Comparing PRO-TREAD online driver training to other companies? Of course you are. You're a safety professional, and due diligence with your partners comes with the territory. So how do you compare the different types of training out there on the market? What should be important when it comes to training?
Priority 1: Drivers Need to Take the Training
How much does it cost to bring in drivers for training? To pull them off the road? To call them in for a Saturday safety meeting? To pair up a senior driver with a junior driver? All these are decent ways to train, but expensive! You need a convenient way to get drivers to take training that doesn't slow down your operations. Training must reach to drivers on a regular basis (say, monthly) at a time that's convenient to them. Maybe that's on their laptop at home. Or on their smartphone or tablet while being loaded. Drivers are hard enough to keep around; don't make it worse by forcing training on them at a time that could be better spent earning.
Priority 2: Drivers Must Understand the Courses
One of our newer clients told us that one of the many reasons she chose us was because both her experienced drivers and her drivers for whom English is a second language understand and actually enjoyed the courses. One senior driver, after taking his first Pro-TREAD lesson, told her: "It's amazing what you forget over a few million miles."
Priority 3: Drivers Must Retain the Information
When it comes to learning, people retain far more if they are actively engaged. There's a classic study on how much students learn based on how they were taught, and basically the best way to teach someone is to be interactive. Which is to say, they have to learn, hear, respond and do.
Priority 4: You Must Prove They Mastered the Training
How do you know the driver took and retained that training? With a video, who knows if they paid attention? Or with online video, if they fast-forwarded it or let it run in the background? That's not going to stand up in court to a plaintiff's attorney if that driver gets into an accident.
You want a training company with courses that don't let drivers skip forward, and that test for mastery of the training along the way. That type of training, called "mastery-based training," is used by the US Army and NASA. For every few minutes of training, there is a quiz. If the driver doesn't get the question right, they have to watch the material again. This guarantees they pay attention, and provides legal protection for you because the driver affirmatively chose the right answer. And it's done automatically, every time.
We even have one competitor that will provide printed quizzes to go along with a video: How long will it take your safety director to grade those quizzes? What a nightmare!
Priority 5: Make Sure the Training is Up-to-Date
Look at the training videos before you buy. Look at all of them. Does the fashion look out of date? Are the trucks older? Chances are that video hasn't been updated in 5-10 years. As the saying goes, you don't care how the sausage is made, but here's some inside information about why our computer animated lessons are always up-to-date: Video with actors takes a lot longer to produce and update than digital animations.
Seems counterintuitive, right? How long could it take to put a guy in front of a camera? Well, a surprisingly long time, because anything less than good video looks cheap and homemade, and clients and drivers will kill you over it. Lighting, sound, wardrobe, waxing the truck, sweeping the lot, editing, etc. And if it's not the same actor, then you have to figure out why you're introducing another "character." It seems overly complicated, and IT IS!
Compare that to computer animation, where any one of our producers can open the computer models, make a few changes, record the voiceover (which is done in-house so we always have the same "characters"), and push the lesson live.
When the FMCSA outlawed hand-held cell phones in commercial trucks, we updated our lesson over a weekend and still had time to attend a BBQ.