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All You Need To Know About Driver Training: Online & Traditional

As the tools and technology in the commercial vehicle space are evolving, truck drivers are becoming more and more sophisticated. Yet, choosing the right training option that fits individual driver's needs can be somewhat of a challenge. When a truck driver is off the road, he is not making money – simple as that. So how to capitalize on the maximum amount of training, in optimum amount of time?

Truck driver looking at a mobile device inside truck cabin.

Here we discuss all the options that are available and how to tackle vital training head on:

Online training
How online classes work
Online classes: Synchronous vs. Asynchronous
Which course format is best for a driver?
Enrolling in an Online Driver Training Program
Tips for Success in a driver Online Classes
Pros of Traditional Driver Training
Cons of Traditional Driver Training
Pros of Online Driver Training
Cons of Online Driver Training
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Online Training


Depending on where a driver lives, family responsibilities, full-time or part-time jobs that a driver may hold, or what a driver is studying, they may be able to quickly decide if pursuing an Online Driver Training is the right choice for them.

1. Online Class Requirements

While a driver will not be required to be physically present in class, online classes do have requirements a driver should be aware of.

2. Textbooks

Many Online Driver Training courses still require a driver to purchase physical books as part of their requirements. This may come as a surprise to some, thinking that everything will be delivered solely online.

Depending on the type of Driver Training course a driver are taking, a driver may be required to order or purchase several textbooks. This cost needs to be accounted for each course.

3. Computer & Internet

While a computer may seem obvious for an online course, it is important to note that this computer needs to be reliable and available. Fast internet will help to make accessing a driver coursework convenient as well.

4. Devoted Time

Just because there is usually not a scheduled “meeting” time for online classes, that does not mean that a driver should not put a driver coursework on a driver schedule. Most online courses are even more rigorous than traditional, which means it is extra important that a driver consistently devote time.

Dashboards in a truck next to driver in the seat.

How Online Classes Work


In order for a driver to succeed in online courses, they need a solid understanding of how these classes work. For drivers that are accustomed to in-person, on-campus classes, the structure of online courses can feel foreign. Each Driver Training course will have a slightly different online structure, and so will programs in different fields.

1. Required interaction with Instructor and others taking the course

While a driver will not be spending face-to-face time with a driver instructor and others taking the course that does not mean that a driver will not be getting to know them. In fact, some drivers in online courses argue that they actually felt like they interacted more online than they did in traditional classes. For the most part, this interaction comes in the form of graded discussions, responses, and journals. A driver is held accountable for how much a he/she interacts and a driver understanding of the material being covered. It’s surprising to some that it is actually harder in an online course to breeze through the term.

2. Technology

Various technology is used by different Driver Training programs to ensure that online learning is valuable.

From how a driver submits work to how a driver receives it, technology plays a huge role. Advances in technology, such as easy-to-access video cameras, are allowing service provides to offer more rigorous and helpful training experience for online drivers.

For the most part, the majority of drivers have everything they need right now in order to take part in online learning. Some programs may require a driver to purchase or download additional technology.

All of these requirements should be clearly spelled out in the Driver Training handbook. Therefore, a driver will be equipped with everything a driver need from the get-go.

3. Coursework

Most online programs deliver weekly coursework in the form of modules. Each module can contain reading assignments, discussion boards, tests, projects, and other types of assignments.

While a driver can typically see all of the coursework needed at the start of the term, most Driver Training programs keep modules closed until a driver arrive at that week, which means a driver can’t submit work or participate in discussions in advance.

4. Tests and Exams

The majority of online Driver Training programs offer their tests and exams in the form of multiple-choice tests or fill in the blanks.

Because the environment cannot be controlled in most cases, the exams are designed around the idea that a driver will have access to a driver notes, the internet, and a driver textbook.

And while there are always opportunities to cheat, new technology is ensuring that even drivers in online courses are held accountable.

View of a highway ramp and cars from the truck cabin.

Online Classes: Synchronous vs. Asynchronous


When looking at online courses, there are not too many differences when it comes to schedules: they are either synchronous or asynchronous.

Synchronous

Synchronous online courses require a driver to meet at a scheduled time weekly and a driver participate in class live at that time.

For many drivers, this type of schedule is beneficial for several reasons. Not only are a driver given a structure for completing coursework, but there is more comprehensive and meaningful interaction between a driver and other drivers taking the course.

Asynchronous

The majority of online classes are asynchronous.

Asynchronous online courses allow a driver to login to a driver class to complete a driver assignment at a time that is most convenient for a driver. A driver can think of asynchronous learning as investing in a gym membership; the gym does not require a driver to report a certain number of times nor does it request that a driver stop working at any point either.

There is more freedom in asynchronous courses, yes, but it is also up to a driver to make sure a driver meet all of a driver class deadlines.


Which Course Format is Best for a Driver?


How a driver likes to learn and a driver personality are huge factors to consider when determining which type of course, synchronous or asynchronous, is right for a driver. Before a driver enroll, consider which environment will best help a driver succeed.

