What makes an effective driver training program?
Don’t “provide videos & classroom training”, Change behavior!
In 2018, the American Trucking Association reports an industry-wide driver turnover of 88%. This causes pressures to cover important orientation and safety training quickly and, in many cases, across multiple locations to make sure all drivers are being adequately prepared. Furthermore, some drivers bring experience to their new positions, while others are brand new to the industry and your training program needs to be flexible for everyone. How do you do this?
There are three popular principles of learning that are critical when training your staff: engagement, efficiency, and authenticity. This article describes each of these principles and how fleets can employ them in their driver training program.
Design Training to be Engaging
The first step is to get the driver’s attention. Without having someone’s attention in the first place, how will they begin to learn? A lot of driver training is presented by a classroom teacher or a video. If your drivers are not engaged within the first 30 seconds (or less), you may lose their focus and attention.
What is important in learning is to help keep the learner’s mind from wandering and/or being distracted from outside or unrelated information. If there is a lot of unnecessary internal or external distraction or information presented to drivers, it may bog down their working memory and overwhelm or underwhelm them.
The good news is that instruction can be designed to support the cognitive process of learning.
- Ascertain Driver’s Learning Preferences: Ask your drivers how they learn best (animations, video, text, audio or online versus face-to-face).
- Keep Content Entertaining and “Fun”: Offer a variety of content formats and track what drivers access and report favorably. Consider how you can incorporate game-like features into orientation training. Make learning fun!
Making Training More Efficient
Think of efficiency as creating opportunities for drivers to have the best chance of retaining information. By presenting a lot of information in a compressed time frame, we may strain a driver’s working memory and reduce the chance that the driver will recall the information when it really matters.
Some drivers may not be able to take on new information. In a classroom setting, you may continue to move forward presenting information because you only have a certain amount of time to relay this information or, with videos, the content is presented the same to all learners at the same pace. At this point, some drivers may need more time to get more information on the topic.
The driver may need more time to elaborate or take in the new content. In fact, they may need to practice, see the information in a different way, hear the content in their own language, etc.
The end goal of the learning process is to have drivers retain and retrieve the information later. We want the information to be saved in their long-term memory so it can be recalled anytime.
- Create Shorter Sessions for Learning: Look at ways to make delivery and content more efficient. Break content down and provide a variety of delivery formats to support the learning of all drivers.
- Make the Learning Environment Accessible and Easy to Use: Ask your drivers what would make their learning experience better. The environment you learn in is as important for learning as the delivery and content.
- Activate Prior Knowledge: Activating can help save training time and reduce the cognitive load on drivers. It can also make training more relevant and interesting to drivers because you are focusing the training on what they do not already know.
- Build Opportunities to Practice and to Review: Assessments can be used to reinforce and review important topics.
Current training for drivers is delivered to them with little or no input. How do we know that what we are providing to drivers is relevant and meaningful to them to help them learn?
Drivers have different needs, and different carriers have different cultures and resources that impact their needs. Training needs to have the flexibility to offer different types of learning materials and formats to drivers. This is supported in the literature that learning environments and content must be differentiated because learners have different learning backgrounds, abilities, and learning needs.
- Conduct Ongoing Monitoring of Learning: Use tools such as surveys, feedback loops, and analytics to get ideas on what your drivers find relevant and interesting.
- Differentiate the Format, Learning Mediums, and Tools: Differentiate the types of learning formats, medium, and tools.
Glostone does more than offer a managed training video platform
If your truck driver safety training program is running on outdated DVDs and VHS tapes, it is time to bring your program into the digital age with our library of over 400 professionally produced videos covering training topics designed to enhance any existing safety training program.
Our training modules are designed to be efficient with videos ranging from 3-20 minutes in length and available 24/7 anywhere with audio and internet connection. There is a simple testing system and certification after completing each video or group of videos. Our online driver training solution lets you reach 100% of your fleet 100% of the time, with no lost miles and no lost weekends.
But Glostone has even more to help fleets create an effective training with free content on our website. In order to help you differentiate the format and learning mediums, we have a library of 100+ articles, 25 conference presentations, 15 webinars, 6 ebooks, or 4 refresher regulatory quizzes.
Glostone can even access your in-cab telematics, like Geotab, and analyze when drivers might need training in specific areas, such as harsh breaking, HOS training, defensive driving, and maintenance, and more.
Call or email us to Request our Course Catalog today, 503-607-1088. Also, be sure to join our monthly newsletter and check out all our content in our resource page.