Everyday thousands of cars line the highways. Big cars. Small cars. Compact vehicles. SUVs. FWD. Luxury cars or your entry-level models. There is a lot of technical and electrical work that happens on the garage floor that ensures you have a smooth drive. This month, we’re shining the Alison Publisher Spotlight under the hood on all things automotive with Steven Liguori

Introduction and Background

Please share with our learners a bit about your background.

My Dad was an automotive technician and I enjoyed working with him on family and friend’s cars.  

I took a two-year Master Automotive Technician course from National Radio Institute in Washington D.C. and an Electronics Technology course from Cleveland Institute of Electronics in Ohio.  These courses gave me a solid foundation in both automotive and electronics that allowed me to advance in the automotive field. I received my first opportunity in 1979 at an Oldsmobile Dealership as an entry level technician.  I worked 26 years at several General Motors dealerships as an automotive technician, shop foreman, quality control technician and in house trainer of new technicians.   

In 2005, an injury to my hands led me to pursue a teaching career at an automotive school in New York. In 2015, I semi-retired and moved to Florida with my wife, Susan where I started creating online courses.

You had a long career as a Certified Master Automotive Technician for over 35 Years. What made you venture into becoming an automotive instructor?

An injury to my hands led me to pursue a teaching career.  I found that I loved helping others learn and I always looked for easier ways to explain a concept to fellow technicians and customers. I became a certified A.S.E. (Automotive Service Excellence) Master Technician in 1983 and recertify every 5 years.  

Publishing on Alison

Please tell us more about your passion for teaching and coaching.

I have had a passion for coaching and teaching for the longest time. This passion has carried over to my teaching where I am always looking for a better way to explain something so I can reach more students.

What made you decide to create courses on Alison?

Zainab Qaiserani and the Publisher Development Team invited me to host my courses on Alison.com.  I researched Alison, and also found someone I knew in Germany that already had his courses on Alison.  He recommended Alison saying he felt my courses would do well there.

What do you enjoy most about publishing on Alison?

Publishing on Alison is different than most other education sites.  They have a team member review and assist with grammar, format and course descriptions. After this process, it’s a better product than the initial course, and for that, hats off to Alison.

What lessons have you learned as a self-publisher on Alison?

 As a self-publisher on Alison, I have learned to choose better language and syntax for titles, lessons, and topic descriptions.   

How has being a self-publisher on Alison changed your life?

The easy answer is that Alison.com has provided another source of income to my income stream. Alison has allowed me to reach more people interested in automotive electrical.  As a teacher, the students are the reward.

Courses on Alison

Tell us a bit more about your courses on Alison.

My courses on Alison.com are automotive electrical related.  I currently offer:

What do people enjoy most about your courses?

Students all over the world have told me my courses have finally allowed them to understand automotive electrical.  Many of my students have commented that I have helped them pass their electric A.S.E. (Automotive Service Excellence) certification test.  One student in India said that I taught him more in my 2-hour beginner electrical course than he learned in a 2-month classroom program he paid for. 

They like the simple but relative explanations and the animated examples. 

Who should take your courses?

 My courses are for anyone with an interest in automotive electrical that wants to learn a new skill.

Learning automotive, electrical and electronics

How can a learner, with no technical background but a love and interest in cars prepare themselves before enrolling in your course.

To prepare for my courses, a student could search for a few short videos on automotive electrical basics and how to use a multimeter.  My courses will then help demystify and clear up the parts that they did not comprehend.

Automotive is quite hands on. How can learners master precision throughout their studies online?

Engine rebuilding and replacement, repairing or replacing steering gears, brake components, and maintenance services are very hands on. You need to:

  • take some type of hands-on course, 
  • have guidance from someone with experience, or 
  • have practiced working with tools, taking things apart and putting them back together.

With that said, a student can master the fundamentals, the theory of operation and the most important skill of all these days which is researching symptoms and finding the correct diagnostic charts, schematics, and assembly guides to help the repairs they are looking to do.

What skills and qualities would help an individual succeed in this field?

