Obtaining benefits with bus simulator supplemental training

Posted on April 11, 2012 by Louie Maiello - Also by this author

Picking up from my last blog, I would like to thank all those that came out to the three educational sessions conducted on Driver Training Simulation at the National RTAP and its partner organizations, the Federal Transit Administration and the National Tribal Transit Association in Fort McDowell, Ariz. I am looking forward to the follow-up conversations. It appeared the simulator hands-on training was well-received.

With that under your belt now, I thought the following words would be a nice follow-up to the sessions and questions that were asked:

Understanding how to blend simulator supplemental training into an existing training curriculum will most definitely lead to favorable results and positive benefits to a training program. Attempting to build a curriculum around the simulator is a mistake.

It can be a costly and unfavorable venture. The return on the training dollars that would have been invested in this tool in the form of favorable results and proven documented data to justify the purchase will be compromised. Curriculum in place first, then simulation supplementation.

Having the following three ingredients in place will minimize the possibility of not reaping the expected benefits of simulation training:

  1. Upper management buy-in.
  2. Instructor accountability.
  3. Pilot programs.

With regard to simulation, a lack of standardization in the application of simulator supplemental training can interfere with the process of obtaining the benefits one would hope to receive. When utilized properly in the hands of a knowledgeable, enthusiastic and creative instructor, the benefits will be easily recognized by all in the form of collision reductions, lower claims, a lowering of the student wash-out rate and an increase in only the cream of the crop of trainees being released to passenger service.

Chief training officers must remain aware that the lead simulator instructor can make or break a simulator program. They must be carefully selected and have the ability to identify a qualified back up ready to step in as necessary. The lead instructor is one of the most important, if not the most important, ingredient to ensure that simulator training remains effective and that the excitement generated early on during “Train the Trainer” sessions does not cease, causing the simulator not to be utilized as it should.

Training agencies can apply this supplemental training in different ways to improve training in general. Supplementation to an existing curriculum and not a replacement for curriculum is the correct application process.

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "OCTA CEO: New paratransit aids customers, improves efficiencies" here.


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