RTITB’s research with Driver CPC Instructors who have delivered remote Periodic DCPC, shows that the majority feel this training method could have a place in the long term.
During lockdown, members of the RTITB Master Driver CPC Consortium were approved by DVSA to deliver Driver CPC Periodic Training via web conference for groups of up to 12 Drivers. RTITB surveyed some of these organisations, who had collectively delivered remote Driver CPC training to 685 Drivers between 1st April and 1st June.
“The majority feel that going forward, remote delivery of DCPC should be an option alongside classroom delivery, to enable customers to choose the route they prefer,” says Laura Nelson, Managing Director for RTITB.
“Lots of Instructors have been positive about delivering remote Driver CPC and say that it should have a place in the long-term as it seems to improve driver engagement.”
One key benefit of remote delivery cited by Instructors was the removal of the need for Drivers and Instructors to travel to a particular venue for training. This has social and environmental benefits, but also can help shorten what can otherwise be a long working day, especially in the case of a 7-hour course. 73% of the training delivered remotely by those surveyed was 7-hour courses to groups of 6-10 Drivers.
Instructors also reported that the Drivers, all of whom had previously taken part in classroom Driver CPC courses, had found the remote course enjoyable and productive. Three quarters of Instructors surveyed said they had no problems at all engaging Drivers and made use of interactive elements such as quizzes (90%), group discussions (90%) and videos or presentations (27%). Overall, Instructors said they found that Drivers were more relaxed, and therefore more likely to interact and engage with the course.
“One objection we’ve heard a lot when discussing remote Driver CPC courses – which we’ve been considering for some time prior to lockdown – is that the technology would be a problem,” says Laura. “However, although it was the first time that many Drivers had participated in training using web conferencing, there were very few technical or connection issues.”
“Instructors found that video calling tools met their needs, and technical hitches were overcome by providing Drivers with log-in guidance and practice runs before the course,” Laura continues. “However, some older Drivers, with less general experience of smartphones and apps, did say that that they still preferred a classroom course environment.”
Another key benefit of Remote CPC highlighted was the reduced cost and environmental impact of using printed training materials, especially as Instructors found that the majority of existing topics were entirely suitable for remote delivery. Master Driver CPC Consortium members create their courses from a wide range of available modules, and the same selection of course material was used for the remote training. 70% of respondents stated that they did not have to change anything in order to deliver the course remotely.
Popular course topics for remote delivery for both PCV and LGV Drivers included; Operational Compliance, Safe & Economic Driving Theory, Health and Safety Emergency Actions, Drivers’ Hours, Emergency Actions, Professional Driver Health and Safety, Eco-Driving, Mental Health, Haulage Operations (compliance and enforcement), On the Road, Load Safety, The Professional Driver and Tachographs.
“Some organisations had concerns about verifying identity on remote courses, but the Instructors did not find this an issue,” says Laura. “In-house Instructors know the Drivers and have licence information on file making it simple to verify their identity, while training providers made licence checks in advance and asked Drivers to show their license to the camera each training day.”
On the issue of quality, it was suggested by a respondent that if remote delivery is to become a permanent option, that training modules should be reviewed to facilitate maximum effectiveness in remote delivery. The need to develop specific quality criteria for remote delivery was also raised. The ability for an auditor to ‘drop in’ to any remote course at any time was also noted as a way to ensure quality assurance and compliance, an important consideration if JAUPT approval is to be given to organisations delivering only remote courses in future.
“Overall, the environmental and economic benefits of remote Driver CPC training were seen as significant and could be especially game-changing for Drivers and employers located in geographically remote areas,” says Laura.
“At the moment, there is still too much uncertainty post Covid-19 to predict what will happen next around training, but remote courses should certainly be a consideration as transport trainers adapt to the ‘new normal’.”