Staying Current: New Technologies Challenge Instructors and Students

With all of the new and growing technology in the automotive industry, I have been wondering how technical instructors who are teaching repair and maintenance classes are able to keep their curriculum current. Things are changing and evolving so quickly that it has to be extremely difficult to stay up to date with technology. By the time instructors teach one technique, it could be near obsolete within the duration of the course. One article that I found interviews an instructor at a Kansas City Community College. His solution consists of teaching the basics that are needed for almost every vehicle so that his students understand how things such as the brakes, steering, and engine work. John Hattok, the professor at the community college, says that they rarely discuss the new computerized and electrical technologies found in the latest models because they are so fast growing. According to him, “Most of that kind of stuff they are going to get out in the real world. We sometimes don’t take that on, not being able to fix it. It is so new, we can’t find that information.” While I understand the reason for this type of teaching, it seems that there could be some issues for the students who are missing out on the new technology. Many graduates will be able to get experience and learn on the job at bigger repair centers and dealerships, but how does this affect the graduate who wants to open his own small repair shop? Are small town automotive repair centers and even small local shops within cities going to be able to compete? If they are not being exposed to the computerized and newer technologies that are present and developing, it is going to be difficult for them to stay in business. Many people are starting to purchase vehicles that are highly computerized and we’ve seen the newer technology being developed such as in Tesla’s electric cars. These kinds of developments are going to make it extremely difficult for smaller repair businesses to keep their doors open if they are not being trained in them. While I do understand how it would be extremely complicated to stay up to date in teaching repair and maintenance on newer, computerized technologies, I wonder how this will change the small automotive shops we currently see throughout small town America.

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One thought on “Staying Current: New Technologies Challenge Instructors and Students

  1. Abby,

    Great post. I actually think this has been part of the auto manufacturers plan, even if I don’t think they’d ever admit it publicly. The more technologically advanced cars are made, the more money it will cost to get into a the car repair business. A car repair shop used to need grease, tools, oil and knowhow. Now you need very sophisticated technology to work on a car.

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