Digitalt utbildningsprotokoll: en pilotstudie av ett verktyg vid privat övningskörning

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Statistics from the Swedish Road Transport Administration show that less than half of learner drivers pass their driving test. An important explanation for this is that a large proportion of learner drivers who fail their test do not prepare sufficiently for the test. Researchers and professional driver trainers have therefore looked for new solutions and tools which can improve the educational process. A desired effect would be for more people to pass their driving test and thus shorten the waiting times for the test itself.

The Swedish National Association of Driver Trainers (STR) therefore wondered if a digital education protocol (DUP) could help in reducing the number of re-takes. Thereafter, the development of the protocol started. Firstly, through discussions in a workshop with stakeholders and key persons and then through interviews with supervisors, driver trainer and researchers. In the final DUP, 15 training blocks were included, where text, images and films explained and described an exercise based on the objectives of the national curriculum. Either the private supervisor or the driver trainer could approve a teaching ‘block’, when its goal was considered to be fulfilled.

In order to establish how DUP has been introduced at driving schools, how it has been used and if it has resulted in fewer re-takes, a ‘process evaluation’ and a before and after study were conducted. Methods used were surveys and a register, which was updated every time a private supervisor reported that they wanted to participate in the pilot study. The driving schools were responsible for recruiting supervisors during their introductory training. Recruitment started late autumn 2015 and lasted until autumn 2017 when more than 350 supervisors took part in the study. According to the register, there were very few participants who, at the beginning of 2017, had approved any of the blocks. In order to find out why a short survey was distributed to the group. The results showed that the large majority had not started to drive with the students, but there were also some who had technical problems. As a result of this evaluation the manual was revised, and information material was produced, which the driving schools could use in connection with supervisors' introductory training. One year later when the recruitment of new supervisors stopped and 369 had registered, a new web survey was sent out.

This survey measured the effect of DUP but also how it had been used. The response rate was rather low, about 10 percent. Of the responses from 47 supervisors, it appeared that half of them had not noticed the material in the DUP. The main reason for this was that they had forgotten that they had registered an interest in participating, that they had not started to practice driving with their students or that they had changed their minds and no longer wanted to use the tool. Of those who had used the DUP, one third said that the DUP was a great support for them. The tool was used as a source of inspiration but there were only a few who also had approved any of the blocks which would indicate that it was completed. The reasons were, among other things, that the supervisor was unable to use it for technical reasons, that the block was not completed and/or that they saw no point in it. Fourteen percent of the supervisors who answered the survey considered that the DUP should become mandatory for private driver training. While several gave positive feedback on the DUP, some supervisors described the technical problems that had occurred. Some of the supervisors argued that it should be adapted to the mobile phone. The result from this pilot study did not find any significant difference between the groups who used it or those who did not when it came to how many ‘re-tests’ the learner driver had to take before getting his/her license.

The conclusion from this project is that a training protocol, i.e. DUP, can be helpful for supervisors but that further actions are needed to increase its use. Technically, it needs to be easier to use, no matter which application is being used. Since some considered that the manual was enough, the content should be reviewed and offer such things that a printed manual cannot offer as easily. For example, feedback and links to movies. However, those who participated in this pilot project cannot be considered representative, since the number of ‘re-tests’ was considerably smaller and the number of privately reported tests was virtually non-existent. This means that further actions are needed to attract the group that might be most in need of the support that a DUP can provide. For instance, making DUP a mandatory requirement, which means that DUP must be included in the education. In addition, it is suggested that all blocks must be approved, either by the supervisor or a driver trainer, before a learner driver can registered for the driving test. In order to further strengthen the value of DUP, we recommend that the use of DUP is done in consultation with a driver trainer and that it becomes much clearer that both supervisors and teachers can approve parts.

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