Training on demand
New technologies add virtual driving instructors
By Aaron Huff
In an ideal world, training drivers in safety, fuel economy and other performance areas would be an automated process, similar to how fleets track shipments or invoice customers. Surprisingly, such a scenario is close to reality.
Today, some fleets already use software to screen driver applicants automatically and compress the hiring process. Before drivers arrive for work, they already have completed training and other orientation tasks online.
Some fleets also assess driver skills using simulation technology. Once skills are assessed, they can assign computer-based training to fill the gaps. Once drivers hit the road, training can be assigned automatically using data collected from onboard computers ranging from poor fuel economy to critical safety events such as speeding or hard braking.
While no technology can replace traditional instructor-led training completely, it makes it possible for instructors to conduct quicker assessments, target their training for each driver and direct human resources to the most at-risk drivers.
In January, J.J. Keller launched an interactive on-demand training center at www.jjkellertraining.com. The portal includes a learning management system (LMS) that fleet managers can use to enroll drivers in courses – both basic and master levels – and track their progress. The system can track when drivers logged in, for how long, what courses they completed and their scores. Any “manual” classroom training also can be recorded in the LMS.
Carriers can customize the front page of the portal that drivers see when they login to complete assigned courses, such as creating a welcome message with a company logo. Because the training is interactive, drivers can complete the online courses at their own pace.
“It is really designed for maximum efficiency,” says Joel Landsverd, senior product development specialist for J.J. Keller.
Vertical Alliance Group has an online LMS called Infiniti that includes a resource center with more than 200 training videos for transportation companies. The LMS also allows companies to import their own material, such as videos and PowerPoint slides, and develop their own test questions. A subscription to Infiniti comes with “all-you-can-eat” training, says Bob Brittan, director of marketing.
Currently, carriers that use the Qualcomm MCP200 onboard computing platform can have drivers take training in the cab. Vertical Alliance Group is working with EBE Technologies to automate the process of assigning training to drivers based on real-time performance information from speeding, hard braking and other “triggers” captured by onboard computers, Brittan says.
Simulation technology can be used to assess drivers – both new hires and tenured employees – faster and more thoroughly than a traditional in-vehicle instructor-led approach.
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