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7 Innovative training strategies often leverage advancements in technology or learning science to offer effective approaches to learning. In some instances, the strategies have been available for many years, but have not been widely adopted. Barriers to adoption include the following: â¢ Lack of knowledge about their usefulness in training; â¢ Tendency to default to traditional training because it is perceived as less expensive and easier to create or to believe training does not warrant the necessary investment to achieve gains in performance; and â¢ Lack of knowledge regarding the innovative strategy, its value, and examples illustrating applications of the strategy. In this section we provide a description of the innovative training strategy, examples of where the innovations are being applied including examples both within and beyond the transit industry, and potential applications for the transit industry to help stimulate thought about how the innovations might offer value to transit agencies. Exhibit 1 below provides an overview of each of the innovative strategies. C H A P T E R 3 Innovative Training Strategies Exhibit 1. Innovative training strategies.
8 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources Figure 1. DiSTI virtual maintenance. Simulations A simulation is a representation or model of a real-world process or system over time. Simulating something requires that a model be developed; this model represents the key charac- teristics or behaviors/functions of the selected physical or abstract system or process. In learning, simulation can be thought of as a technique for practice that can replace and/or amplify real experiences with guided ones. Simulations are often immersive and can be used to engage learners in life-like scenarios and situations, depending on the level of fidelity of the simulation. Simulation-based learning has a history of being used in the transit industry, medical field, aviation industry, and the military. In these fields it has been found that simulation may work best to improve technical and functional expertise training, problem-solving and decision-making skills, and interpersonal and communications skills or team-based competencies. The strength of simulations in teaching these types of skills are due to their ability to offer deliberate practice with feedback, practice events with rare occurrences, reproducibility, and learner assessment, in addition to allowing learners to practice potentially dangerous tasks in a safe way. (See Figure 1.) Assessment and feedback can be incorporated into the simulation, allowing monitoring of learner performance as well as guided instruction. Many of the skills that simulation does best at teaching align well with the needs of the transit industry. For example, the transit industry has found that simulation-based training allows learners to effectively do the following: â¢ Acquire, practice, and develop skills, â¢ Rehearse reactions to situations, â¢ Improve decision-making skills, and â¢ Review their learning. There are many types of simulation, ranging from low fidelity to high fidelity, which can be either live or virtual. There are various benefits and limitations of each level and different times when each is appropriate to use. The levels of fidelity also determine the cost and time needed to create the simulation training. Typically, as the simulation fidelity increases, so does the cost and time investment required. Regardless of the level of fidelity, the return on investment in simulation use increases the more vital it is that learners receive the instruction. It is important to take all of these factors under consideration when deciding what type of simulation to use. (See Figure 2.) Exhibit 2 provides examples of how simulation has been used in the transit and non-transit industry as well as possible applications for the transit industry.
Innovative Training Strategies 9 Figure 2. Aerosim virtual maintenance. Examples from the Transit Industry Bus Driving Simulators Rail Operations Simulators Emergency Disaster ResponseâTabletop ExerciseâAccess Services of Los Angeles Certified Transit Technician Programâ Center for Urban Transportation ResearchâTSWD Programs Incorporates the latest technologies including Virtual Hands-On Training and 3-D modeling. Conductor Training 3-D SimulationâNorfolk Southern Automobile, Truck, and Small Engine Vehicle Trainingâ Labtech Used as a tool for enhancing the effectiveness of operator training and retraining. Most simulators use geo-specific database modeling that incorpo- rates important elements into the simulated environment to replicate a realistic, transit-specific driving experience. Additionally, simulators include extensive libraries of scenarios that offer operators various challenges related to decision making, reaction time, and judgment, each designed to accomplish one or more specific training goals and/or objectives. Simulators can replicate models of different bus sizes and types and the cab enclosures consist of actual and/or representative parts and components of real transit buses. Metra uses 3-D graphics simulators to train locomotive engineers during (initial) certification, recertification, and remedial training. Training addresses equipment familiarization, train operation, and troubleshooting. The simulators are equipped with all of the components present on Metraâs rolling stock. A real-life simulation with a command center installation and countywide inter-agency coordination. The exercise effectively enhances a countyâs ability to serve more residents, thereby potentially minimizing the loss of life, property, and number of serious injuries. Focuses on the decisions that conductors must make to safely and efficiently switch cars, using the fewest moves possible, and the amount of time to build outbound trains. Plan to implement three tiers of simulation: beginner, intermediate, and expert. The beginner level offers step-by-step coaching and gives learners both a birdâs-eye and ground-level view of a virtual train yard. Learners who receive training through Labtech simulations are able to transition quickly from the classroom environment to the work environment, as these simulations consist of the actual devices and controls learners will use when joining the workforce. This results in greater knowledge retention and employ- able skills. Exhibit 2. Examples of simulation training (transit and non-transit). (continued on next page)
10 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources Virtual Maintenance TrainerâAerosim Inland Waterway Pilots and Captains TrainingâSeamanâs Church, Paducah, Kentucky These simulators provide personnel the opportunity to learn and test their skills in difficult situations mimicking those they may face in real life. Possible Applications for the Transit Industry Virtual Maintenance Training Simulation-based training tool used by airlines, maintenance, repair, and overhaul facilities, and training centers around the world. It is designed to reduce training costs and increase operational efficiency by teaching any number of aircraft malfunctions on demand. Maintenance Technicians can explore the entire aircraft using the fully functional Virtual Flight Deck and Virtual Aircraft. They can also navigate virtual equipment bays, remove components, and see the results in real time. Simulation can be used to give technicians-in-training the opportunity to practice and learn in virtual environments, with life-like components, before interacting with the actual system. This virtual practice could help reduce the cost and risk of having novice technicians practice on real equipment. It also eliminates the need for access to real equipment. In addition to these benefits, this type of training can be especially engaging and motivating for younger learners. Examples beyond the Transit Industry Stryker Maintenance Training Systemâ U.S. Army Virtual Maintenance TrainingâDiSTI Used for maintenance training and to provide skill-level development for system operation, fault diagnosis, troubleshooting, adjustments, removal/replacement, and repair tasks for armament and vehicle maintenance specialty Soldier for the