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Executive Summary: In the automotive sales industry, success hinges on product knowledge training and customer engagement. Microlearning is a valuable approach, delivering bite-sized, interactive content. This enhances retention and engagement. With convenience, customization, and gamification elements, microlearning ensures sales professionals stay up-to-date. This is important, so they can provide important and accurate information to customers. This blog emphasizes the significance of product knowledge training and the suitability of microlearning in driving success in automotive sales.

John is a middle-aged employee at an automotive manufacturing plant. He graduated from engineering school years ago, and has been working at a car manufacturing plant ever since. He was quick to learn the skills required to do his job efficiently. Eventually, he got promoted and is now the manager of his plant. However, John has been experiencing some trouble recently. His plant is becoming digitized quickly. He is not sure how to keep up with the new skills and handle the digital skills gap.

According to the WEF, 50% of all employees worldwide will need reskilling by 2025 (Schwab and Zahidi, 2020). Nowhere will this dramatic change be more evident than in the manufacturing industry. Longtime manufacturing employees like John have to rapidly switch their skill set to something completely new. So companies are struggling to fill the 710,000 currently available jobs in manufacturing. New engineering graduates are unable to get hired despite the huge availability of jobs. They don’t have the skills the rapidly changing industry demands. 

According to a survey by McKinsey, only 30% of automotive manufacturers feel confident in their ability to respond to modern trends. This shows the absolute necessity for automotive manufacturers to quickly remodel their training programs to avoid being caught unprepared.

📣 Message for the reader

People forget nearly 90% of what they have learnt within just 7 days, unless the concepts are reinforced. That’s why employees swamped with documents, presentations, and classroom sessions are not likely to learn much.

However, time constraints make it difficult to reinforce vast concepts.

What can you do instead? Arm your employees with one concept at a time. Studies show the human attention span is only 8.25 seconds, so keep your training concise.

RapL is your software for that.

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What is the digital skills gap in manufacturing?

Manufacturers everywhere center their business models around a phenomenon known as Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 is named so because it is the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is a family of technologies revolutionizing the manufacturing industry through the introduction of automation and internet-connectivity for machines. These technologies include cloud computing, deep data analysis, and cyber systems.

The skills necessary to work well with Industry 4.0 technologies are changing quickly. They’re a total break from the skills that workers were building before. This introduces a digital skills gap among experienced employees.  John has decades of experience in automotive manufacturing. He and many others couldn’t keep up with all the new skills they’re expected to know to be proficient with the new technologies. New workers were trained for automotive manufacturing of a previous era, and didn’t know how to address the digital skills gap. This digital skills gap is becoming a pressing issue for the automotive manufacturing industry.  A study by Deloitte estimates that the number of unfilled manufacturing jobs in the US could rise to 2.4 million in the next five years alone. Not because of lack of worker availability, but because both old and new workers don’t have the skills needed to thrive in the digitized environment.

The digital skills gap in the manufacturing industry is largely due to the lack of workers who have the skills necessary to thrive in the digitized environment of Industry 4.0. Many of the technologies being implemented in the workplace now require a strong grasp of math. They also require a good grasp of software and technology. John is one of the many thousands of workers struggling to work comfortably and confidently with the technologies of Industry 4.0.

Why does the digital skills gap exist in manufacturing?

Behind the digital skills gap in manufacturing lies a confluence of issues springing up all at once. Here are the three most important causes:

  • Perception: Most young people today get their idea of manufacturing from popular media or older generations. This builds the perception that manufacturing is an industry for less educated people. These are technically-skilled young people the auto manufacturing industry desperately needs. But they aren’t keen to join the industry, because they perceive it as dangerous and boring.


  • Rapid retirement: Baby boomers are retiring in large numbers. The U.S. Census estimates 10,000 people from the workforce reach retirement age daily. Baby boomers are the most skilled and experienced workers in manufacturing. Their rapid exit from the workforce will deplete the industry of experienced people when they’re needed most.


  • Missing technical skill sets: Industry 4.0 requires employees skilled in both critical thinking and technology to harness new technologies to make production more efficient. The unprecedented access to deep levels of data requires managers and employees with a strong grasp of mathematical and statistical skills. Automation and AI require employees skilled in software and programming.


  • Soft skills gap: Industry 4.0 requires skills that go beyond the technical. Communication skills, social management, and critical thinking are skills that aren’t traditionally associated with automotive manufacturing. New engineering graduates aren’t trained in these skills. They’re unprepared to join the workforce to replace retiring baby boomers.

How is Industry 4.0 transforming the automotive industry?

According to McKinsey, the four most popular use cases for Industry 4.0 technologies are flexible automation, digital performance management, quality analytics, and AI inspections. Let’s take a look at some of these technologies and how they’ve impacted performance in automotive manufacturing plants around the world.




Intelligent robotics

Automate manual jobs and collect data on process flow to optimize it

Improves efficiency, quality, and ergonomics

Digital performance management

Use real-time data from the factory floor to improve decision-making and identify bottlenecks, using internet-enabled devices to replace paper-based processes

Increases reaction speed and cuts production time (one Asian car manufacturer saw a 47% decrease in production time)

Advanced data and analytics

Identify and fix root causes of defects by installing tablets at workstations to guide troubleshooting

One European car manufacturer saw a 40% increase in tasks accomplished correctly on the first try.

AI inspections

Pair camera systems with AI and machine learning to detect defects

Less resource-intensive inspections and decreased time to market 

It’s evident that Industry 4.0 is nothing short of transformational when implemented in manufacturing plants. But how can the digital skills gap be effectively overcome, so that the benefits of Industry 4.0 can be fully realized?

