth is, most people like learning. It's in our nature. If we treat others with respect and we offer engaging learning products, the benefits of iterative development will always outweigh the costs of small-scale setbacks. 

People add value that technology can’t replicate. Training and education require compassion, empathy, creativity, and interactive learning processes that are still best done by people. If we want to reclaim our history and build a better future for the car wash industry, we must build systems that allow employees to be more human while at the same time selecting technologies that will expand their human potential.

Image

Created by Michael Russo
job@russo.xyz
503-720-4468