Next Level Learning

Ron Finemore Transport has partnered with team-based microlearning platform, Yarno, to promote better learning engagement with their drivers.

Tasked with administering greater compliance protocols, road transport companies are often challenged with a paradoxical situation — educate and update drivers in a classroom environment that takes them off the road where they are needed most.

Having them sit in a meeting, even for short sessions, is difficult to justify when the pressure of delivering goods is paramount and mounting.

This was a stumbling block the team at Ron Finemore Transport (RFT) knew only too well in 2017 as it sought to integrate a flexible learning platform that would help it to obtain better engagement with its commercial vehicle operators without eating into crucial operational hours.

According to Shane Tucker, Ron Finemore Transport’s Safety, Operational Risk & Compliance Manager, the company understood it had to find an appropriate balance between these two priorities that were competing for the one thing nobody could afford to spare — time.

“Like many businesses in commercial road transport, we want a highly mobile workforce. But delivering training and trying to bring drivers up to speed on legislative requirements and CoR just wasn’t working for us and we couldn’t get proper engagement,” he recalls. “We considered a number of platforms but they all had very stock standard learning material and so we looked to how we could customise something to suit our needs where we could give flexible training that related to our equipment and company-specific procedures.”

Company founder, Ron Finemore, through an existing relationship, recommended Yarno as a potential solution.

A tech platform that interweaves learning science, gamification, and microlearning principles to help teams learn more, in less time.

Yarno does this by delivering small doses of knowledge at the most crucial points in the learning process.

For Shane, what became immediately apparent about it was the ease of use. Information delivery could be tailored in campaigns via short, attention-grabbing quiz questions.

“It turns the learning into a game and the drivers are really learning without realising it,” says Shane. “Drivers would see an overall score of who has got the most questions right, who got the questions right on the first attempt, who has got the longest winning streak or which team or individual is at the top of the leaderboard.”

He adds, “The other real strength of it is, if someone doesn’t get the question right, they get an explanation of the correct answer and they get that coaching there and then at the time.”

Yarno allows RFT drivers to engage in three points of learning. It enables the driver-trainers to inform, demonstrate, and then measure that learning individually and across the team.

In this context, training that is both repeatable and, above all, recordable, makes sense. Having the ability to target a campaign about fatigue management, coupling and uncoupling, and load restraint, with particular relevance to the type of freight it was moving, soon made it obvious Yarno was a superior tool for driver training and development at RFT.

By 2018 it was in full use as a platform of choice across the organisation. Yarno offers two types of campaigns.

A ‘burst campaign’ is a short, one-off campaign involving a few questions related to the same subject.

These short engagements of five minutes might ask a driver to answer five to ten questions one morning.

The other type of campaign is an ‘embed campaign’, where learners answer two to three questions each day, over an overage of 15 working days.

An ‘embed campaign’ is used to introduce learners to new information, identify knowledge and compliance gaps, and most importantly reinforce previously learned knowledge over time.

“It actually challenges the person by having slightly different formats on the questions,” says Shane.

A driver trainer can trigger a Yarno burst or embed campaign to up-skill the driver in any areas they might need to address. Knowledge gaps are quickly identified and filled through this targeted approach so any problems are immediately addressed.

When it comes to operational compliance it helps ensure the correct process is followed in the future and a record of the training is logged in the platform dashboard.

Over the last 12 months, RFT saw an average of 25 per cent improvement from first to second question attempt.

The Yarno application is mainly visual-based. Questions are often presented using graphic representations.

For this reason, Shane was skeptical, at first, concerned that the drivers, many of whom are in their 50s and older, might not be tech-savvy enough to take advantage of the benefits inherent in the format.

“I was really surprised by the level of engagement we saw,” says Shane. “Having a scoreboard meant it became a bit of an in-house competition between different friends and teams. If a driver couldn’t log-in to the system, they were quick to come and see us because they didn’t want to get left behind.”

Younger drivers, whom the industry is eager to attract, can’t simply download the type of invaluable experience that goes into 20 years of driving trucks interstate.

Yarno can also help here by drip-feeding some of the technical and safety expertise that is usually acquired over a long career.

“It exposes them in a very compact way to all the elements of their task,” explains Shane. “As long as you follow that up with engagement and welfare checks. If they have any questions or if they’ve seen anything through the Yarno campaign that they don’t understand, they can come and ask questions and you can give them that support.”

To that degree, more importantly, Yarno is a conversation starter. Quite often questions are ambiguous to encourage the driver to think about the answer.

Certain they had the question right when it was incorrect, drivers will seek out trainers to discern where they went wrong.

For Shane, it’s about coaching and correcting insofar as it helps build a culture of interaction with the safety team or the driver trainer team — engaging with them isn’t a disciplinarian action, it’s a learning.

“Yarno has really helped us break down those barriers,” he says.

“People think if they’re talking to one of the trainers it’s because they’ve done something wrong. No, you can come and talk to them because you genuinely want to learn more.”

Yarno is also proving worthwhile for the veteran drivers who have a wealth of experience but can be hard to pin down, given they are usually in the most demand for work.

“Yarno can help identify if there’s a change in equipment, a change in process or if there’s a new technique around say temperature control units,” Shane explains. “It helps us touch base with those more experienced drivers but not to be too intrusive. With this way of learning they don’t feel like ‘I’ve been doing this for 30 years and now you’re dragging me into a classroom.’ It’s more about here’s a couple of questions and you’re freshened up and you know what’s going on.”

So successful has Yarno proven, the platform is now being used in RFT’s driver induction process.

Drivers inducted with Yarno all perform higher in their driver assessments one year later, largely attributed to greater retention of information.

The ability to leverage cognitive science insights to driver training content, according to Shane, makes for greater transparency when it comes to gaps in knowledge on the chain of responsibility.

“If they don’t respond or we don’t get an answer we’ll have a driver-trainer follow up one-on-one and that may include coming in for a practical refresher session on whatever the topic is,” he says.

“But we certainly get insight from how they’re travelling from using Yarno.” When Yarno was first integrated into driver training, RFT rolled out a targeted campaign relevant to its fuel delivery wing, a major service it provides key accounts. Using Yarno helped deliver a major outcome in the reduction in overall risks of having a crossover and near-misses as drivers better understood individual components in the process.

“Yarno allowed us to identify and target key areas such as disconnecting the airlines correctly,” recalls Shane.

“Understanding the use of what a locking jaw looks like when it’s fully engaged. It was to deepen the knowledge the driver had. They weren’t following a process because it was a process. It helped them understand why a step in the process was critical.”

In this regard RFT were trying to instil into its people that a process is not to be followed for the sake of the process but rather because of an understanding as to why it was ultimately going to keep them safe.

RFT has, subsequently, expanded how it applies Yarno in the business since it was first successfully introduced. But has it removed the need for gathering drivers together in classrooms?

“It’s greatly reduced it,” says Shane. “There’s still the benefit of having a standout toolbox meeting. We still use other methods through safety alerts, information sharing, but this is certainly a significant part of how we confirm the drivers have the knowledge that we’re comfortable with. It’s probably replaced 80 to 85 per cent of our classroom training.”

Yarno mobile app.
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