Stryker tactical vehicles. Incorporates Diagnostic and Troubleshooting Trainers (DTT), which are completed on a desktop computer station. These DTT lessons provide a virtual view of each maintenance task. Learners also have the opportunity to use part task trainers. A part task trainer is a training device designed to train a task associated with a particular system. It is cost effective because it allows maintenance personnel to familiarize themselves with a particular system without having to use a full simulator or actual vehicle. Creates virtual environments that consist of simulation software logic, computer hardware, and displays, and a 3-D virtual environment that serves as the interactive front end for the learners and instructors. DiSTI incorporates both part task level and platform level simulation training. Exhibit 2. (Continued). Gaming Video games are beginning to see an increase in popularity as a training tool, and many training games have been developed across most industries. One of the biggest users of video game training is the U.S. military, with over 50 different video game training courses used for a wide range of skills. The most well-known and successful video game used by the military is Americaâs Army, created for the Army in 2002. The game allows players to go through basic training in a virtual setting before playing through team-based missions. It has been successfully used as both a recruiting tool by familiarizing learners with what they will go through in basic training and as a training tool once learners graduate basic training. (See Figure 3.) Raytheon, a large defense contractor, is also using video game training to teach new military trainees how to operate Patriot Missile Systems. One of the biggest advantages Raytheon cites for using video game training is that it allows soldiers to train on a real missile system using a real-world scenario. Training in the virtual environment gives the trainees hands-on practice that is significantly safer and more cost effective than using the systems in the real world. With these same ideas in mind, the Navy, Alion (a technology solutions contractor), and Raytheon created the Virtual Maintenance Performance Aid (VMPA) training game, which allows sailors to practice damage control, tactical team training, and force protection in fully functioning
Innovative Training Strategies 11 virtual ships. The game also has the ability to integrate with ship driving simulations for larger team training. (See Figure 4.) The success of video games as training tools lies in the inherent ability of video games to pro- vide us with rich and engaging experiences. Video games promote active learning by requiring the learner to play the game and gain knowledge to advance. This is a big distinction between video game training and other training methods. As seen by Raytheon, video games allow par- ticipants to essentially learn in a safe environment while doing the job, which is especially useful in high-risk training situations. This is one of the primary reasons why video game training has seen such success in the medical field as a training tool for surgeons. Another factor in the success of video games as training tools is the strength they have when it comes to scaffolding. Instructional scaffolding is a way to promote learning at a deeper level. When used correctly, support is given to the learners during the learning process, which is tailored to the individual. The goal is to help the learner achieve their learning goals while maintaining appropriate levels of difficulty to engage the learner. Well-designed video game training uses just-in-time training, in-game tutorials, and realistic feedback to continuously assist and challenge the learner as they successfully complete increasingly difficult levels of the game. One of game-based trainingâs biggest drawbacks is the up-front time and cost necessary to develop compared to more traditional course-based training. Some estimate that the development Figure 4. Raytheon Patriot Missile System video game training. Figure 3. Americaâs Army video game training.
12 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources hours for one hour of instructional content could be as high as 220 hours for course-based train- ing and 1,000 hours for game-based training. This large difference in developmental hours means that the development of game-based training is also more costly. However, with these higher up- front costs comes the potential for better return on investment. For each instructional hour of course-based training, it is estimated that a learner will spend one hour using that content, while a learner may spend as much as 20.8 hours interacting with one hour of game-based instructional content. This increased amount of use should lead to higher gains in knowledge and skill. Exhibit 3 provides examples of ways gaming has been used in the transit and non-transit industry as well as possible applications for the transit industry. Examples from the Transit Industry Train Simulator 2016 Xpan Examples beyond the Transit Industry Americaâs Army Patriot Missile Systems Virtual Maintenance Performance Aid (VMPA) A 3-D virtual game environment used by the Navy allows learners to practice damage control, tactical team training, and force protection in fully functioning virtual ships. The game also has the ability to integrate with ship driving simulations for larger team training. The military is using a video game to train young learners how to operate the Patriot Missile Systems. Due to the age of the Patriot Missile Systems, many new members of the military are unfamiliar with how to operate it. The virtual environment of the game offers learners hand-on experience with the system in realistic scenarios. Learning in the game environment is engaging, safe, and cost effective. Americaâs Army has been in use as a recruiting and training tool since 2002, learners playing through basic training in the game before ever doing the real thing. The game consists of mini-games where players earn points while learning the basics of Army basic training rules and regulation. Once soldiers complete basic training in real life, they can once again play Americaâs Army to practice team-based missions in a safe virtual environment. Xpan is an organization that develops training for companies both inside and outside of the transit industry. They utilize games as training tools in many of their training courses. Xpan focuses on using technology and game mechanics to bring ideas to life in engaging learning solutions. They develop games and virtual worlds with graphics that are able to stand up to other commercial games. Their use of game play preserves engagement yet focuses learners on important concerns, generating real learning and helping transform assump- tions, skills, and behaviors. Xpan also uses gamification of other applications to engage learners. For example, in one program, workers identified with their favorite hockey team, and as they progressed through the training courses they were able to advance on the NHL Leaderboard. This video game sold on Steam offers players the ability to take the controls of virtual steam, diesel, and electric trains. Players get full control of the throttles, brakes, and switches that they would on actual trains. The game offers different scenarios utilizing simulations of both actual trains and routes. Some of the simulated routes and locomotives included are from companies such as British Rail, First Great Western Freightliner, Norfolk Southern, British Railway, Union Pacific, and more. The game has a mode called TS Academy, which teaches players different things from basic passenger operations to freight terminals that require pin-point accuracy or an understanding of complex and unique signaling systems. There is also a Driver Assist mode, which helps players learn how to operate a steam locomotive by providing real-time information based on each locomotiveâs performance and handling. This mode will guide the player through operating each locomotive by highlighting controls in the cab and telling the player how to move them to get the best out of the engine. Exhibit 3. Examples of gaming (transit and non-transit).
