Look at the shelves in any safety manager's office and you will likely find a stack of binders that are stuffed with training material. Some of the documents probably support classes that are delivere...
Look at the shelves in any safety manager’s office and you will likely find a stack of binders that are stuffed with training material. Some of the documents probably support classes that are delivered by a third party, while others will be filled with lesson plans that were designed for in-house training programs.
A closer look will show the most important difference of all.
The well-crafted training material will have the dog-eared pages of a book that has been used time and again. Trainers will know the content off by heart and be able to locate specific information as easily as a driver can identify the highways on a well-worn map.
The other binders will simply be coated in a layer of dust.
Bernadette Allen, president of Charlottetown-based Future Learning, admits that poorly designed training material can actually be a waste of valuable time and resources. “All of it is within the reality of ‘There is never enough time, never enough money and never enough people to read it,'” she says.
In contrast, effective training material will consider a learner’s existing experience and knowledge, and help to convey a specific skill that is actually required by the industry.
Any training program should address a skill that is identified in an industry’s formal occupational standards, she says, referring to those that have been developed for the trucking industry by the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC).
“It’s developed by a lot of people in the industry who know what it takes to do a good job. You can use that to build your own training program or you can use it as a way to screen other training [material].”
The best training material will tend to be presented in self-contained modules and deliver the information using a variety of methods, she adds. An illustration may offer a clear look at the way a logbook needs to be filled out, but a case study will allow trainees to explore the different ways a trip can be completed within the Hours-of-Service rules. This is particularly important because people will learn in different ways.
The material itself should also follow the commonly accepted approach to adult learning. Every piece should begin with a clear description of what the trainees can expect to learn, complete with a clear example that will show how the information applies, she says.
The language of the text will be important as well. Any written material will need to be clear and unambiguous, while the language should also reflect the terms that are used in the industry every day. And there should be additional space near the critical content, encouraging trainees to record their thoughts and comments.
Trainers may also want to reconsider the evaluation forms that are used at the end of the related training process, Allen adds. While most of these documents ask trainees whether they liked the instructor or the food that was delivered during the lunch break, many of them overlook the biggest question of all -do the trainees feel that they will be able to apply the information that they learned?
“If it’s about rules and regulations, the training is about applying them,” says Allen. “Can you fill in the form? Are you able to plan your route?”
Those who deliver any of the information also need to be reasonable when setting their learning outcomes.
“The biggest problem I see is that people expect training will do more than it actually can, unless they are willing to invest more time,” she explains. “If you are really changing behaviours or learning new skills, there is no quick fix.”
But the proper training material will still help to ensure that trainees learn the information as efficiently as possible.
The Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council (CTHRC) works with and on behalf of this vibrant and vital industry. Building on the experience of our members and our council expertise, the CTHRC is the foremost resource for information services and solutions related to recruitment and retention, training, and human resources management in the Canadian trucking industry. For more information about improving the level of skills at your fleet, visit www.cthrc.com.
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