Feb 2015: Technology support in the qualification of professional drivers … a matter of quality

ICT-DRV conference audiance
Panel of innovative solutions
Final conference panel

On February 12/13 the European conference on „Technology-supported training in the qualification of professional drivers … a matter of quality” took place. More than two years of project work are heading for their finals with this conference. 11 partners from 9 countries from Poland to Canada investigated the question how e-learning and simulator training can be integrated into professional driver training with high quality in order to realise ideal learning environments for drivers.

Perfectly trained professional drivers are key to more safety on European roads and at the same time responsible for the success of today’s transport industry. New media and its integration into professional driver qualification are an opportunity as well as a challenge for all those involved. About 100 guests representing transport companies, education providers, authorities and policy, research and learning media developers had the opportunity to discuss and exchange with colleagues from 18 countries from South Africa to Canada about up-to-date information on the application of new media within training and related instructional design.

The integration of e-learning and simulator training into initial qualification and periodic training in the context of EC Directive 2003/59 differs strongly across Europe. Existing regulations are usually limited to technical requirements and requirements on documentation. The European Directive makes no or no sufficient contribution to this discussion. This leads to deficits with regarding to learning considerations in the context of media-supported learning offers. A supportive legal framework is, however, fundamental in order to reach high quality, as it has been concluded by the project team from the results of their work. The project team therefore proposes to clearly integrate technology-supported learning into Directive 2003/59 as an additional / complementary training option. The learning outcomes approach of the European Qualifications Framework is here considered as the common European basis in order to foster the useful and high quality application of media-supported training. This has been tested in e-learning and simulator training pilot projects within ICT-DRV that focused on reaching of concrete learning outcomes with appropriate instructional design approaches.

At the same time the project results advise against considering technology support within training as an indicator of quality. Technology-supported training rather requires very concrete quality considerations with regard to didactics in order to be usefully integrated. The project team for instance concluded that e-learning requires a concrete praxis-oriented component in order to provide an added value for the training of professional drivers. While for simulator training the aspired learning outcomes should decide about the applicability of a simulator and about its necessary complexity. Basis for the application of technology is in any case a well defined and adjusted instructional design. Especially at this point the project partners see a large deficit because research and development work with regard to learning, learning technology and vocational education praxis take place separately from each other. Successful practical examples of innovative training solutions resulting from a dialogue between those areas of work have been presented and discussed with great interest at the conference.

Experts for simulator training and e-learning, professionals from vocational education and training, representatives of European policy and stakeholders as well as developers of technology-supported learning solutions for professional drivers finally agreed that research and praxis from all areas involved need to step up to each other in order to make use of the great potential of technology-supported forms of training within professional driver qualification. At the same time a continuous dialogue is necessary in order to sharpen the awareness of all involved stakeholders for high quality within vocational education and training. The conference has been the starting point in order to foster this dialogue within the practical realisation of professional driver qualification with the overall aim to make the professional driver occupation more attractive and to increase safety on European roads.

(text of this press release in EN and DE)

Sep 2013: Project identifies quality gaps in e-learning and simulator training for professional drivers in Europe

E-learning and simulator training do so far not yet have the relevance within professional driver qualification as expectable from the possible benefit of such training approaches in this vocational field. At the same time it is not yet made use of these tools full potential within training due to negligence of the learning component in favour of technical innovation. This reveals the European project ICT-DRV after its first round of research work since its start beginning of 2013.

Legal frameworks especially in the context of EC Directive 2003/59 vary strongly with regard to e-learning and simulator training. While the majority of EU Member States does not approve the use of e-learning outside the classroom, this form of learning is accepted in other Members States. Similarly also regulations with regard to scope and requirements on the application of simulators within training differ and partially even hinder the integration of such training methods strongly.

Europe-wide the results show that so far technical innovation has been the major focus of development and implementation work in this context, while learning considerations did not yet receive the necessary attention. The actual facilitation of learning and the learning transfer play a rather inferior role and are only in very rare occasions considered systematically. This is also reflected in requirements on simulators that rather focus on technical performance rather than on the necessary requirements in order to facilitate the aspired learning.

