Auteco: committed to the safety of motorcyclists in Colombia

By: Erika Rincón

Bogotá, Colombia

The Auteco organization, with 72 years of market experience, is by far the leader of the motorcycle industry in Colombia. Its commitment to the country goes beyond motorcycle manufacturing and sales – to initiating and supporting social responsibility efforts pertaining to motorcycle safety.

Iván García has been Auteco’s Social Responsibility Chief for the past 8 years. In this role, he has spearheaded various critical projects including market research and client management. Garcia is also teaches at various universities in the city of Medellín.

The following is an excerpt from our interview with Iván García.

Interviewer: How was this motorcyclist social responsibility project conceived and what is its purpose?

Iván García: The World Health Organization has declared the motorcycle road accident rate to be an international health problem. Colombia has seen this first hand and, therefore, Auteco realized the importance of leading and delivering activities, exercises and initiatives around road safety. We believe it is our social responsibility to devise strategies and partner with other organizations to improve the accident and road safety rate figures – and driver education is our top strategy.

Therefore, we created the Auteco education program, which encompasses more than 10 social responsibility initiatives. One of them is the creation of an online training course delivered on an e-learning platform, Moodlerooms, which will allow us to reach a large number of new or future motorcyclists with a message of road safety, safe road behaviors and knowledge specific to their vehicle.

Interviewer: Why e-learning? Were you inspired by an international project or by a well-known case study?

Iván García: E-learning allows us to broadly communicate the road safety message to all motorcyclists; it gets us closer to the drivers on the road. We want to eliminate the barriers to road education that exist for motorcyclists and therefore, wanted to make available simple and informative courses that are accessible to all without any time or space boundaries.

Auteco has strong ties to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), one of the most important motorcyclist road safety organizations. MSF has been successfully using e-learning as a powerful tool to educate people regardless of their location. We looked to MSF as an example given their  initiatives and goals were similar to those of our project – as we wanted to reach most of the municipalities in Colombia with a clear road safety and safe motorcycle driving message.

We saw two major education gaps that we could help close: 1) the lack of knowledge on the part of those buying the motorcycle, and 2) the lack of an adequate education around motorcycle driving. Therefore, we believe that having free e-learning courses will allow us to reach many people in a fun and enjoyable manner with a very clear message. At a minimum, if by the end of the course learnershave gained certain awareness that motorcycle driving is a major responsibility, we will have made tremendous advances in achieving our purpose.

Interviewer:  How is the course structured?

Iván García: To market our safety and road education initiatives, we created a character and named him “Teco”. Teco is an exemplary, well-educated motorcyclist who knows his vehicle extraordinarily well and who also knows the responsibilities he assumes when riding a motorcycle. We use Teco to market our message of safety and to increase awareness of our education offerings to all Colombians.

The content of our e-learning offering is that of a basic motorcycle driving course. It is divided into four sections. Upon completion, the motorcyclist will be prepared to drive his/her vehicle responsibly.

Interviewer:  How did you create the training content?

Iván García: There is a basic international motorcycle driving manual, which was the foundation for the content. We modified and adapted the content in this manual so it would be truly applicable to our local conditions and met more of the educational needs of our motorcyclists.

To accomplish this adaption, we built a project team of both internal and external people who are well versed in motorcyclist education. The team’s objective was to ensure that the student can identify with the information and that it is close to 100% applicable to his/her day-to-day life.  We hope that this will encourage the student to reflect on the need to learn how to drive his/her vehicle expertly.

And, we view Moodlerooms as our ally in our process to develop this dream. We have found the information, methodology, customization and tools proposed for this project to be in perfect alignment with our needs. And, more importantly – they have believed and supported us with our vision.

Interviewer:  What is next for this project?

Iván García: Next, we are going to focus on assessing our success. Since this is the first time that the motorcycle automotive industry in Colombia has had a virtual social responsibility initiative devoted to road safety, we must review and study critical success indicators, such as suitability of content and user acceptance.

We are considering future phases for drivers who require more thorough knowledge of driving techniques and people who rely on their motorcycles for work. Therefore, we are convinced that this project will increase in relevance and will become the focus of road safety educational initiatives industry-wide.

Interviewer:  How do you define success?

Iván García: Since this is a social responsibility initiative, and a part of our mission, the outcome we expect to achieve is to raise awareness and to educate motorcyclists on driving their vehicle, which will contribute to the motorcycle accident rate reduction. To measure this, we will look at the number of people we train – not only in the main cities where the highest accident rates are reported, but also beyond.

Interviewer:  What would be your recommendations to other leaders with similar goals?

Iván García: In the 21st century, all organizations should have e-learning initiatives. I think e-learning could eliminate all displacement issues we face in Colombia by removing the time and space barriers to education and knowledge that many currently face.

*Iván García – Auteco’s Social Responsibility Chief – Auteco

Photographer: Victoria Holguín

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