Why immersive learning makes a lasting difference
Over the last couple of decades, the landscape for professional driver training has been shaped by Driver CPC.
As a mandatory learning framework affecting most HGV and PCV drivers across Europe, it's fair to say that it's influenced the way in which training is both planned and delivered.
Of course, like most things in life, it's not perfect. By far the biggest issue (from my perspective) is the way it's implemented; it creates flexibility for countries but different learning outcomes and ability for drivers, which contradicts the very point of having a periodic training syllabus in the first place.
Some countries are addressing the imbalance. In the UK, for example, a consultation is underway to examine the effectiveness and deployment of Driver CPC, both Nationally and Internationally.
With that being said, I don't believe it'll address the topic of driver training sufficiently enough. For me, the way in which most periodic training's delivered must change.
How much longer will it be acceptable to sit drivers in front of a PowerPoint or a laptop and be talked at for 7 hours?
Last week I had a conversation with a driver who received an online course from one of the leading Driver CPC providers in the UK. He lost the will to live after hour 4, the content didn't match the stated objectives (so most of it was completely irrelevant for him) and he had nothing to do but listen. Predictably he was muted several times after a much-needed sigh.
So yes, eLearning’s convenient, but is it effective?
I'm an advocate for the classroom. I like it. It's a chance for attendees to be face to face with a trainer. To talk to industry colleagues. To not be distracted. But if we keep the classroom, does anything need to change?
Perhaps it's time to start thinking immersive...
Technology has now reached a point where it's a great training aid rather than just a gimmick or a toy. If used appropriately, immersive tech can help drivers to retain more knowledge more of the time.
Take 360 video through VR headsets. It provides an immersive experience without the distraction or risk of actually being there. Compare the physical activity of riding a bike with a virtual one; how do I use the gears? Is the chain coming off? Oh-no-it’s-raining-and-I-don’t-have-a-jacket-under-this-hi-vis! The very act of riding a bike becomes a distraction to the objective of being safe on the road with other road users. Not so in the virtual world.
Using interactive apps can also help to train drivers by introducing a gamified learning experience. Everyone likes games. Just look at how popular platforms like SLIDO are when it comes to conferences. If a driver uses an app to test their knowledge with quiz questions at regular intervals, boy does it break up those 7 hours!
Predictions suggest emerging technology like eye tracking will be used widely in professional development; the only thing stopping it is that so far, in the real world, nobody's really known how to use it or why.
But when you think about it, eye tracking is a natural fit for road safety and the insight you get is game-changing. You can teach drivers an awful lot.
I've personally discovered that where you look is not necessarily what you see, so when using eye tracking it's possible for drivers to learn how their eye moves, why it moves that way and how they can recalibrate their behaviour, especially in relation to defensive driving technique.
Together with anet360 and Hummingbird Logistics Services, we're looking forward to showcasing this technology with industry leaders and experts at an exciting event coming up on the 21st of April.
Within the heart of the Williams F1 team HQ in Oxfordshire, we'll be talking about the challenges of driver training and road safety, and how technology can make all the difference to a learning experience.
Our driver training courses are built on this innovative tech and designed with drivers in mind. Trainer-led, classroom-based, immersive-powered.
If you're a training provider, you can take advantage of the tech through a choice of subscriptions to help you deliver a better experience. To learn more, visit our website or call for chat on 0800 133 7110.