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Case Study: NJ Transit Bus Operations Training Department

Ken Mall - Consulting Managing Partner ·

The case study below explains the needs and outcomes of a train-the-trainer project EDSI was hired to provide for New Jersey Transit, the state of New Jersey’s public transportation corporation. Since EDSI’s inception over 40 years ago, we have assisted both large and small organizations in various industries develop customized training programs. Although each training program is unique, we often assist companies in the development of ‘train-the-trainer’ programs.

To read more about the value of effective train-the-trainer programs, go to this recently published blog, or keep reading below to dive into the specifics of our case study.

These training projects involve training experienced mentors and/or less experienced instructors on the best way to deliver training materials to others. The point is to help prepare trainers to teach specific, sometimes highly technical, concepts their students. If you’re interested in learning more about the variety of customized training programs we develop, visit this page.

Summary

EDSI facilitated a 2.5-day customized train-the-trainer professional development program to NJ Transit’s Bus Operations training staff. In total, 41 NJ Instructors attended the training in two separate sessions.

Both training sessions took place at NJ Transit’s training facility located in Newark, NJ and introduced important training concepts, which were then applied in an interactive, practical way. NJ Transit instructors were guided through the process of applying training to their real work environment through reflection and discussion questions, hands-on activities and demonstrations. In addition, participants received an overview on mirror adjustment and usage that implements all best practices and strategies to use in their own new operator training. The result of this training experience led to more thoughtful, effective, engaging and dynamic methods that focus on new operator learning and application.

Summary Bus
Source: NJ Transit bus boarding. [Digital Image]. (2018) Retrieved from: https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/so-far-so-good-commuters-say-on-first-day-without/article_8c2fba94-51ff-5ca4-9645-67b33bb1b617.html

Outcomes/ROI

End of Training Evaluation

A comprehensive, formal end-of-training evaluation was used at the conclusion of the second day of the train-the-trainer. The end of training evaluation used a 4-point Likert scale and asked trainees to rate a series of statements from strongly agree (4) to strongly disagree (1). The statements focused on the efficacy of the facilitator, the content relevancy and how the much the materials and location contributed to the trainee’s learning. Trainees were also asked to rate how effective the training was in meeting the stated learning objectives. The evaluation provided a space for trainee comments or questions.

Overall, the training evaluation feedback for the train-the-trainer was overwhelmingly positive. All end-of-training evaluation statements scored a positive rating. Trainees felt most strongly that the facilitator was knowledgeable and that the content delivery was clear and engaging. Trainees also strongly agreed that the training materials (handouts, PowerPoint, etc.) contributed to their learning and that the training activities facilitated the sharing of ideas and work experiences among trainees.

Training attendees strongly agreed that the training increased their knowledge and understanding of important training and facilitation concepts and met overall training goals (3.84).

According to verbal feedback, the training encouraged instructors to think about ways to facilitate the training beyond just reviewing the content.

Project History

NJ Transit Bus Operations partnered with EDSI to develop and deliver a comprehensive train-the-trainer professional development session, which provided essential knowledge and practical skills needed to more effectively facilitate trainings for adult learners.

The first two days of professional development consisted of a training workshop entitled Keys to Develop and Facilitate a Dynamic and Engaging Training. The goal was to build instructors’ skills and competence to deliver quality, engaging, and participant-focused training in both the classroom and the field. The workshop explored best practices for ensuring fresh and relevant training delivery. Throughout the training, participants had opportunities to apply and practice strategies in an interactive classroom environment that included hands-on activities and self-reflection via small and large group discussions.

Training topics included in the train-the-trainer session included:

  • Adult and Active Learning
  • Providing Feedback
  • Trainee Engagement and Effective Questioning Techniques
  • Learning Styles
  • Creating a Motivational Environment
  • Presentation and Facilitation Best Practices

Standard Mirror Adjustment and Usage

To meet the need for additional technical training and practical application, EDSI and NJ Transit worked together to develop an additional half-day of training to focus on the correct way to position mirrors on buses. This half-day of training included classroom and hands-on components, using a real bus. EDSI and NJ Transit collaborated to both develop and deliver this half-day mirror training session. It incorporated the concepts and techniques from the first 2 days in a practical way, using NJ Transit’s existing standard operating procedures and training materials related to mirror adjustment. It also provided clear, standardized training messages and materials that could be incorporated into the new operator training classroom and hands-on field training in the future.

Issues

The NJ Transit Bus Operations team was facing several unique challenges. The training staff had extensive professional experience operating buses, many with over 20 years of operating experience. But when it came to providing training to adult learners, their experience was limited. This put them in a unique position of trying to convey the important knowledge and skills, with inadequate knowledge of how to best accomplish this task. Instructors needed to understand basic principles of adult learning, best practices to maximize trainee engagement, and strategies to ensure operator trainees were applying what they learned to safely and effectively perform required job functions.

Issues Bus
Source: NJ Transit bus driver. [Digital Image]. (2019) Retrieved from: https://www.njtransit.com/mobile/careers/m_career_busoperator.html

Testimonials

  • Very well done, the facilitator is passionate in her work.
  • Very good training. Loved the material.
  • Very well presented and informative.
  • The facilitator kept me engaged and provided me with many real-life examples.
  • I will implement as much as I can of what I have learned. Thank you, I really enjoyed the presentation.
  • The facilitator was great. The class was enjoyable, educational and informative.

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