Pump the Brakes on Trucker Shortages: How Adaptive Learning Improves Truck Driver Training
It’s called the “easiest money you can make without a college degree”, but no one wants to take the job.
Trucking, a vital component of global logistics is experiencing a dramatic shortage of skilled workers. Older truckers are retiring, but few new hires are stepping in to take their place. For example, the American Trucking Association estimates that in the U.S. alone, there’s already a shortage of nearly 60,000 truckers. Within the next eight years this number is predicted to grow to 174,000. These shortages have dramatic implications, and not just in terms of how quickly we receive our Amazon orders. A shortage of truck drivers poses a risk to our national security.
“The smooth functioning of society now depends on a shrinking corps of underpaid, and clearly underappreciated, workers. If drivers decided to go on strike, or retire en masse, countries would quickly run out of food and gasoline—causing social and economic crisis and leaving them dangerously vulnerable.”
– Elisabeth Braw, ForeignPolicy.com
If a worker shortage in a critical industry sounds familiar, that’s because it is. In fact, we’ve written before about how a shortage of trained airline pilots and mechanics is poised to disrupt the aviation industry (and how the majority of us experience travel) over the next decade. We’ve also discussed how a wide variety of industries expect a massive shortage of up to 16 million workers for middle-skilled jobs by 2024. These include jobs that require applicants to have some combination of: an associate’s degrees; postsecondary vocational certificates; occupational licenses and professional certifications; apprenticeship programs; and/or college credits.
Solving Employee Shortages in Other Industries
We’ve also written about (and won seven industry awards for) the application of adaptive learning and training to solve some of these shortages in commercial aviation. Clients like Allegiant Air and the Aviation Institute of Maintenance have leveraged our Adaptive 3.0 training platform to:
- Get people trained more quickly– reducing training times by 55%
- Make sure people are fully prepped for the job– increasing knowledge levels by 38% and improving pass rates by 14%
- Boost skills and confidence – increasing the number of people who choose to sit for critical career certifications by 25% (by improving their confidence)
- Verify mastery and prevent costly mistakes– reducing errors by nearly 60%
- Attract new talent– improving test scores and pass rates has helped one organization boost its industry reputation and attract more new enrollees
- Deliver personalized learning at scale– automating the one-on-one learning“coach” experience to deliver mastery at scale across thousands of learners.
We see a lot of parallels between the commercial air and trucking industries. They both have a shortage of skilled labor, they both require a series of certifications and compliance metrics and they both have immense opportunities for improvement when it comes to the learner experience, training outcomes and efficiency. For example, in our work with commercial aviation clients, we’ve prepared pilots with the knowledge they need beforehand to fully maximize their time within costly flight simulators. The same learning prep could be applicable to “ride-a-longs” within truck driver training.
Adaptive Learning within Truck Driver Training
Here are just five examples of how adaptive learning could reduce the skills gap within the trucking industry by improving truck driver training. Implementing adaptive learning into truck driver training:
Shortens the time it takes for new hires/applicants to get started training and also learning the knowledge needed to earn the CDL (Commercial Driver’s License), so drivers can finish training more quickly and get on the road faster.
Provides mastery experiences so new, inexperienced drivers can build their confidence and skills regarding scenarios they might experience on the road.
Allows employees to access the training on their own time, on the road (via mobile and tablet* and progress through the training at their own pace. So new truckers can spend the time they need to learn the material, while experienced truckers can quickly move through concepts they already know.
Verifies skill mastery of drivers hoping to obtain special certifications – like a HAZMAT or double/triple certifications. These certifications are critical for organizational compliance and help the individual maximize their earning potential.
Predicts which drivers are at risk of making preventable, on-the-job errors or inaccurately applying their training
Added Benefits of Microlearning Component within Adaptive Training
Additionally, an adaptive learning platform that leverages a microlearning approach can dramatically improve the learner experience. Within this type of framework, learners work on relatively small bits of content – typically 2-3 competencies per unit. This not only makes the learning much more easily digestible, it also makes it more convenient. A trainee might not have time to sit down and complete a full course, but with a microlearning approach, they have to opportunity to focus on small sections at a time – progressing toward mastery incrementally, without becoming overwhelmed or losing their place if they only have a short study window.
This approach also supports new learners who have relatively little prior knowledge/experience with a subject or those who are struggling with the content. For example, our platform helps learners build knowledge bit-by-bit with the help of a one-on-one “coach” that delivers the right content at the right pace, targeted encouragement and helpful hints that drive learners to master the material fully and autonomously.
Our country needs more skilled workers – including experienced truckers – to meet the demands of tomorrow’s economy. And we think that adaptive learning is a good way to move toward that goal. How do we know that adaptive learning will work in truck driver training? Because we’ve seen it play out in similar industries to great success.
For more information about Fulcrum’s Adaptive 3.0 learning platform check out our short video, or click here to read one of our commercial airline case examples. If you’re interested or curious to see how Fulcrum can help your trucking organization improve the learning outcomes of its truck driver training and its pool of driving resources, let’s schedule a demo of our technology.
*In the past year, we’ve seen more users access training through smart devices – from 23% to 44% on mobile and 5% on tablet