Virtual Training – It is Here to Stay

Drivers and safety managers – virtual training is here and it has been here for quite some time. Providers like Infinit-i and Carriers Edge have been offering truck driver, online training for a dozen years. And I suspect that recently, more and more companies have been taking advantage of using online portals. But today, I am discussing the LIVE online truck driver meetings. These are like the Saturday morning truck driver safety meetings. You know the ones. Truck drivers are told that the meeting is mandatory and so they gather to eat some old stale donuts and drink cold burnt coffee. And the bonus, they get to listen to a “safety” specialist present the same old, worn out safety message that most have heard many times before. BORING!

In the hopes of changing this typical Saturday morning safety meeting, I have been trying new ways of presenting a safety message. So, I’m looking for your help. I really want your suggestions. How do I make online live safety meetings more engaging for truck drivers and any other participants?

Recently, I have been involved with “LIVE” online safety meetings. KRTS and Safety Dawg recently hosted truck driver online training over the US Thanksgiving weekend. We had more than 500 truck drivers attend and participate. By the feedback received, it was a success.

We are hosting another LIVE training event in March. And so, I want to hear from you, the drivers and transport managers. What would make online events more interesting and engaging for you?

Any LIVE Saturday morning training session has its issues. And virtual training has a unique set of problems. As a host of several virtual events, I would prefer it if the participants kept their video on. It is of course up to the viewer, but I, as a presenter, like to see faces. It helps me to know if I’m engaging the audience.

I also would prefer that online viewers be muted. This keeps the sounds of dogs barking and babies crying out of the presentation. Which of course is a good thing. BUT this reduces verbal discussion that is normal during an in-person event. The muting is necessary because if more than one person talks at a time in these forums, the audience can’t understand anyone. So, everyone needs to be muted. But with muting the participants, how
do we increase engagement? How, how, how?

I do ask questions throughout the presentation. I ask you the driver, to give me a thumbs up or down as a show of engagement. But what else can be done? Keeping in mind that some truck drivers are challenged by technology, many don’t know how to use “chat” in the hosting platforms.

Would the use of “Polls” up the engagement? Do you think that truck drivers will engage in the use of the Zoom polling feature? By asking drivers questions during the live online training session, would this keep their (or your) interest? Would this help you stay interested in the topic being discussed?

I hope that you will be honest with me. I don’t think that in-person meetings are dead, but I do think that we will continue to see the use of online LIVE meetings. I know that there are certainly advantages to the in-person meeting and there are also advantages to the online virtual meetings as well. Neither are going away. And I really want your suggestions on how I can make the online experience better for you – the truck driver. You likely know that it is the law that companies must train their workers. So, the meetings will continue and unless you help me, you might continue to be bored during both the in-person and the online safety training sessions. I want to change that!

Please email me your suggestions to I am thanking each of you in advance.

Stay Safe!

Chris Harris
Top Dawg, Safety Dawg Inc.
@safety_dawg (twitter)

About Chris Harris, Safety Dawg

Chris has been involved in trucking most of his adult life. He drove truck for and worked in various office/management positions for a major truck company. His last position of 5 years in the safety department where he was responsible for the recruiting of Owner Operators and their compliance. He joined a trucking insurance company in 2001 and has been in the insurance side of things until making Safety Dawg a full-time endeavour.