Analysis of distance learning and assessment during COVID

A first phase of the PraLe project investigated to what extent the various basic competences for obtaining the C (truck) or D (bus-car) driving licence are already taught and consequently acquired through distance learning. The Covid 19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of continuity of training for these professions that have an important social role. 

Not only the training courses themselves but also the assessment of competences were included in this study.  

First, for both training courses, the basic competences were identified for both the theoretical and practical part of the training. By means of a survey conducted in the project partners’ countries, the extent to which these different basic competences were trained and attested by taking the necessary exams was first examined. 

It also asked how the training or attestation was carried out and what technologies were used. For these technological applications, the necessary support for the trainers on the one hand and for the trainees on the other was probed. If the training or attestation could not be carried out during the lockdown periods, the reason why this was not possible was asked. 

The main conclusions of the survey

First of all, the answers showed that there were major differences between countries in the use of applications that enable distant learning or distant assessment. It is clear that such applications were and are used least in Belgium, which meant that training had to be postponed during the lockdown periods in the Covid 19 pandemic. 

In Finland and, to a more limited extent, Poland, respondents point more to the use of distant learning in the bus and truck sector. When such applications are mentioned, they mainly concern training for the acquisition of certain theoretical core competences. Fewer applications are mentioned for practical training. 

When asked why then such applications were not used, most respondents answer that such applications are not suitable for these training courses and are also insufficiently available. In many cases (and certainly for practical competences) it is also mentioned that these applications are not allowed. 

The most frequently used applications are live sessions, using video platforms. For practical training, simulation programmes are also used. Only in Finland are applications with virtual reality mentioned. 

Finally, it is clear to the respondents that the use of such applications requires specific competences of the trainers (such as IT skills and adapted pedagogical skills). 

Finally, thorough support for the students using these applications is necessary.