3 Tips for Providing Driver Training to a Diverse Group of Learners

Jill Schultz, Sr. Editor - Transportation Safety 

April 28, 2021 

Trucking is a diverse industry. It employs individuals of various ages, backgrounds, and experiences. This diversity adds value to an organization, but it can also present challenges for even the most experienced driver trainer. What may work in an instructional setting for one individual may not work for another.

So, how do you tackle this challenge to provide meaningful instruction to all your drivers? The following are three tips to assist you in overcoming this challenge.

1. Consider Students' Learning Preferences 

Not all students respond in the same way to all types of instruction. To make use of what is being presented, students need to be able to relate to the content. Because of this, instructors need to consider various approaches, based on their students' learning preferences. 

Structured learners prefer a focused learning experience, personal interaction, and the use of printed materials (textbooks, handouts). Preferred learning activities include readings, written exercises, and demonstrations. 

Self-directed learners like to have a certain level of control and input when it comes to their learning experience. They need to know why instruction is being provided and why it's important. Preferred learning activities include games, problem-solving exercises, and simulation. 

Active learners want to be engaged in the learning process. They prefer interactive learning activities, group projects, and discussion. 

2. Use Multiple Delivery Methods

Not all students respond in the same way to all types of training. Use of multiple delivery methods can have a postitive effect on your students. 

Video. Studies show that videos help students retain information presented. When selecting a video, consider the type(s) of vehicle(s) your drivers operate, their level of experience, and the situations that they deal with on a regular basis. The closer the match, the more likely students are to pick up and retain information. 

Handouts. Effective handouts must be relevant, readable, and used with discretion (too many can clutter or confuse a presentation). They must address the topic and be brief and to the point. A handout should be able to be used by a driver as a quick and easy reference tool once he or she has left the training session. 

Demonstration. Demonstration can help a driver relate to a situation he or she may face on the job or a skill he or she may need to use at a later date. When demonstrating a skill, encourage driver participation by asking questions and/or encouraging discussion. 

Guest Speaker. A guest speaker can bring an authoritative atmosphere to your training session. He or she must have an expert understanding of the topic being presented. Examples of guest speakers include a law enforcement officer to present information on roadside inspections or a firefighter to present a lesson on fire prevention.

Technology. Technology can be especially useful in the delivery of interactive and problem-solving activities. When selecting these types of activities, recognize that not all students have the same level of experience using technology and may need some assistance. 

3. Encourage Discussion 

Meaningful and targeted discussion can help in promoting mutual respect. Encouraging participation in icebreaker activities, question and answer sessions, and open discussion can help in showing students they have many commonalities. 

Make sure all discussion remains constructive and respectful during your session.

Learn how J. J. Keller can help with your driver training program — Call 833.982.1236.