TX: National RTAP and CTeL Partner for Online Driver Training

Rural and small urban transit drivers can learn to be safer vehicle operators using state-of-the-art instructional design and online learning technology thanks to a new partnership between the National Rural Transit Assistance Program (National RTAP) and The Center for Transportation e-Learning (CTeL)

The groundbreaking agreement will result in the creation of a highly interactive online version of National RTAP’s industry recognized Safety Training and Rural Transit (START) educational program for industry drivers.

National RTAP’s START course has been a staple of the industry since 1988. Updated in 2008, it continues to be one of the most popular National RTAP training modules—13,700 copies of the START guides and discs for instructors and learners were shipped to or downloaded by customers between 2009 and 2013. It’s been available through classroom presentation or DVD, but never online in a self-directed format. Under the new agreement, CTeL will create an updated, fully online version of the course, host it on the CTeL learning center, and make it available to transit companies throughout the U.S.

“The online START program will be designed using engaging, highly interactive learning techniques,” according to Ron Baumgart, CTeL’s Executive Director. “It will include effective and entertaining learning exercises and all of the outstanding instruction currently in the START program. Each student’s activities and assessments will be tracked in the learning system and documented in an online, password protected learning transcript.”

National RTAP is extremely pleased to be partnering with CTeL on this upgrade of the START module’s eLearning component, says Patti Monahan, National RTAP executive director. “The new online version will offer rural transit agencies the same excellent START content, updated to reflect the most recent safety practices and regulations, but deliver the material in a way that makes the most of the latest developments in e-Learning technology”.  

The online course will provide transit managers with a flexible, cost-effective way to train new drivers as well as hone the skills of veteran drivers. The course consists of three modules: vehicle safety, driver safety, and passenger safety. It incorporates video and graphics, and will allow drivers to make decisions based on real-life scenarios and see the consequences in a virtual, safe environment. 

The online START program will be the third course developed by CTeL and made available to the industry through its online learning portal. The first two courses, Wheelchair Securement and Hiring the Right Staff, have received excellent response from transit agencies and employees.