One Rail pilots’ innovative solution to accelerate Route Learning
Denova developed a SCORM compliant route learning app for One Rail in Australia, combining desired learning outcomes and expert technical design with the practical constraints of the drivers’ available time for training.
One Rail is one of Australia’s largest rail freight operators, hauling over 45,000,000 wagons annually across Queensland and New South Wales. Committed to maintaining high safety standards they invest in driver training to ensure continued driver competence standards.
Gaining route knowledge and developing driving strategies is essential for One Rail drivers, no more so than on their Hunter Valley route which includes Bylong Tunnel No.3, a 2000m long tunnel that requires drivers to carry specialised air breathing apparatus for self-rescue in the event of an incident. On average, drivers learning the route will make 40 to 50 drives in each direction before being deemed route qualified.
One Rail approached Denova, for their expertise in innovative rail training solutions, to run a pilot project to explore how accelerating the route learning process could reduce the required number of training drives by approximately 20%. Denova’s simulation apps for tablets and smartphones are used to train 20,000+ drivers world-wide so they had the relevant expertise and knowledge to tackle the problem.
Traditional route learning typically involves the driver travelling as an observer in the cab, supported by watching in-cab video and reading network documents. With an aim of accelerating the process, One Rail needed a solution that would offer more, and that would encourage self-paced learning.
Denova developed a SCORM compliant route learning app which combined desired learning outcomes and expert technical design with the practical constraints of drivers’ available time for training.
At the core of the Denova solution was an enhanced route video with synchronised gradient diagrams and network / signalling data from ARTC. This accelerated the learning process by speeding up the time drivers took to develop comprehensive personal mind maps of the route ahead. The app display was further enhanced with the innovative capture of local route knowledge from One Rail drivers and assessors which was converted to onscreen driving strategy advice and knowledge check questions. To enable ease of use, the route learning was divided into manageable 15 minute sections to encourage drivers to adopt a “little and often” self-paced training approach. The drivers technical knowledge and confidence levels were collected regularly throughout to measure progress
A group of One Rail drivers with varying experience were chosen for the pilot. Some had run the route fewer than five times whilst others had experienced 20+ runs. The pilot ran over 4 weeks with the knowledge check questions increasing in difficulty, culminating in an assessment test. Drivers used the app at least once a week for the 4 weeks, and they continued to be rostered onto live training runs as well.
All of the drivers completing the course reported improved confidence in route knowledge and driving strategies with an incremental increase over 4 weeks of up to 50%.
Interestingly, it was not the drivers who had driven the route the most frequently that were the top scorers, rather those who had less driving time but used the app more intensively.
These results demonstrate that the Denova route learning app helps drivers to absorb and retain route knowledge quicker and offers the best opportunity to accelerate the route learning process and so reduce the number of training drives by the targeted 20%.
“The pilot project has been successful and really changes the drivers’ learning process from passive to active. It offers operators an innovative means of accelerating route learning within their Driver training programmes. The Denova team are very easy to work with and offer real innovation both in terms of technology and insight into rail training content” Graeme Murphy. Training Coordinator. One Rail