• Does a driver need a schedule to be created for a driver to adhere to in order to keep a driver motivated
• Is real-time interaction with peers important to a driver?
• Is a driver’s schedule constantly fluctuating, making it hard to know when a driver will have time to study?
• Does a driver have a timeline for when a driver needs to finish this course or program?

Truck driver smiling while driving.

Enrolling in an Online Driver Training Program


With more Driver Training schools offering online courses, enrollment is an easy process.

1. Requirements

Depending on if a driver is enrolling in a single course or an entire program, what field it is in the requirements will of course be different. Personal statements of interest and intent and references are also common requirements for many courses.

2. Instructors

Almost every online course or program gives a driver access to an Instructor, which is an invaluable tool a driver should definitely use.

A driver instructor can answer a driver’s questions. A driver instructor is also a great person to talk to when a driver need advice or want to make sure a driver are on the right track.


Tips for Success in a driver Online Classes


If a driver chooses to enroll in an online class, dedication and discipline is necessary for success. Understanding how this course, program, is going to help a driver in the future will give a driver the motivation a driver need to continue even when a driver feel like quitting.

1. Tutoring

Very few, if any, online Driver Training schools offer free tutoring to all drivers. Drivers should take advantage of this resource.

These tutors are paid for by a driver’s tuition, so not using those means that a driver money is literally going to waste.

So many drivers in online courses forget to use tutors, simply because the idea of “tutoring” brings to mind the picture of face-to-face interaction. However, online tutors are just as helpful, willing to read assignments before a driver submits them and even set up virtual sessions to answer a driver questions.

2. Communicate with an instructor

Just because a driver is completing the course outside of the classroom does not mean that a driver instructor is not there to help. When a driver has questions or needs help, drivers should not hesitate to reach out to a driver instructor via email or discussion boards.

Knowing that a driver instructor is there to help a driver can reduce stress and will most certainly help a driver succeed.

3. Class participation

Like anything, there are always ways to cheat online, but, as the old saying goes, when a driver cheats, a driver is cheating a himself.
In online courses, that old adage could not be more true. While a driver can only complete half the reading or stop responding to questions because a driver met a “quota” of participation, know that participation is the key to success.

Whenever possible a driver should ask questions, respond to comments, engage with a driver instructor and peers, and, of course, stay on top of the work that is assigned to a driver.

If a driver is new to online courses, adjusting this style of learning can be intimidating. Nevertheless, knowing that a driver has support from a driver peers and instructor, as well as a big reason “why” will help to keep a driver on the path to success.

Man looking at a mobile device in the passenger seat, with truck driver looking over.

Pros of Traditional Driver Training

  1. Total participation: Drivers will have direct interaction with the instructor, and be able to ask questions or more explanation on areas they did not understand, which facilitates participative learning.

  2. Face to face interaction: Drivers can easily have face-to-face interactions, while solving complex assignments as a group with others also participating in the driver-training program.

  3. Establish responsibility among the drivers: Traditional training programs use a fixed timetable that must be followed by all drivers to help drivers to prepare for future responsibilities.

  4. Learn through real examples: Attending classes will enable drivers to gain necessary skills and knowledge that can be leveraged to promote their contribution to the trucking industry through real examples.

  5. Wide knowledge: Traditional schools equip drivers with a wide scope of knowledge compared to other alternative methods of education. Drivers can learn technical skills, while learning Hands-On.

  6. Instructor-centered learning: instructors are the main source of information to the drivers. Instructors not only transfer knowledge to drivers, but also help them focused on the trucking industry. They essentially act as role models to the drivers.

  7. Increased student achievement: instructors work together with the drivers to encourage them to improve their driving skills in school. They act as a source of motivation for improving their abilities in the classroom.

Cons of Traditional Driver Training

  1. Cost of commuting: Using traditional Driver Training is more expensive due to the increased cost of commuting to the school, and looking for the accommodation within the school environment.

  2. No flexible study hours: Drivers working may find it difficult to study in traditional Driver Training due to rigid schedules. Use of modern methods can minimize the challenges faced by drivers.

  3. Less time in pursuing other tasks: Drivers have to organize their daily tasks based on class attendance timetable that may leave them with less time to pursue other tasks during a workday.

  4. Lack of motivation: Drivers may feel that they do not have the opportunity to express their interests and skills using the traditional Driver Training paradigm. They view attending school as an obligation they are mandated to follow, rather than being there because they want to.

  5. Lack of career direction: Allowing drivers to focus on different interests within the school may divert their attention in the classroom, and this may affect their future career growth. Drivers will spend more time and effort learning something that may not help them later in their lives and in their future career.

  1. Drivers become passive listeners: in traditional schools, drivers merely absorb the information being taught in class. Drivers are supposed to listen to the instructors, and sometimes their lack interest of in a topic will result in them becoming passive listeners. Drivers have to learn with the pace of their instructors.