Research, however, agrees that e-learning as well as simulator training strongly benefit from such considerations about learning and from the application of instructional design models. But the current e-learning and simulator training praxis so far falls far behind its possibilities with regard to learning success and transfer due to this strong focus on technical innovation rather than on the learning component.

The ICT-DRV partners address this deficit with their current work on prototype applications and training designs that address specifically the learning dimension of e-learning and simulator training within professional driver training. One of the ICT-DRV prototypes for instances focuses on the development of a tutor-supported distance learning course on load security, meant for implementation outside the class-room but close to the work place. The effective use of high-end (state-of-the-art) as well as low-end simulators with regard to different kinds of aspired learning outcomes in order to optimally train defensive driving skills with the appropriate type of simulator is tested in one of the projects simulator pilots.

The results and experiences made in these pilot applications will be further used for the development of recommendations and quality indicators in order to improve the learning perspective and therefore the impact of professional driver training with e-learning and simulator training on road safety and employability of professional drivers in Europe.

The ICT-DRV project is implemented by eleven partners from nine countries, among them Germany, United Kingdom, France, Poland and Canada. The project ICT-DRV will on the whole take 30 months (December 2012 – May 2015). The European Commission funds ICT-DRV in the course of the Lifelong Learning programme. For questions about the project, please contact eu-project.akademie@dekra.com.

Jan 2013: ICT-DRV – The new project gathers momentum

ICT-DRV project consortium, Dec 2012, Bonn (DE)

(text EN/ text DE)

Technology-based training in professional drivers qualification

Stuttgart, January 2013: The new European project ICT-DRV aims to further improve professional drivers qualification using technology-based trainings in order to meet the needs of both industry and society, concerning well-educated professional drivers. But how can current training in class rooms, or on site be sustainably enriched by using technical utilities like simulators or computer-based learning, to actually improve the individual learning successes of the drivers? This question will among others be a guiding question for the work of the ICT-DRV-partners from all over Europe and Canada. Eleven partners and nine associated partners work together on the project ICT-DRV, among them unions, authorities, training organisations, but also hauliers and institutes of different universities. At the projects end recommendations will develop for a learning beneficial embedment of simulator- and computer-based training elements into professional drivers training according to directive 2003/59 EC all over Europe.

As a first step, the project consortium analyses the current practice of simulator- and computer-based learning in professional drivers qualification in each of the countries involved, as well as the state of the art with regard to research and development results concerning this topic. This is to create a sound basis for the overall project work. From summer 2013, the project develops and tests practical exemplary applications of technology-enhanced training to sensibly complement current training practice. And also trainers on site, who will be a part of technology-based learning in the future will receive a pilot training for trainers specifically for the projects methodical focus, based on current scientific and practical findings. During the whole lifespan of the project, training facilities, scientists, competent bodies, developers of technology based learning materials, industry and professional drivers will be actively involved into the project. On a long-term basis, this intends to lead to a close and lively discussion between all the stakeholders, which will thus enhance professional drivers initial and periodic training didactically expedient by technologically supported media, and also deconstruct prejudices against such ways of learning. A long-term goal is, to make this also a part of the implementation of directive 2003/59 EC, to widely offer technology-based learning also in professional drivers qualification and thus further individualise learning in this occupation. Therefore, the ICT-DRV partners will work on quality standards, to ensure a sensible use of these learning methods in future.

The Project ICT-DRV is based on the findings of the currently finishing project ProfDRV (www.project-profdrv.eu), which was also funded by the lifelong learning programme of the European commission. ICT-DRV has started its work in the end of 2012 and will be finalised in 2015.

Your input is needed:

We are continuously looking for professional drivers, employers, trainers, representatives of social partners or public/competent bodies in order to get your feedback or input on different aspects of our projects work.