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5 Background State and local transportation agencies require a highly skilled and qualified workforce. To meet this requirement, state and local transportation agencies need effective training and workforce develop- ment programs. However, extensive training and workforce development requires resources, some- thing few transportation agencies have in abundance. As a result, agencies are pursuing alternative means to train and develop their employees, specifically by adopting alternative delivery methods. One alternative method frequently used by agencies is information and communication technologies (ICT). ICT allows agencies to reduce some of the delivery costs associated with traditional forms of training, such as training facility fees and travel, while promoting greater access to training and improved content consistency. The objective of this synthesis is to document how state and local transportation agencies are using ICT to train their workforces and the planning and resources required to implement and maintain a training and development program. This information can help inform agencies that are considering the implementation of ICT-supported training or seek to improve or expand existing programs. report organization This synthesis of practice is organized into the following five chapters: â¢ Chapter oneâIntroduction. This chapter introduces the synthesis, providing background infor- mation and summarizing the scope and organization of the document. â¢ Chapter twoâLiterature Review. The findings from the literature are summarized and pre- sented. Topics covered in the literature review include the use of ICT-supported training and reasons behind its expanded use, the impact of ICT-supported training, and effective ICT design and development practices. â¢ Chapter threeâState of the Practice. The results of the survey of practices are presented in this chapter by topic area. The topic areas include the following: â ICT usage; â Implementation of ICT; â Designing and delivering ICT-supported training; â Tracking and evaluating ICT-supported training; and â Future ICT efforts. â¢ Chapter fourâCase Examples. This chapter summarizes the information provided during inter- views with select survey participants and training partners. Interviewees responded to questions about ICT implementation and development, the resources required to support their program, the partnerships used to support ICT-supported training, and how they measure the impact of training. â¢ Chapter fiveâConclusions. The synthesis concludes with a summary of key observations from the findings and suggested areas for future ICT-supported training research and outreach that were gleaned from the information sources. â¢ Appendices. This synthesis has two appendices, one of which appears only in the electronic version of the report. The online appendix provides a copy of the questionnaire that was distrib- uted electronically to the state and National Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP)/Tribal chapter one introduction
6 Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) participants. The second appendix, which is available in the print and electronic versions, presents the responses by state and LTAP/TTAP participants for each of the questions posed in the survey. terminology Several terms used throughout the synthesis were defined in the survey for use by practitioners in preparing their responses. These terms and the definitions that were provided are listed here. These same definitions were used in presenting the survey results in this document. â¢ Asynchronous trainingâtraining that is completed independently by the learner without the presence of an instructor or facilitator. â¢ Blended trainingâtraining that is delivered using two or more instructional methods (e.g., mobile and instructor-led, classroom training). â¢ Computer-based trainingâtraining delivered on a computer by means of a software program; does not require an intranet/Internet connection; training is completed independently according to the participantâs pace and schedule. â¢ Information and communication technologiesâalso known as Information Technologies, ICT is any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit, or receive information electronically in a digital form. â¢ Learning management system (LMS)âa software application for the administration, documen- tation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of training. â¢ Mobile trainingâtraining specifically designed as a mobile application and delivered by a mobile device (e.g., smartphone or tablet); training is completed according to the participantâs pace and schedule. Web-based training that can be viewed on a mobile device is not included in this category. â¢ Synchronous trainingâtraining is completed with an instructor or facilitator and possibly other learners at a designated time and location. â¢ Trainingâa structured, repeatable learning experience that follows a formalized plan. â¢ Video conference trainingâtraining delivered through a video conferencing system; an instructor is present to facilitate instruction. â¢ Web-based trainingâtraining delivered online through the Internet or intranet; training is completed independently according to the participantâs pace and schedule. â¢ Web conference trainingâtraining delivered through an online web conferencing system; an instructor is present to facilitate instruction. Definitions for the ICT delivery methods (e.g., web-based training) were provided to sur- vey respondents before they completed the survey. However, a review of the survey results and case example interviews indicates that several of these terms are used interchangeably or incor- rectly. For instance, some respondents may not recognize the nuances between computer-based training (completed locally without an Internet or intranet connection) and web-based training (requires an Internet or intranet connection to complete). In addition, some responses indicate a misconception about the meaning of mobile training as it applies to this synthesis. Some responses indicate a belief that mobile training includes any training that can be completed on a mobile device, rather than training designed specifically as a mobile application. Follow-up communica- tion with respondents confirmed that this misapplication of terminology occurred in at least three instances. Therefore, survey results pertaining to the usage of each method need to be interpreted carefully. SyntheSiS oBjectiveS The objective of this synthesis is to document how state and local transportation agencies are using ICT to train their workforces and the planning and resources required to implement and maintain such training programs. For the purposes of this synthesis, training includes any topic delivered by an ICT system, whether it be administrative, technical, or soft skills training.
