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3 This section describes effective approaches for developing training, beginning with instruc- tional systems design (ISD). ISD provides a disciplined, proven approach to creating, delivering, and evaluating instruction. This section also provides information on standards that can be used to create effective transit training, such as those that specify topics that should be addressed for different occupations. Instructional Systems Design (ISD) ISD is the scientific and systematic development of training or materials to help learners acquire knowledge or skills, drawing on the fields of psychology and education. It encompasses the entire process of analysis of learning needs and goals through the development, delivery, and evaluation of training to meet those needs and goals. Through systematic analysis using models to define and classify learning objectives and instructional strategies, ISD can promote both more effective and efficient learning. The origins of ISD are traced to World War II, although research in learning began in the late 1800s with the work of Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist whose research on memory resulted in his famous learning and forgetting curves that were experimentally established. This work is used today and helps inform the need for refresher training. Today, ISD is used widely by commercial industry in addition to the military and other com- ponents of the government, particularly where lives depend on successful performance. Research continues in multiple aspects of ISD including learning strategies and use of new media and technology platforms (e.g., mobile devices). As one of the largest training institutions, the U.S. military continues to invest heavily in training, training technology, and research in the areas of learning and ISD. In fact, the military services mandate the use of ISD in their training. Similarly, the Federal Highway Administrationâs National Highway Institute has implemented ISD techniques in the development of their training. They have established standards guides for instructor-led and web-based training that are followed during the design, development, and implementation of all of their training. These standards have also been adopted by other agencies. A copy of these guidelines is provided in Appendix A. Some transit organizations have staff with extensive backgrounds in ISD and training. Additionally, there are organizations and resources within the transit industryâsuch as the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), transportation research organizations, and the university research centersâwho offer ISD expertise and whose training products reflect the application of instructional systems design and that serve as examples of best practices in transit training. C H A P T E R 2 Effective Approaches for Training Program Development
4 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources One example is the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR). CUTR has implemented ISD to create and deploy traditional classroom training along with asynchronous and synchronous web-based training solutions such as self-paced computer-based training (CBT) and videos as well as interactive webinars, net casts, and online courses in a wide range of disciplines and topics. CUTR monitors the success of a training program using assessments. A comprehensive assessment strategy is used to continuously monitor program performance. Reviews, assessments, and comparisons involving performance measurement and operating indicators evaluate four phases of the program: classroom/hands-on instruction, curriculum, instructor performance, and on-the-job training. To assist in determining whether training follows ISD, we created a series of questions to consider. The list highlights factors to look for in the training and is not intended to be all encompassing but rather to serve as more of an indicator of whether ISD was used. This list is provided in Appendix B. National Standards for Training Standards can be used to create quality training by providing documented requirements that reflect best practices. There are two categories of standards within the transportation industry. One category addresses the technical aspects of operating and maintaining transportation sys- tems, and the other category specifically gives guidance concerning workforce competencies and qualifications for training. In terms of the operational standards, the U.S. Federal Transit Administration supports standards created by APTA. Prior to APTA developing standards, standards were lacking in the public transportation industry; however, since 1995 they have developed and released hundreds of standards. Standards development is led by the Standards Development and Oversight Coun- cil and various Standards Policy and Planning Committees, including hundreds of industry volunteers who work to develop standards for bus, rail, transit and commuter rail operations, maintenance, procurement, and Intelligent Transportation Systems. When implemented and maintained, these standards accomplish the following: â¢ Lead agencies to safer and more efficient operations â¢ Provide better methods for system procurement â¢ Lower maintenance costs â¢ Encourage design and operation innovation â¢ Create processes where transit systems can share best practices â¢ Increase and improve transit system/supplier communication â¢ Make development of procurements specifications easier and less costly â¢ Make legal defense more effective in liability cases â¢ Help states establish/improve safety oversight programs â¢ Provide guidance to new start transit systems â¢ Create opportunities for reliability/efficiency improvements â¢ Decrease training costs â¢ Advocate uniformity across the industry The operational standards provide validated practices and procedures that can be used in designing training and provide agreed-upon practices that become the instructional content. Using standards for training development promotes accuracy and consistency in what is taught. It may also reduce or eliminate the need to collect input from subject matter experts, thereby reducing the time and cost associated with developing training. Instructional Systems Design in Transit Metra uses instructional systems design in creating training and considers involvement of instructional systems designers in the development of training as a critical component of creating effective training.
Effective Approaches for Training Program Development 5 In terms of creating standards for the workforce, the Transit Training Network has collaborated with APTA to develop standards for training. The Transit Training Network is a program of the Transportation Learning Center whose mission is to improve public transportation at the national level and within communities by building partnerships that improve organizational performance; expand workforce knowledge, skills, and abilities; and promote career advancement. The Transit Training Network worked with APTA to develop standards that have become an important element of public transportation. Industry volunteers from both labor and manage- ment have developed training standards with learning objectives for providing instruction in several essential bus and rail occupations. These standards help improve the quality of training and are used to achieve operational efficiencies and safety improvements for those agencies applying the standards. Examples of the standards include the following: â¢ Bus Standards: The National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee has developed apprenticeship standards with the goal of training bus maintenance technicians in all areas of bus maintenance. To do this, they have developed training syllabi to instruct bus maintenance technicians on the ASE Transit Bus certification, to include the following course topics: â Air Brake Systems Test â Diesel Engines Test â Electrical/Electronics Test â HVAC Test â Transmission and Drive Train Test â EPA Emissions Standards and Treatment Technologies â Hybrid Drive Systems Transit Training Network and APTA Training Standards
6 Transit Technical Training, Volume 1: Guide to Applying Best Practices and Sharing Resources â¢ Rail Standards: â Signals Training â Electrical Systems â Rail Traction â Rail Signals Maintenance â Rail Vehicle Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship â Rail Vehicles Maintenance â¢ Facility Maintenance Standards: â Transit Elevator-Escalator â Elevator and Escalator Maintenance Training â Transit Elevator-Escalator Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship There are a number of organizations that have used standards in creating effective transit training programs. For example, Metra applies the Federal Railroad Administrationâs training standards for its Operations and Mechanical personnel.