The transport industry has been slower to adopt online training than many other industries, but that is changing as transport companies are installing dedicated training computers or providing tablets for use in the cab which are internet connected.
Online driver training is now seen as an option which delivers a lot of value at an affordable price. In the transport industry, work can seesaw between periods of intense activity and periods of waiting around. This downtime can be productive when a driver is given the ability to upskill at their own pace.
In some countries, driver CPC (continuing professional development) is mandatory, and online courses provide an option where a driver might find it difficult to attend a classroom-based course due to their geographic location or their work schedule. And that highlights one of the primary benefits of online learning for drivers: flexible scheduling.
Dispatchers and supervisors in transport companies are well aware of the difficulties of booking training several weeks in advance only to find on the day that a shipment is arriving early (or was late from the day before) or another driver has called in sick and the person who was supposed to be on the training is now required so that the company meets the client’s expectations. Online training can be done in short sessions over a number of days or weeks whenever it is convenient.
Literacy and language are major issues in the transport industry. In fact, a study showed that 43% of all workers have some language or literacy difficulties and workers in the transport industry are more likely to have reading and/or learning difficulties, or English as a second language, than many other industries, therefore the literacy support offered in online learning is important, as is the ability to review course materials multiple times (something that’s not possible in a classroom situation).
For people who find it difficult to maintain attention, course materials can be taken in short sessions of five to 20 minutes which optimises the concentration window that a person has for learning. Course materials are usually available for a number of weeks or months which means they can be revisited multiple times.
Consistency of delivery is important. An online course delivers the learning materials in the same way every time. It avoids instructor bias or scenarios where the instructor might not be on their game on that particular day.
Monitoring and tracking of a trainee’s specific performance is very difficult for supervisors when the trainee attends an off-site course. With online training, the supervisor can drill down into minute detail and discover which specific sections or questions the trainee struggled with.
Online training has less of a carbon footprint than classroom-based training due to less travel requirements.
The price is much more appealing for online training. As there is no need to subsidise a trainer and classroom, course costs are much lower. Costs incurred by the trainee are favourable, too, as there is no travel time and downtime is kept to a minimum.
Finally, supervisors and business owners can assess the training material without having to attend a full course by simply purchasing an additional course licence, giving them confidence that the training meets their requirements.
Supervisors can monitor multiple drivers at the same time. Drivers can be doing one or more courses. In some cases, valid certificates for certain qualifications can be generated online; certificates of achievement are provided for courses that don’t require a formal qualification.
In the case where an online learning course requires a practical assessment, this can sometimes be delivered by a supervisor following instructions provided, while for some courses (such as those requiring unit standards from an approved educational institution) a final classroom session or practical assessment with a qualified driver trainer may be required. However, these sessions are much shorter as they are simply testing the driver on skills acquired through the online learning.
To succeed in delivering online driver training, a company must provide a means for the driver to complete the training (e.g. a computer, tablet or smartphone) and treat online training like any other training by scheduling time to complete it.