7 This synthesis also seeks to capture information on the future direction of ICT-supported training. SyntheSiS Scope and approach The synthesis addresses several aspects of ICT-supported training programs and presents current practices in the following areas: â¢ ICT usage. How many agencies are using ICT, and what types of ICT are they using? â¢ Implementation of ICT. What efforts were completed by agencies to implement ICT, including review of other industry ICT models? â¢ ICT-supported training design and delivery. What steps does the agency complete to design, develop, or acquire ICT training? â¢ Tracking and evaluating ICT-supported training. What processes and tools are being used by agencies to track and evaluate the impact of ICT-supported training efforts? â¢ Future ICT efforts. What expectations do agencies have about the use of ICT-supported training over the next 5 years? The information contained in this synthesis was obtained using three different sources. First, a literature review was conducted to provide background information about the state of ICT-supported training practice. Second, a survey was distributed to the National Transportation Training Directors organization and the National LTAP/TTAP Programs asking for information about their ICT-supported training practices. Forty state departments of transportation (DOTs) (80%) and 38 LTAP/TTAPs (66% of the 58 agencies) responded to the survey. Finally, follow-up phone interviews were conducted with representatives from one state DOT, LTAPs, the Transportation Curriculum Coordination Coun- cil (TCCC), and the Center for Training Transportation Professionals at the University of Arkansas, to expand on the following three aspects of their programs: â¢ ICT implementation and development. What was done to implement the ICT program, and how does it function? What resources are required to support the program? â¢ Partnering. What partnerships and resources have been established to support ICT-supported training, and how do they operate? â¢ Measuring the impact of ICT-supported training. What are agencies doing to determine if ICT-supported training affects employee performance? The transportation agencies selected to participate in the interviews were chosen based on several factors, including their expressed willingness to provide additional information. Other factors were considered so that a range of approaches were represented in the case examples presented in the document. These factors included: â¢ Training program is well structured (i.e., training aligns clearly with workforce development objectives). â¢ Training program is well documented (e.g., can provide data on the number of employees who have successfully completed ICT-supported trainings over a period of a year). â¢ Training program uses an established, creditable process for selecting ICT as the training deliv- ery method. â¢ Training program uses an established, creditable process for developing and maintaining ICT-supported training. In addition, interviews were conducted with representatives from the TCCC and the Center for Training Transportation Professionals at the University of Arkansas. (These agencies were listed by state respondents as training partners.) Each of these organizations works with highway transportation agencies to develop and deliver training, although their methods for identifying needs, developing content, and delivering that training to the target audience varies. The differences in their approaches are explained in detail in the case example chapter; each offers a unique approach that could serve as an example to other agencies.
8 The information obtained from these sources was compiled and used to develop the findings presented in this synthesis. Survey limitationS A few limitations to the study presented themselves during the development of this report. First, there is a lack of consistent terminology throughout the transportation training community, particularly as it applies to ICT. Despite the provision of definitions with the survey, it became clear through the case example interviews that not everyone was applying terms such as âcomputer-based trainingâ and âmobile trainingâ in the same way. This might have some impact on survey results. Second, there is limited scientific-based research on transportation agency training practices. Most information avail- able regarding training programs and practice is anecdotal or may be specific to one agency. The lack of such data makes it difficult to extrapolate the synthesis findings. Finally, the presence of information silos makes gathering comprehensive data on agencywide practice a challenge. Although respondents were encouraged to collaborate with other departments to formulate their survey responses, several agencies indicated their responses were not specific to all areas. In other instances, survey responses differed from case example interview responses or other sources of information. This indicates that survey responses might not capture all of the ICT-supported training efforts under way at each agency.