Innovative Training Strategies 13 Adaptive Learning and Intelligent Tutoring Adaptive learning takes place in a type of training where some aspect of the training is varied to create an optimal learning experience for a particular learner. The order of presentation, type of presentation, type of information, and/or task difficulty can be adjusted to meet the specific needs of each learner. There are many different ways to determine what should be varied and why. For instance, you could choose to adjust different aspects of the training based on how well the learner is performing, particular learning characteristics of the learner, or the needs of the learner. Tradi- tionally, adaptive learning can be seen in classroom settings when a teacher adapts their instruction based on verbal or nonverbal cues they get from students. In one of its simplest forms, using adaptive learning in a training program entails selecting which content to give to a learner based on pre-test results. Adaptive learning can also be incorporated into a training program through more complex means. For example, during CBT, adaptive learning can be performed in real time. This means that the computer software needs to determine the proficiency level of the learners while they are interacting with the content and to simultaneously provide adequate support to the learners. For this to occur, algorithms and mathematical models must be used to understand how the learner is moving along the learning path and how that information should be used to make assumptions about their next response. This type of learning is adaptive in two ways, as learners receive both unique feedback and an adapted learning pathway. An adaptive pathway signifies the learnersâ journey through the training content. This pathway is dependent on several factors like what learners are doing, what they have done in the past, and what misconceptions they have exhibited. Given this understanding, learners who demonstrate a deeper mastery of the learning content will be fast tracked while those showing signs of misconception might be directed to remedial content. There are also simpler applications of adaptive learning in CBT. These simpler applications use a pre-test to allow learners to test out of content. The learner is then provided with the train- ing content where he or she did not pass the pre-test. In using this approach, it is important to have well-designed and validated assessment items to ensure that the test is a good indicator of what the learner knows. As adaptive learning is implemented into training programs in more complex ways, the cost and time required to build that training program generally increase as well. If simply selecting Exhibit 3. (Continued). Possible Applications for the Transit Industry Maintenance Training Game for Technicians Similar to simulations, video game training offers novice technicians the chance to learn and get hands-on experience in a virtual hands-on environment. In situations where it could be expensive or dangerous to allow learners to practice on real systems, this virtual game environment can help mitigate those factors. Gaming adds extra motivational factors through points, missions, and other gaming elements. This type of training can be especially motivating for younger learners. Operator Training Game Video game training offers novice operators the chance to practice operating systems in a virtual environment that is safer and less costly than its real-life counterpart. The extra motivational factors of points, missions, and other gaming elements can make this type of training especially motivating for younger learners. Video game training also has the advantage of being available to learners in more settings than just the physical location of a simulator.
14 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources which content to give a learner based on pre-test results is on the lower end of the spectrum, then using a full intelligent tutoring system (ITS) is on the opposite end of that spectrum. An ITS acts like a tutor. It can pose questions, analyze the learner responses, and provide customized feedback. Training designed to use an ITS differs from traditional CBT in its analysis of complex learner responses and customized guidance and support. The ITS creates a profile for each learner and provides real- time personalized feedback based on the level of the learnersâ mastery over the sub- ject matter. In traditional CBT, the feedback provided is generic and, in most cases, simply states whether the answer is correct or incorrect. An ITS is capable of going one step further to determine where in the learning path the learner went wrong when an incor- rect answer is given. An ITS can even be designed to give an explanation as to why the answer is wrong and suggest appropriate remediation steps if necessary. An ITS is an effective learning tool that can address the learning needs for many different types of learners. Though an ITS can be costly, difficult, and time consuming to build, its potential in the learning and development field is immense. While an ITS is mainly focused on the learnerâtutor interaction, the Army Research Labora- toryâs Generalized Intelligent Framework for Tutoring (GIFT) is looking to measure training effectiveness through the use of an ITS. GIFT is a set of tools, methods, and standards to help create computer-based tutoring systems and assess their impacts. GIFT has been used to demonstrate the effectiveness of an ITS in training evaluation. Researchers investigated how the existing GIFT architecture could be extended to provide an automated analysis capability, what data collection mechanisms could be utilized to support the analysis, and how to present the outputs to support decision making about instructional strategy. They selected the Basic Rifle Marksmanship course to provide context, sample data, and a basis of research for evaluation. The approach of incorporating simulated data into the analytic system was called Health Indica- tors. Results showed that the prototype was able to support certain statistical tests and that this would go a long way for automated analysis. It is important to note that, while the cost, difficulty, and time required to build adaptive learning and/or an ITS into a training program generally increases as you make it more complex and automated, there are affordable alternatives. For instance, the Knewton learning platform is an off-the-shelf adaptive learning solution available online. This platform is offered to certain users at no cost. Another example is GIFT, which is available as an open source ITS. When deciding what type of adaptive learning to incorporate into a training program, it is important to balance the required complexity of the adaptive learning solution with the cost and time requirements of building that complexity. In addition to needing the platform to support the ITS, it is also necessary to have ample content to allow customized instruction. Exhibit 4 provides examples of types of adaptive learning and intelligent tutoring used in the transit and non-transit industry as well as possible applications for the transit industry. Transmedia Storytelling Storytelling incorporates the basic elements of narration such as setting, characters, an event or problem, development, climax, and conclusion. The elements of a story can be customized to attract and retain the interest of learners. Transmedia Storytelling (TS) is the process of tell- ing, elaborating, and evolving stories across multiple delivery methods to create a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. The fundamental notion of TS is to engage individuals through a storytelling process that requires their participation to evolve the (brand) message, while at the same time taking advantage of the synergy effects of distributing unique content to Why ITS? Some studies have shown that using an ITS can increase learner performance by up to 60%.
