DARREN COTTINGHAM, DT DRIVER TRAINING
I’M FREQUENTLY ASKED how such a manual and physical task as driving, or operating a piece of machinery can be taught using a computer. Isn’t it better to have in-person training?
The answer is not necessarily and certainly not always.
Significant cost benefits and improvements in learning outcomes can be gained by embracing e-learning, which can be delivered on a computer, tablet or smartphone, and has been around for decades. Let’s have a look at the main benefits of e-learning to your company and your drivers and operators.
Cost-effective and better outcomes
E-learning is often more cost-effective because you are not paying for a trainer to travel to your location, or for your drivers to travel to the trainer’s location. And if you have drivers in remote places, then travelling to a training location could take up to a couple of hours each way. In many cases, e-learning can be accomplished more quickly than classroom-based learning meaning savings in wages, too.
Classroom-based learning can be frustrating as it is often set at the pace of the slower learners in the class. This means faster learners disengage through boredom, while those who can’t keep up stay silent through fear of looking foolish.
The average attention span is around 20 minutes. When you put a person in a three hour classroom training session, how much knowledge can they retain? E-learning has the advantage of breaking concepts down into brief modules that can be completed over several shorter sessions, perhaps even over a few weeks, if that’s more convenient. And the knowledge gained in each module can be immediately applied in the workplace.
For example, our online forklift operator’s (OSH) certificate course is split over 16 modules and augmented by a practical assessment. Rather than taking four-five hours in a classroom, it takes two to two and half hours, delivering a real cost benefit to a company.
Classroom-based learning can be frustrating as it is often set at the pace of
the slower learners in the class. This means faster learners disengage through boredom, while those who can’t keep up stay silent through fear
of looking foolish.
E-learning is inclusive and multi-faceted
Many employees do not use English as their primary language and e-learning can be offered in multiple languages.
Drivers don’t have to be embarrassed if they don’t understand a topic as they can take a module as many times as is necessary and do their own research.
Night-shift workers can do their training at night when they would usually be awake, rather than having to make their way to daytime training where they might be tired and disengaged.
Everyone receives the same training in the same delivery style with the same questions. There’s no variation for time of day or the instructor.
Look for carefully crafted content that suits your requirements and includes live video, animation, photos, diagrams and voiceovers followed by questions to assess a trainee’s understanding of the materials.
Data can also be extracted to show exactly how a driver has done in the training. As they are required to answer questions, this can be measured and used in an audit trail.
You retain control
When drivers go to an off-site, classroom-based course, how do you (as their manager, supervisor or boss) know what they are learning and whether they are engaged?
With e-learning you can see the exact content they will be learning. Some e-learning courses give access to the learning materials for up to a year or more, so if a driver begins to develop bad habits, they can run through the course again.
Is online learning the right solution all of the time?
From ‘how to’ videos on YouTube showing everything from changing a tyre to cooking a quiche, through to courses offered by MBIE for understanding your obligations as an employer, online instructional material has been broadly adopted and is widely available. But this type of learning is not a substitute for every type of training.
Tasks requiring teamwork or where social interaction is required are more difficult to teach online. When a company doesn’t have the right technology or a person to manage it, e-learning initiatives struggle.
Where does e-learning excel?
E-learning excels in conveniently and cheaply delivering in-depth theory about a topic in engaging ways. It gives much more scope for the demonstration of practical tips and tricks in a multitude of scenarios that might be difficult or expensive to duplicate with an in-person training session.