  2. Use of authoritarian approach: instructors use their authority in making all the decisions concerning drivers, leaving them with no room to express themselves. This can widen the gap between instructors and drivers.

Truck driver looking at his mobile device and hours of service.

Pros of Online Driver Training


The ability to take complete a Driver Training program online is invaluable for so many drivers.

In addition, while there are some disadvantages the benefits tend to outweigh them, which is why so many people today are opting to enroll in online Driver Training.

  1. Flexible scheduling: Most online courses provide a driver with more flexibility than a traditional on-campus class.

This means a driver can do a coursework around their work schedule and family life. Rather than needing to attend a 9:00 a.m. class every week, a driver can, for the most part, choose when they will study, so long as a driver submits their work by the scheduled deadlines..

  1. Faster completion: A large number of Driver Training can offer shorter semesters. Instead of having to attend classes for 16 weeks, a driver can enroll in 8-week online courses, and spend half the time earning a driver credits in that subject.

In many cases, new classes start every month or every other month giving a driver the opportunity to start classes now instead of waiting until the beginning of the traditional fall or spring semester.

  1. Study anytime: With online classes, a driver has the ability to study on the fly. A driver may not have a 4-hour block of time to sit down and study, but a driver can fit studying in throughout a driver day. Log on to the message boards while eating breakfast, listen to a lecture on the drive to work, read a few chapters on a driver lunch hour, or take a practice test while preparing dinner.

Studies show that learning in shorter bursts is actually better than long study sessions because it promotes retention and genuine understanding.

  1. Login from anywhere: Because online Driver Training courses allow a driver to live virtually anywhere, a driver enjoy the convenience of getting to live where a driver want to or need to, and even travel while a driver is studying.

  2. Access to more Driver Training institutions: Depending on the program a driver wants to take, a driver local institution may not offer exactly what a driver are looking for. Nevertheless, with online courses, a driver can take a specialty program at an institution thousands of miles away, without the inconvenience of needing to uproot a driver from their current location.

  3. No commute: Commuting to class can waste valuable time! It also makes a driver susceptible to problems beyond a driver control – like traffic congestion, car trouble, and dangerous weather conditions – that can keep a driver from getting to class on time or at all.

To “attend” an online class, a driver just needs to log on! A driver will not waste precious time, or have to worry about what is going on between a driver and campus.

  1. Potentially lower costs: One of the main reasons drivers choose an online program is to save money.

The majority of people who study online say that cost is their number one priority. In addition, because drivers are opting for affordability, this means that more and more Driver Training schools are figuring out ways to get creative, so that the cost of these programs can remain affordable.

The main benefit of Online Driver Training is convenience. A driver can learn in the comfort of their home or wherever a driver can get an internet connection. Online courses are available 24/7, allowing a driver to learn when it is convenient for a driver. A driver can log into an Online Driver Training program as frequently as needed, and a driver does not have to spend their weekends or evenings in a classroom. This setup works best for drivers with busy schedules, who may live far from in-person Driver Training facilities, or drivers who would otherwise have difficulty finding a ride to and from Driver Training facilities.

Online Driver Training benefits drivers who work well in self-paced learning environments.  Drivers who can keep up with self-taught course work, who don't need person-to-person attention from an instructor, and who do not need a traditional classroom setting to learn may like online Driver Training. Online programs provide access to instructors and additional resources, such as websites and videos, to supplement the online lessons.

A driver can avoid certain costs with online Driver Training, such as gas, parking or public transportation expenses. Online classes are relatively affordable, usually costing between $50 and $100 for the entire course, and may include several opportunities to take sample written exams. Some online Driver Training schools allow a driver to pay only a portion of the fee upfront, which gives a driver the opportunity to try the program before a making a commitment.

Truck driver filling out a report in a mobile device with Marc Moncion in the  passenger seat.

Cons of Online Driver Training


The disadvantages of Online Classes:

  1. No face-to-face interaction

  2. Not all majors are available

  3. Increased personal responsibility

  4. Networking challenges

  5. Requires self-direction

Online programs are not highly regulated.  As a result, the quality of Driver Training can vary greatly. A truck driver cannot learn to drive a truck online.  Therefore, drivers should already have their necessary driving license and endorsements prior to undertaking the online truck driving courses.

Online Driver Training is not necessarily the fastest route to becoming a professional truck driver. A good Driver Training program course should last at least four to six weeks to prevent drivers from speeding through material and missing the fundamentals that will make them safe professional truck drivers. Self-paced learning can take longer than in-person Driver Training if drivers only log in to the course sparingly, sporadically or for a few minutes at a time.

The abundance of online Driver Training programs can make it difficult to choose the best. Check if an online driver education program is part of the Better Business Bureau, if it belongs to any professional organizations, and get references and reviews from people a driver knows, or from reputable online websites.

Would like to know more? Have a burning question about driver training that was not covered here? Reach out! 

Call us: 1-888-305-8777
Or ask Marc Moncion by clicking here!

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