Innovative Training Strategies 15 Examples from the Transit Industry Xpan Interactive Examples beyond the Transit Industry Virtual Maintenance Trainer (VMT) Ground Forces Training Generalized Intelligent Framework for Tutoring (GIFT) Knewton Smart Sparrow Xpan Interactive provides an eLearning platform that supports adaptive learning. Xpan has created training for Calgary Transit Authority for Electro Vehicle Mechanics and cites a reduction in the time required to train a fully qualified Electro Vehicle Mechanic from 2 years to only 9 months. Boeingâs Integrated Immersive Training Environment (I2TE) seeks to provide innovative tools that increase training preparedness, generate positive training, and build the confidence of soldiers and Marines for full-spectrum operations. One key tool used to achieve such training effectiveness is Boeingâs ITS. It provides personalized training content and expert-level instruction and feedback while tailoring the learning path based on the learnerâs ability and knowledge base. GIFT is being developed under the Adaptive Tutoring Research Science & Technology project at the Learning in Intelligent Tutoring Environments Laboratory, part of the U.S. Army Research LaboratoryâHuman Research and Engineering Directorate (ARLâHRED). It is a research-based, service-oriented framework of tools, methods, and standards to help make it easier to develop computer-based tutoring systems (CBTS), manage instruction, and assess the effectiveness of CBTS. GIFT consists of several interchangeable modules that interact with each other within a CBTS. It is an open source and available at no cost. Knewton is an online adaptive course-building portal. The Knewton learning platform is notable in the field of adaptive learning and is an example of how adaptive learning can benefit learners in real time. In the companyâs words, âKnewtonâs pioneering approach to adaptive learning draws on each learnerâs own history, how other learners like them learn, and decades of research into how people learn to improve future learning experiences.â Knewton promises to help you build a course that is individualized, engaging, evolving, and versatile. Up to this point they have partnered with many of the worldâs leading educa- tional publishers, but they are interested in working with other industries. Smart Sparrow is another online adaptive course-building portal. They aim to engage each learner by giving full pedagogical control over the learnersâ learning experience. They offer drag-and-drop interactive components to enable active learning and easy-to-author adaptivity. They also offer real-time analytics to aid the understanding of a learnerâs needs. This can help zero in on common mistakes and misconceptions. Smart Sparrow also offers cloud-based solutions, Learning Management System (LMS) Integrations, question templates, and the ability to import simulations. An ITS could be implemented in critical servicing or maintenance training that involves decision making. An incorrect decision would lead learners to a different path than a correct decision. With the right amount of just-in-time guidance and feedback, learners would be able to get back on track. The ITS could also help in reducing the amount of time learners stay away from work. Another potential benefit of using an ITS is that learners should require less time to effectively learn the content. This is primarily due to the focused nature of adaptive learning through an ITS. Boeing uses intelligent tutoring capabilities in its VMT to provide learners with immediate feedback and instruction through a virtual instructor. As a result, learners spend less time training on actual aircraft. Boeingâs VMT can be configured for multiple platforms, including different types of aircraft and helicopters as well as various ground vehicles. Maintenance and Servicing Training Customer Service Training Possible Applications for the Transit Industry Customer service training is an excellent topic for ITS and adaptive learning as there are many assumptions and misconceptions associated. These forms of training can help a learner experience virtually what could go wrong and the subtle hints and guidance can enable them to be better at customer service. Exhibit 4. Examples of adaptive learning and intelligent tutoring (transit and non-transit).
16 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources a variety of platforms. One of the first and most successful examples of TS is the Star Wars franchise, which spans across movies, books, graphic novels, television shows, video games, social media, and more. Transmedia Learning (TL) is a relatively new concept that combines the process of TS with ISD practices to generate a continuous experience that results in measurable behavior change. The behavior can be physical and overt, intellectual, attitudinal, or a combination of any of them. TL can be defined as a core experience that spreads across multiple media and emotionally engages learners by involving them personally in the story. By involving the learner and making them a protagonist in their own story, TL has the potential to be more engaging than traditional forms of training. This increased engagement and presentation of information in the form of a story can help improve learning outcomes and lead to more effective training. In essence, TL offers a new way of looking at learning through multiple modalities, technologies, delivery methods, and interaction types. (See Figure 5.) One of TLâs biggest strengths is that it is inherently scalable and can be designed to reach a maximum amount of learners right when they need it. By leveraging social media, TL takes advantage of the power of peer learning and giving learners access to information. TL programs can also increase scalability by taking advantage of massive open online courses (MOOCs), which can train thousands of learners at any one time in interactive environments with open access. In fact, a well-designed TL program should leverage the strengths and best practices of many different ISD strategies and delivery methods. This leveraging of different strategies and delivery methods allows learners to access content at any time and on any device, no matter where they are. Along with all of the potential advantages that a TL program can offer, there are also potential limitations that should be considered as well. With so much content and information available to the learner at any time, it is possible to overwhelm and confuse them if a solid framework for the core learning experience is not strategically put into place to manage and deploy the distributed learning. The creation of both the framework and core learning experience could Figure 5. Army Transmedia Learning campaign model.
