Online driver training can be effective, but only if carefully designed to avoid boredom and distraction. Those are the findings in PACTS report Shifting face-to-face driving safety training online: current understanding and best practice.
Presenting online as if trainees are in the same room does not work, the report says. For the best outcomes, ‘super rich’ online learning environments need the course length, group size, interactive elements and more to be just right.
The authors, members of PACTS Road User Behaviour working party, have drawn together knowledge from the last three years to show their understanding of the changes involved in new ways of training. They outline the challenges instructors can face when teaching online – such as avoiding distracting virtual backgrounds and encouraging interaction with trainees via a quiz and informal chat. Instructor feedback should also be carefully managed: being criticised in your own home is more threatening than in a classroom.
Despite Covid restrictions having been eased, the benefits of online training are clear, and many providers are still using it. This report, Shifting face-to-face driving safety training online: current understanding and best practice, is recommended as the first stop for those in the driver training industry.
Professor David Crundall, Department of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University said, “While the rapid shift to online delivery has been largely successful, it is vital that driver safety courses are effective and engaging to improve road safety. This is the first time that specific driver training guidance for virtual learning has been published and we hope that it addresses any challenges that trainers and organisers have faced since the pandemic.”
“Effective training is vital so people who drive can understand how to play their part in a safe transport system,” says PACTS Executive Director Jamie Hassall. He continued, in appreciation of the work by PACTS members, “this report, written by professionals from across PACTS wide range of membership organisations, clearly lays out the way for the best delivery of online training. PACTS are grateful for their contribution to our growing library of research.“