Microlearning and industry 4.0

Attention spans are getting shorter than ever in the modern world. With easy access to short and informational videos on Instagram Reels, Youtube Shorts, and the like, people have grown accustomed to learning what they need in a short time in just a few clicks.

Microlearning leverages the latest science on attention span, memory retention, and human psychology to help people learn effectively. By breaking up large chunks of information into bite-sized bits, microlearning provides a way to spend just a few minutes each day learning a specific and actionable topic. Focused microlearning modules can be accessed anytime and anywhere, allowing workers to learn at their own pace at a low cost of training.

One study found that the employees best equipped for Industry 4.0 had a confluence of skills. Industry 4.0 requires employees to have interdisciplinary knowledge that combines technical, organizational, and social qualifications (Saniuk et al., 2021). Microlearning platforms are highly suited to teach employees all these skills. This helps address and close the digital skills gap.

Going back, John found himself relieved when his company introduced a microlearning platform to upskill himself and other factory workers to use new technologies introduced into car production. One microlearning module taught him how to operate the robots that constructed car frames. Another module taught him how to interpret and act on the production data that those robots were reporting. John learned to manage his employees effectively after attempting another module that taught him how to resolve production bottlenecks using the new technologies. And he learned how to communicate effectively with his team to build a sense of camaraderie and to ensure the smooth running of the factory. He did all this while investing no more than ten minutes every day on assigned modules.

Microlearning is key to closing the manufacturing digital skills gap. It allows employees to grow their skills without a large time commitment off the bat. Each of RapL’s microlearning modules is designed to take less than five minutes per day. This allows employees to complete a daily session while on their lunch break or while waiting for their kids to get ready in the morning before getting dropped off at school. 

RapL’s proprietary platform uses AI and spaced repetition to help employees on the factory floor retain everything they learn without exerting undue effort. Scientists have found that information will almost certainly be forgotten if it’s not continually re-learned. RapL’s platform presents the same questions to employees over many days to make sure they remember and master the skill. And RapL uses AI to detect what skills individual employees struggle with, to focus training on those skills. This helps close the digital skills gap.

How RapL can close the digital skills gap

Here’s how RapL can help automotive engineers and technicians learn Industry 4.0 skills to close the digital skills gap:

  • AI-driven content personalization: Every employee brings a unique skill set and experience. RapL’s AI detects the strengths and weaknesses of each individual employee. The algorithm will assign daily questions to help address each individual’s specific knowledge deficiencies and help them master those skills. The digital skills gap converges slowly and steadily.


  • Individual learning paths: Everyone learns at a different speed. RapL’s platform allows employees with different skill levels to progress learning at their own pace. This makes sure that each technician can maximize their learning outcomes.


  • Spaced repetition: German scientist Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered the forgetting curve, proving that memory decreases over time. RapL strategically repeats questions over many days for built-in revision of previously learned content. This ensures the mastery of skills and knowledge by each engineer for the long term.


  • Gamification: Ebbinghaus also discovered that engagement and relevance are critical to learning effectively. RapL features gamified leaderboards, badges, and points to keep learners engaged in their learning. One learning manager wrote that RapL’s “gamification technique motivates employees predominantly, which results in high engagement.”


  • Interactive assessments: RapL’s interactive quizzes and assessments help evaluate each learner’s understanding of the material. The interactive assessments also encourage active participation and self-evaluation by learners. They provide learners and managers immediate and objective feedback on the learning progress.


RapL can also help automotive factory supervisors and learning managers distribute training materials scalably and effectively:

  • Software and training centralization: RapL is a centralized software platform where you can keep track of all your employees, courses, and training materials in one place.


  • Hierarchical organization: Within RapL, you can assign users to groups and roles. Groups can help sort employees into specific factories or locations, while roles can indicate a user’s job. This allows administrators to target certain modules only for employees who need them, while keeping the learning software centralized.


  • Lower training investment: Microlearning allows minimal time away from work. It also allows training to be split into smaller sessions, which reduces the cost of large, lengthy in-person training sessions.
  • Automation: RapL sends automatic reminders to employees every day to complete their daily tasks. This saves the LnD team from manually reminding employees to complete training.


  • Analytics and metrics: RapL reports granular data on metrics ranging from account activation rate to average time to complete modules. This data can be broken down by group and role. LnD teams can use this data to see if current training methods are furthering desired business outcomes. These metrics can also provide important insights that can be used to improve the effectiveness of training programs.


  • Scalability: RapL can be rolled out to as many employees as needed, without a hassle. It is a one-size-fits-all training solution for LnD needs.


By effective use of microlearning, John and his employer can help prevent experienced employees from being cast out by the pressures of Industry 4.0. With AI-driven content personalization, RapL can leverage the existing experience and knowledge of employees to prepare them with the new skills they need to reap the benefits of a digitized factory. It helps employees efficiently address the digital skills gap. John can onboard new engineering graduates with RapL to replace the older and retiring employees at his factory. 

RapL is the answer to bridging the automotive digital skills gap. Take full advantage of the production benefits enabled by Industry 4.0 by training your workforce to harness the technologies of digitized manufacturing. To ask any questions or schedule a demo of our platform, please contact us at

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Thanks for being with us all the way here

Dear reader, thanks for being with us all the way till the end. We suggest 2 things from here

1. Speak to us if you want a microlearning strategy deep-dive: Microlearning is extremely effective, if approached sensibly. Microlearning is the answer to today’s shortening attention spans and we know how to make learning successful via microlearning. Drop your context here and we shall partner with you for the rest.

2. Lap up more content: We have written some intense literature on how microlearning is the superglue between people and successful business operations. Access all of it here.

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