Innovative Training Strategies 17 take extensive knowledge, time, and money depending on the desired size and complexity of the TL program. The amount of time and money needed to create a TL program could further increase based on the types, use of, and number of delivery methods desired as part of the program. For example, one instructional systems designer may be very experienced in creating instructional content for web-based training and instructor-led training that follows the best practices for those delivery methods, but not experienced in creating content for game-based training, social media, or other delivery methods. Due to this, it may be necessary for multiple instructional systems designers to oversee the development of content in various delivery methods. (See Figure 6.) Another consideration is the time and cost associated with the development of different media. It may be relatively quick and inexpensive to develop content for social media, web-based training, etc. On the other hand, it can be more time consuming and costly to create game-based training, simulations, animated videos, etc. For the most part, the higher the level of fidelity desired, the more costly and time consuming it will be to create. Exhibit 5 provides examples of ways TL has been used in non-transit industries as well as possible applications for the transit industry. Web-Based Training Web-based training, sometimes called eLearning, is instruction accessed through computerized electronic technologies, such as the internet, intranet, compact disc, mobile devices, or other digital media. It is typically delivered to a geographically dispersed audience via the internet to somewhere other than the traditional classroom and requires active learner engagement and interaction to meet objectives and achieve intended outcomes. There are four established levels of interactivity in a web-based environment, covering training that is linear and does not allow Figure 6. Americaâs Army graphic novel.
18 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources learners to choose their own learning paths to training that fully immerses the learners in the training content in order to help conceptualize an idea and apply it in specific situations. Examples of interactivity tactics used to get learners involved range vastly through the levels and include graphics, simple animations, quizzes, navigational menus, pop-up boxes, exercises, animated videos, decision trees, scenario-based cases, and simulations. It is important to understand the difference between asynchronous and synchronous web-based training. Asynchronous web-based training includes allowing learners to complete the instruction in their own time using any type of electronic delivery medium (e.g., desktop computers, mobile devices, tablets, social media, alternate reality, etc.). This allows courses to be developed so that participants can go through on their own with little or no help from an instructor. Although this allows for extreme flexibility and lower cost, the downfalls include no immediate access to an instructor for questions or issues, lack of collaboration, and necessary self-motivation to complete. Synchronous web-based training requires that learners and instructors be online at the same time to interact and participate. This allows for instructors to provide help or additional instruction for participants who are confused and provides an environment for group work and activities. The pace of the course, however, must be at the pace of the slowest learner, which prevents more advanced learners from moving ahead more quickly. The training also is only as good as the instructor is at delivering it. (See Figure 7.) Examples from the Transit Industry No examples from transit could be found. Examples beyond the Transit Industry Real Hero Program Program Executive Office for Simulation Training and Instrumentation Games for Training (PEOSTRI) Possible Applications for the Transit Industry âReal Transit Safety Heroesâ Technical Skill Transmedia Learning Program Organizations may be utilizing TL but not using that term to describe their training program due to the term being relatively new. Allows players of the game Americaâs Army to connect with real U.S. Army soldiers. Incorporates video game training, social media, storytelling, virtual recruiting stations, action figures, and graphic novels. Extending the learning content through an engaging story spread across different media increases the exposure of training content to the learner and makes them a part of the story. Encourages self-paced learning and exposure to learning content by turning complete tasks, including vehicle maintenance tasks, into graphic novels and machinima. Machinima is the use of real-time computer graphics engines to create a cinematic production. Typically, video games are used to create the animation. The big advantage of machinima is it eliminates the need for live actors. It also incorporates virtual simulation training and live part-task and full-task trainers. Similar to the Armyâs Real Hero Program, technicians and/or operators with exemplary safety records could be highlighted. A mix of storytelling, simulation, gaming, social media, videos, and graphic novels could not only help make training more efficient, but could be especially engaging for younger learners. This type of training program also has the potential to double as a recruiting tool. Allow learners to have increased access to complex training content that is delivered in multiple ways for reinforcement. Put technical manualsâ content into graphic novel and machinima mediums to help crucial but sometimes dull information be more engaging training content that learners are more likely to retain. Have learners interact with this content prior to hands-on training, either virtually or live. This can increase the effectiveness of the hands-on portions of training programs and be especially engaging for younger learners. Exhibit 5. Examples of TL.
Innovative Training Strategies 19 Figure 7. CUTR 3-D mentoring.
20 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources Virtual hands-on training is a form of distance learning that mimics actual hands-on training with a number of benefits such as offering a vast number of troubleshooting scenarios without impacting actual equip- ment use or availability. It also supports increased individual learner practice by providing specific, tailored feedback. Virtual hands-on training for transit has previously been developed by the University of South Floridaâs Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR). Web-based training can be combined with other methods, such as printed materials and instructor-led training to reinforce learning. This is considered blended learning and is used when the one size fits all approach to training does not work for you. There is not one standard definition of blended learning, but education innovators have come to a consensus on three primary components that blended learning has: some sort of in-person classroom activities facilitated by a trained educator, online learning materials, and structured independent study time guided by material in the lectures and by skills developed during the classroom experience. It is up to the organiza- tion how to interpret these guidelines to meet the needs of the training. All forms of web-based training can be paired with other training solutions (like traditional classroom-based train- ing) to create a blended learning solution that best leverages face-to-face time with peers and instructors. In addition, massive open online coursesâor MOOCsâare increasingly more prevalent as a tool for learning. A MOOC is an open, online course with a large number of participants typically exceeding the number that would participate in a traditional course of study, whether that course of study is offered online or face-to-face. What makes a MOOC open is that it is accessible to all, without requiring participants to apply and be granted access to the course through a screening process. MOOCs are viewed by some as bringing education in sync with the ubiquitous internet by providing continuous, anytime-anywhere access at no cost. Many cite the high number of dropouts from courses as an indicator that MOOCs are not beneficial to the learner in spite of the fact that more learners may be served overall as contrasted to the expected onsite enroll- ment capacity. Although the most significant development and use of MOOCs is currently higher education, the corporate sector is growing and has been showing a higher completion rate. Some companies are leveraging existing MOOCs to educate their customers; to identify, develop, and recruit scarce talent; and to provide training opportunities for their technology professionals. Exhibit 6 describes examples of web-based training used in transit and non-transit industries as well as possible applications for the transit industry. Mobile Learning Mobile learning has gained popularity recently, with the growing access to smart devices like mobile phones, tablets, and phablets that allow learning content and training to be delivered via the device. The development of various mobile apps has made anytime-anywhere learning a reality. Learners are no longer confined to the classroom or their computers, and learning is now in the palms of their hands. Mobile learning is generally used in conjunction with other modes of learning like web-based training, but by no means is it a compressed version of the web-based course. As with other modes of training, developing a mobile learning unit requires adhering to certain general guidelines. It is crucial to understand why the mobile unit is being developed: to Virtual Hands-On Training in Transit CUTR developed virtual hands-on training for FDOT through partnership with the Florida Department of Education, transit agencies, and industry associations for training transit technicians. It is being used as part of a curriculum framework that includes classroom and other online training as well as physical, in-person hands-on training.