  • Computer skills to find the information needed to diagnose and repair what they are working on is key.  
  • If the student intends to do the repair work themselves, they need the ability to use your hands, hand tools, air tools and electrical power tools.
  • The other missing link is the ‘I want to find the answer’ quality.  The challenge of diagnosing something, the detective mentality.  The person that keeps playing a video game until they find a solution to beat a certain level and move on to a new one is a good candidate. 

The person who is afraid to try will tend to struggle in the automotive industry. 

e-Learning in automotive

How does e-learning change face-to-face training?

E-learning is a great compliment to face-to-face training, especially for students that can focus on the online course they take without being distracted.  As time passes, more schools will incorporate both e-learning and face-to-face training into their course offerings. 

How should learner’s approach electrical and electronics systems?

Learners need to realise that the electrical and electronics arena of automotive is less ‘take apart and look for broken parts’, and more understanding how something works. Additionally, learners must find out what specific symptom is present, and then use the proper diagnostic information and tools to narrow down the amount of hands-on work needed to find and repair the problem.

Getting into the automotive space

What are the biggest challenges learners face within the automotive space?

The biggest challenge in the automotive space today is having the tools and resources needed to diagnose what you are working on.  If the right information is not available, new and experienced technicians tend to guess parts.  

I have received many calls for help where the tech has many components apart and says, “I replaced this and this and this and it still does the same thing.” The answer is they need to put everything back together and start again, identify the symptom, and reproduce it if possible.  Then, use the proper schematic and the description and operation sheet to narrow down the possible causes.

What tips can you give someone looking to get started in this field?

  • Take some online courses or attend a technical school and look for an entry level job in the field.  Dealerships are always looking for lube techs and lot attendants that can get you in the door. 
  • Once in, don’t hang with the people that sit around when there is nothing to do. 
  • Look for the guy that is working and ask if he or she needs help.

Electrical cars are becoming popular. What’s the future of the automotive space?

There has been a big push for electric cars of late. There are benefits to electric vehicles for sure, but there are also consequences.  

The processes for making the batteries for electric cars and the disposal of these batteries after their useful life may negate some of the benefits of having them.  The other problem is that the amount of trained high voltage technicians at a car dealership right now is very small compared to the number of technicians that will be needed if the forecast for the use of electric vehicles pans out.  

The good news for technicians is that if they want to become a high voltage electric vehicle technician, this may become a lucrative venture.

Last thoughts

What words of advice would you give someone who would like to become a publisher on Alison?

For someone looking to become a publisher on Alison I would recommend they have a friend or colleague watch their courses and read their copy and get feedback before trying to publish on Alison.  A raw course will take a lot of correcting and modification then one that is organized and has good titles, descriptions and content.

How has been your most important lesson or discovery when it comes to online education programmes?

My most important lesson since starting to create online programs is you never know which courses will be the most popular and productive.  I may think it’s a great course, but if nobody is watching it, it doesn’t matter. 

What career paths are available for someone interested in pursuing your courses?

Taking my courses are a great start for anyone looking to learn the basics of automotive electrical.  Knowing electrical and of course having some hands-on ability can help get you started in an automotive repair facility or car dealership. My Ohm’s law courses, while great for automotive, are even a great fit for new engineering students. 

What challenges/limitations can one expect in these fields?

There are challenges in every field or job that you may explore.  In automotive repair, poor management, lack of equipment, pressure to finish cars with no time to finish them are a few examples.  We live in a fast-paced world and sometimes the stress of the repair industry jobs can be a burden.  The good news is it is also a very rewarding field to be in. I take pride in repairing cars and trucks over the years as well as teaching new students to head in the same direction.

Looking ahead

What can Alison look forward to from you in the coming year to two?

I plan to enrich my Alison course offerings with some new courses on automotive electrical.  Courses on specific automotive systems are in the works as well as extra intermediate and advanced courses.

Any last words, advice, or wisdom you’d like to share with our learners?

 A few last words for Alison learners.  Whatever you do in life, I wish you the best.  Follow your heart and set a goal for yourself in whatever field of study you choose to explore.  I am privileged to be one of the Alison publishers and if my courses can help you get where you want to go, it is my honour to be a part of your success.

If these insights have revved your interests and you want to tinker with wheels, engines, and circuits, enroll in any of the free courses in automotive electrical, and electronics.

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