Imagine golf is your passion, but you have a wicked slice costing you an extra stroke on every hole. Maybe you love to cook and dream of making macaroons like a famous French baker. Perhaps you have taken up playing the guitar and are struggling to learn more advanced chords.
You could search YouTube for tips and maybe you’d learn something new.
But what if you could spend eight hours with Butch Harmon, Mary Berry or Eric Clapton? They’d watch what you’re doing, show you how to do it differently — better, and give you real-time feedback as you’re working.
I expect your skills would improve, your passion would increase and your established habits would change forever. It’s the same with driving.
Learning Skills With Behind-the-Wheel Driver Training
Most people view driving as a routine task. Everyone does it. How hard can it be? The truth is much more complicated.
Professional fleet driving and safe driving are skills acquired through education, inspiration and practice. This is not unlike the skills developed in sports, culinary arts, music or any other rewarding pursuit. Solid fundamentals, practiced competence, disciplined emotions and habit execution are requirements when developing safe driving skills — like they are when mastering any other task.
Of course, the sobering distinction is that driving can have life or death consequences.
How E-Learning Reinforces Behind-the-Wheel Driver Training
Every year many commercial fleets, seeking meaningful safety performance improvement, choose YouTube-style information over the education that can only come from hands-on experience — one delivered by a noted professional.
This online information is often not much longer than a skit from Saturday Night Live. Good for a laugh, not for longevity. Information? Yes, e-learning information provides a bit of that. But training? Not so much.
However, e-learning is often marketed as primary training. The Collins English Dictionary defines training as “the process of bringing a person to an agreed standard of proficiency by practice and instruction.” The American Heritage Dictionary refers to training as, “the act, process or art of imparting knowledge and skill.”
E-Learning for drivers, when delivered as a follow-up action, can efficiently reinforce skills already learned through training — real training. It doesn’t work the other way around.
Smith System offers e-learning to reinforce or refresh our behind-the-wheel training content, as an introduction before attending a behind-the-wheel course, and as an option for fleets that have contemporary budget constraints impacting their ability to make the best training choice.
Do we recommend our e-learning in lieu of doing nothing? Yes. But the emphasis placed on safe driving through an investment of time and resources will speak louder to fleet drivers than any campaign or slogan.
The Road to Safe Driving Starts Behind-the-Wheel
Proven, behind-the-wheel driver training gains buy-in, changes behavior, improves performance and builds loyalty. If safe driving is culturally important, mission-critical and the right thing to do (which most companies would espouse), then behind-the-wheel training is the only road to promoting safe driving as a skill.
Just like the training needed to hit a straight drive more than 200 yards, produce a consistently good bake or play the opening riff to Layla. — Tony Douglas, CEO of Smith System.