Innovative Training Strategies 21 Examples from the Transit Industry Motor Coach Industries (MCI) National Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium (SCRTTC) Cummins Engines Allison Transmission Offering online, anytime training, MCIâs LMS is made up of more than 150 modulesâwith more being addedâand allows customers to customize their own training and conduct it in the familiar environment of their own shop. In addition, it includes a sophisticated tracking component, allowing managers or owners to set goals, monitor technician progress, and run reports. Technicians earn credits and certificates for successfully completing modules. MCI has increased access to its award-winning training for 2015, debuting its new LMS, a comprehensive web-based training program for technicians. MCI will also give technicians hands-on time through its Tech Tune-Ups, and it will roll out several new MCILearn webinars. Offering online, anytime training, LMS has been in pilot operation with several customers, and MCI is now offering the program to all MCI and Setra operators who request it. Made up of more than 150 modulesâwith more being addedâLMS allows customers to customize their own training and conduct it in the familiar environment of their own shop. In addition, it includes a sophisticated tracking component, allowing managers or owners to set goals, monitor technician progress, and run reports. Technicians earn credits and certificates for successfully completing modules. The MCI LMS is currently offered free of charge to customers. RTAPâs eLearning portal hosts National RTAP training modules and links to outside trainings and other resources. It allows transit employees to take self-guided, online courses at their own pace and on their own schedule while keeping track of their progress. They have developed a technical brief and provide live chat support to ensure users understand how to access it. Additionally, they maintain a searchable online catalog of resources that can be accessed for free, including training modules, technical briefs, cloud-based applications, and toolkits. They also host webinars on topics of interest to transit employees. SCRTTCâs eElectrical System Diagnosis for Transit training is a blended course that is designed to improve a technicianâs basic electrical skills and circuit diagnosis by working with a digital voltâohm meter in actual circuit conditions as well as in a virtual simulated environment. Technicians receive practice and experience with safety series circuits, parallel circuits, and relays through virtual simulations. Allison E-Learn is an option for training, sponsored by the distributors. Access to the online training is available for 90 daysâ use for ten technicians. Cummins Learning Center is a LMS that helps manage learning activities. Learning content is varied and available in multiple formats, including but not limited to eLearning and instructor-led classes. Some of the learning content is designed to use on specific browsers or operating systems. For example, Apple mobile devices do not support Flash, therefore content developed using Flash must be launched from a computer that supports such technology. Cummins also offers QuickServe Online (QSOL). QSOL is a controlled access website that provides parts and service-related information covering nearly 14 million Cumminsâ engines built since 1960. Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) CUTR allows learners from remote locations to make actual repairs to equipment located in a distant facility with the instructor. The instructor strategically inserts a defect into a bus, and once all parties log in using an internet-based software, the instructor gives control over to the learners, who are at their worksite locations. The instructor monitors the learners and acts as their assistant throughout the troubleshooting. A mobile web camera is used to enable the learners to view connections, pins, and other components. When the repair is made by the instructor, the learner clears the code to indicate that the bus is repaired. This element of the program allows the instructor to monitor troubleshooting techniques, hands-on performance, decision making, and parts selection. Exhibit 6. Examples of web-based training (transit and non-transit). (continued on next page)
22 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council (TC3) Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Udacity edX The transit agency can create a very effective training opportunity by partnering with a MOOC provider to create easily accessible trainings for their employees. This would eliminate the agency having to develop and implement trainings on their own and could leverage the resources of a training provider. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities implemented a blended learning solution that included eLearning courses for new users covering foundational and basic skills; instructor-led, hands-on, scenario-based courses for role-based tasks where problem-solving skills were critical; and ongoing support including feedback, mentoring, and coaching. In addition to the implementation of the new training process, they also established best practices for using the training including classroom instruction, train-the-trainer, coaching, WebEx, and lab sessions. Originally, TC3 offered instructor-led training, but as demand for just-in-time training grew, they began to offer web-based courses instead. They now offer over 100 web-based training courses related to construction, materials, mainte- nance, traffic and safety, pavement preservation, and general transportation employee development. TC3 also provides a state sharing program that allows participating states to load online training modules onto their own LMS. Employees can then access the courses without an internet connection, and are able to gain credit through the LMS. edX is a MOOC provider that hosts online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide learner body. edX differs from other MOOC providers as it is nonprofit and runs on open source software. SAP, a German multinational software corporation, has partnered with edX to develop courses about debt and financial policy making for government officials. Udacity is an educational organization offering MOOCs. Each course consists of several units comprising video lectures in conjunction with integrated quizzes to help learners understand concepts and reinforce ideas as well as follow-up homework. Google uses Udacity for workforce training and has enrolled 80,000 employees in their HTML5 course. Possible Applications for the Transit Industry MOOCs for Workforce Training Blended Program In the transit industry, there is content that will always be delivered most successfully through a hands-on approach. However, information for new employees, parts of the onboarding process, and administrative information can be delivered using a web-based format where employees can learn on their own time and at their own pace and frontline