Driving tests

Should you do online training or in-class training

Driver training can be done either online, in-class, in-vehicle or a mix of the three.

Online training: learning materials are completed using a computer, tablet or smartphone

In-class: learning is done with an instructor in a classroom

In-vehicle: learning is done either in the cab of the vehicle (e.g. you driving with an instructor), or with the instructor supervising you operating the vehicle or machinery.

Online training is usually cheaper than instructor-led training because you are not paying the instructor’s costs, but price should not be the deciding factor.

DT Driver Training offers all three options, with instructor-led course components available on some courses through our sister company, TR Driver Training. Some courses have an option to do either just online, online plus classroom or online plus in-vehicle. In some courses, an instructor-led portion is mandatory because certain requirements must be met with a qualified, registered instructor or trainer.

What scenarios are best for online training?

Choosing online training might mean you choose the whole course or a blended option (some online, some with an instructor). Courses that require a unit standard (e.g. D Endorsement and F endorsement) must have an instructor-led component, while others (e.g. forklift operator’s certificate) can be done in-house with online training, blended (online + instructor), or instructor-led theory and practical.

When choosing online training, the following points might be considerations.

  • You have computers, tablets or smartphones available for the trainees to use.
  • You have someone who can allocate time for the trainees to do the online courses (i.e. treating it like an appointment with a trainer), or your team are highly motivated to complete it in their own time.
  • The trainee has reasonable time management skills if they are left to coordinate their own training schedule.
  • The trainee has English as a second language and wants to use the translation features.
  • Getting a block of time off to do a full day course is not possible, but it’s easy to find half an hour here or there, so a trainee can do a few modules at a time.
  • The trainee lives a long way from instructor-led training options.
  • The trainee is computer-savvy and openly expresses a preference for online training.
  • The trainee wants to be able to refer back to the course materials over a number of months while building confidence with the newly learned skills.
  • An in-house trainer wants to support learning and work with the online materials to help them be more efficient.
  • Nightshift workers often prefer online training because they can do it when they are most awake; it also works better for the employer in terms of scheduling.
  • You prefer online training because of the reporting available and the ability to see who has done what in minute detail.
  • Your budget doesn’t extend to instructor-led training.
  • A trainee completed instructor-led training recently and you would like to do a refresher course, e.g. the trainee attended an instructor-led rollover/stability course and 6-months on you’d like to use the online rollover prevent refresher course.
  • The course is information heavy – online learners tend to show better retention of facts in a shorter space of time
  • You can’t get into an instructor-led session before a specific qualification expires.

Note that with online training, you get the best success by treating it like an instructor-led training session: set a specific time for training with a completion deadline to work towards, and provide them the means to do the training.

What scenarios are best for using an instructor for training?

Some of the reasons below might be relevant if you are choosing blended learning (where some is done online and some is done with an instructor), or they may mean that you would like the whole course done with an instructor:

  • If you want all of your team to go through the same training at the same time for team-building reasons as well as completing the training.
  • The trainee is not computer literate, or you don’t have the right computer equipment for them to train on.
  • You have a good relationship with a specific instructor and you want to maintain some consistency.
  • There are some highly specific elements to the training that are not covered in an online course, which will be more generic.
  • If the trainee has zero to minimal experience with a particular machine and you prefer that they are given hands-on training with an instructor.
  • If you want an assessment with a report.
  • You need to use equipment that the instructor has, but you don’t have available at the time e.g. it’s always in-use for your business.
  • The trainee prefers instructor-led training
  • The trainee is not self-motivated or good at time management
  • Your company doesn’t have a person who is willing or able to do any required practical supervision or assessment
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Darren has written over 3000 articles about driving and vehicles, plus almost 500 vehicle reviews and numerous driving courses. Connect with him on LinkedIn by clicking the name above

Posted in Advice