Breathtaking speeds; world-class sportsmanship; millions in sponsorships… and eLearning? It might not seem like the first connection NASCAR fans make when screaming their drivers to the checkered flag, but it takes way more than a driver and a great pit crew to make America’s second-most popular spectator sport go from 0 to 60. In fact, NASCAR relies heavily on eLearning applications as a way to train track personnel and officials so that every hairpin turn aligns employees with the overall mission and brand of NASCAR. And, when you take a closer look at NASCAR’s needs and challenges, eLearning makes up part of the perfect pit crew.
When brought onboard from her past position with US Airways, NASCAR Director of Training and Development, Karen Masencup, accelerated fast: She immediately moved the bulk of NASCAR’s track personnel training online. Because personnel spend more time in the field than they do in offices, a traditional classroom-based approach simply wasn’t appropriate. Instead, Masencup instituted training that was superfast, highly mobile, and tailored to region and track.
The Association’s mantra of “Learn, Grow, Accelerate” has never been more apparent than with the big push from traditional training to a blended eLearning approach. Both employees and officials alike have been given access to an entire library of training materials, available anytime, anywhere.
In 2014, NASCAR’s track safety training was awarded as one of the top five training programs in the United States, as decided by a panel at eLearning! Magazine. “By providing our track services workers with a more flexible online learning method and an increase in real-life training scenarios at track, our online training system ensures that our workers maintain their training and the highest level of integrity to be part of our team,” said Masencup at a Q&A panel following the eLearning! Media Group’s Learning 100 Awards in Anaheim last year.
Even if your job is slightly less heart-pounding than working the track at Daytona, there’s something to be said for an accelerated pace and practically immediate access to training materials. With over 6,000 employees accessing training each year, NASCAR has managed to streamline what could have been a challenging setback for some of their most important crew members.
Future applications could go as far as to allow drivers and pit crew members to participate in simulations through eLearning, using actual track footage, as a way to improve time and get to know track terrain long before the big day. But for now, Masencup & Co are content to allow eLearning to work its way through the ranks as a viable solution to something that could stop NASCAR in its training tracks.