employees do not need to be taken away from their work. In addition, prerequisite information and content that should be understood prior to an instructor-led/hands-on training could be delivered through a web-based training format that would save the transit industry resources by maximizing employeesâ time when they are in-person for portions of training that require them to be hands-on. CUTR also utilizes 3-D modeling (Figure 7). The methodology developed under this concept in partnership with a software development firm creates a 3-D model distance learning structure that is computer-based and learner-driven. This technique is used in conjunction with and separate from the classroom portion of instruction. Testing after instruction is built into the training module and can be set to advance the learner through the module based on correct answers or redirect the learner for additional instruction before progressing further. Examples beyond the Transit Industry Exhibit 6. (Continued). disseminate learning content or to act as a performance support tool. In addition, instructional systems designers must be cognizant of the fact that mobile devices have less battery life and a smaller screen than computers, which makes it difficult for learners to spend as much time completing training on their mobile device as they would on a computer. Because of this, learn- ing content should be delivered in bite-sized portions that are easily readable. Scrolling should be minimal so that scrolling on a small screen does not become stifling for the learners. Also, the navigation should be intuitive and simple. Mobile learning is an active learning mode, and
Innovative Training Strategies 23 learners must be able to relate to and interact with it. The overall file size of the learning unit should not be big, as it can compromise the storage capacity of the device. Finally, learners should be able to download the learning content in order to access it both online and offline, receiving technical support as needed. Mobile learning is a great tool for accessing just-in-time information. For example, a new employee might want to review the module on how to repair a broken part on his way to work. The employee can easily view the video tutorial on his mobile device. Again, someone might need to look up the five steps to clean a machine just before beginning the task. Mobile apps are a great way to provide easy access to such performance support tools. (See Figure 8.) The transit industry has great potential to use mobile learning for frontline employees that are in the field, to provide them access to a job aid or a quick tutorial that does not take time away from their work. While the industry has started using mobile technology to some extent, there is plenty of room for growth. Exhibit 7 provides examples of ways mobile learning has been used in the transit and non- transit industry as well as possible applications for the transit industry. Figure 8. AIDS.gov mobile learning.
24 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources Examples from the Transit Industry Transit Academy Xpan Examples beyond the Transit Industry Tooling U-SME Poll Everywhere SchoolTown Air Force Medical Service Mobile Just In Time Training The Transit Academy is a turnkey learning platform that features concise video tutorials and transit training information. The material is fully hosted on a web-based platform that can be accessed anywhere on any device, including a tablet or a smart phone. The Transit Academy allows the user to search on any topic and find relevant videos and other documents. The user can post questions, which then go to hundreds of members who are transit experts. Users can establish an Author account and create and post videos, PDFs, or Word documents or create new materials designed specifically for mobile learning. The mobile app allows users to shoot video directly from a phone. The Tooling U-SME offers online manufacturing training via an LMS. There is also a mobile app specifically designed to give learners more flexibility for working within their learner portal on the 2.0 versions of their classes. The app is a native Android or iOS app formatted for tablets only. It allows Tooling U-SME learners to log into their portal and take assessments, study using Tooling U's interactive lessons, learn vocabulary for lessons assigned to them, and take notes. Learner center and admin center functionality are not included. The app is currently in beta testing and will launch soon. This program replaces expensive proprietary audience response hardware with standard web technology. It allows you to poll an audience of learners in real time by allowing them to use their cell phones to answer questions. Essentially, you ask your audience a question in the app, the learners answer using mobile phones, Twitter, or web browsers, and you get to see the responses live on the web or in a PowerPoint presentation. Poll Everywhere can be used to assess learners in multiple locations at the same time. Results can be shared with participants after the learning session by emailing a link provided by the program. You can even share the results as they come in by posting the poll to a Facebook page. SchoolTown is a blended learning, content sharing, and collaboration platform designed to help instructors be more effective and efficient. It empowers learners to be active participants in personalized learning with content delivered through their mobile devices. The platform is easy to set up and manage for instructors and allows them to incorporate video and other digital content in a few clicks. SchoolTown is also capable of being used to present digital textbooks. Mobile training was developed to increase use of simulation equipment, reduce training cost for simulator operators, support equipment maintenance and repair, and improve the quality of the simulation training. Learners were given access to a mobile Procedural and Troubleshooting Guide. This guide gives learners access to the answers of frequently asked questions at the exact moment that they need it. The mobile portion also included pictures and videos to show learners the step-by-step process of some medical procedures. The mobile app was also used to debrief a simulation and for scenario development. Xpan is a digital knowledge provider that provides custom content designed to provide knowledge experiences for the light rail industry as well as other industry segments. Mobile applications have been developed for rail operation, mainte- nance and safety training, and knowledge acquisition on the workerâs smart phone or tablet. Interactive 3-D modeling provides the worker the opportunity to inspect and install parts that are often not available to the workers. Rail Safe is a trackside table application that allows track inspectors to access tracks in a safe environment using a digital knowledge version, which can be compared to the traditional âLock Out/Tag Out.â Exhibit 7. Examples of mobile learning (transit and non-transit).
Innovative Training Strategies 25 Just-in-Time Mobile Training Mobile apps can be used as just-in-time training for technical skills in the transit industry. Manuals and guides can be accessible by mobile phones so that when a learner is stuck, they have a readily accessible job aid at their fingertips. This can help reduce the amount of simulation time needed to learn knowledge and skills. Once training is complete, learners can have continued access to the app. This allows the app to transition to a true job aid and gives added value to this learning tool. Possible Applications for the Transit Industry Transit Distance Learning Mobile technology could be used to enhance distance learning programs capable of reaching a widespread audience. It could be hard to promote active and engaging learning when learners are spread across multiple locations. Mobile learning technology could be used to engage learners during lessons by making them active participants. Once that session is over, important videos, manuals, or other information can be pushed to the learnersâ mobile devices for easy access. This can help increase both the learnersâ ease of access and exposure to important learning content. Exhibit 7. (Continued). Social Media A broad range of websites and applicationsâincluding Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, blogs, wikis, collaboration portals, audio/ video podcasts, and widgetsâare considered social media. Social media allows users to create and rapidly disseminate information online. These tools can assist in creating a more dynamic and interactive learn- ing community by allowing users quick access to learning opportunities. Social media also facilitates peer collaboration by providing a platform to share and critique ideas. Additionally, using social media for training comes with the potential to reach widespread audiences given the sheer numbers of individual using it. Many distance learning models involving MOOCs already make use of social media to great effect as part of their curriculum. Early data from some of the most widely used courses indicate that learner participation is greatly increased when social media is used as part of the program, and learner drop-out rates are reduced. This may be because of the power that social media has to engage learners outside of the classroom. Many of the existing LMSs also allow for easy integration of social media, allowing facilitators to push content automatically to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. This content could come in the form of notes to remind learners of important assignments and deadlines, a place to have weekly discussion topics, a forum for learners to ask questions and answer each other, a place to share online resources, and more. (See Figure 9.) While social media can help provide engaging content to learners relatively inexpensively, there are some potential challenges. One challenge is that the use of social media to enhance a training program requires that facilitators be well versed in the use of different social media tools. Essentially, the use of social media as a learning tool is only as effective as the person using it. Another challenge is that using social media can only be effective if learners actively engage with it. It is important to ensure that the use of social media in a training program amounts to more than just a place to dump information. One way to do this is by using social media as a place to encourage discussion and the sharing of interesting content among learners. Social media can be used to pose scenarios and real-life problems to learners to solve. This allows the leaners to share suggestions, learn from peers, and ultimately learn the optimal solution to a problem. As an example, circumstances of an actual event and how it was handled Social Media Training Some estimate that as many as 66% of all adults aged 16+ have a profile on at least one social networking site. This means that many learners will have easy access to and familiarity with social media that is used as part of a training program.
26 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources can be described, and followers of the forum, supervisors, management, etc., can respond to the post with advice on how to improve or prevent the situation from happening again in the future. Exhibit 8 provides examples of types of social media used in the transit and non-transit indus- try as well as possible applications for the transit industry. Summary When deciding which approach is best for your training needs, it is important to consider what is most important for the target audience and what the ultimate goals of the training are. For instance, if it is critical that the training be accessible to the target audience at any time, simulations may not be an ideal approach. Similarly, if it is important that the target Figure 9. CTA Transportation Manager Community.
Innovative Training Strategies 27 Examples from the Transit Industry MV Transportation Chicago Transit Authority Xpan Examples beyond the Transit Industry Blue Corona Army Research Lab Colleges Possible Applications for the Transit Industry Transit Technical Skill Training YouTube MV Transportation uses their YouTube channel, MVTransitVids, to show both employee testimonials and Realistic Job Previews for various positions such as Transit Operator. In the comment section of some of these videos are the beginnings of conversations that could be cultivated into meaningful learning discussions. The CTA Transportation Manager Community was launched in 2009 and remained open for about a year. In addition to transportation managers using the forum to post questions, share resources, and offer viewpoints and advice, the vice president of bus operations monitored and posted comments as well. Xpan views social media applications as social learning platforms. Their applications provide virtual environments where learners can collaborate, cooperate, and compete. Social media applications at Xpan are primarily developed around marketing brand awareness and HR recruiting. Xpan also supports an extensive YouTube channel for clients. An inbound marketing, analytics, and optimization company that uses several social media tools as part of training. A Facebook page is used to post interesting and informational articles that employees come across. The company also uses YouTube to post videos on several marketing subjects that provide information for new employees. They use social media to train employees on a cross- geographical level. Using social media relies on more indirect, peer-to-peer, and creative methods, which makes training more engaging to younger learners while saving time and money. Social media is being explored by the Army Research Lab for operator and maintenance training. In one application, users can pose a question in order to receive advice on how to perform a function, providing insights and tips for novice technicians. Many colleges and universities use social media as part of their online courses. For example, often a professor will create a Facebook group where students can go to ask questions, post interesting articles, and engage in active discussion. Live Twitter feeds are also used to hold an open discussion where professors and/or other big names in the field can answer questions posted by learners in real time. Social media can be used to allow learners the opportunity to ask questions and answer each other. This could keep them engaged outside of the classroom and encourage active learning. It can also be used to reinforce lessons learned in class. For example, if one day is spent covering a certain topic and principal of maintenance, learners can be sent links via Twitter to a YouTube video that covers that same topic or principal in an interesting way or in more depth. As exemplified by MV Transportation, YouTube could be used more prominently in the transit industry. YouTube is a powerful platform for the spreading of information and the cultivation of critical discussion. Training programs could post videos to YouTube meant to give learners background on the content prior to the beginning of training. This can help make the training program more efficient as learners could come prepared with a baseline level of knowledge. During the course, YouTube can be used to share videos dealing with interesting material meant to expound on what was learned during the core portion of training. The comment sections of these videos can be used to facilitate critical conversation among learners. Exhibit 8. Examples of social media training (transit and non-transit).
28 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources audience grasp causal relationships, you may want to consider an approach other than using social media. Exhibit 9 identifies areas of strength for each of the various training approaches discussed in this chapter. While each of these approaches could be made to meet any of the iden- tified needs, they may not be optimal for meeting those needs. This table can be used as a guide when considering which training approach may best fit. Remember that training approaches can be combined. Approach C au sa l R el at io n sh ip N o vi ce t o E xp er t R is k A ss es sm en t E n g ag in g In te ra ct iv e L ea rn er C o n tr o l T as k P er fo rm an ce B eh av io r C h an g e A tt it u d e C h an g e A cc es si b ili ty Simulations x x x x x x x x x Gaming x x x x x x x x x x Adaptive Learning and Intelligent Tutoring x x x x x x Transmedia Storytelling x x x x x x x x x x Web-Based Training x x x x x x x x Mobile Learning x x x x x x x x Social Media x x x x x x x x Exhibit 9. Training approaches and their strengths.