National Signals Training Consortium Has Its Eye on the Future as Development of Online Learning Materials Becomes Focus for 2022

Posted December 2021

Earlier this month, the National Signals Training Consortium (the Consortium) held its first in-person meeting since 2019. This year’s meeting was hosted by NFTA and ATU 1342 in Buffalo, NY. 

Travel bans in place at four member locations meant a smaller meeting but the 26 Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) were just as engaged and productive as previous years. SMEs reviewed and finalized courseware in three different areas, covering more material than usual to make up for the lack of in-person peer review in 2020. The refresher training checklists, Advanced Signal Technician course and interactive troubleshooting scenarios were very well received with only minor tweaks suggested. Participants were especially impressed by the refresher training materials developed for print reading and saw how they could easily be modified for different locations and skill levels and how easily they could be migrated onto a location’s Learning Management System.

The group determined that the scope of work for 2022 will be completely focused on online learning. The tasks for the year are to develop more interactive troubleshooting scenarios and online refresher training on topics including isolating circuits, FRA regulations, and downloading and reading data logs. These materials will be a mix of video, text and interactivity. We will also continue assisting member locations in implementing the training program through course customization and Train-the-Trainer.

In addition to the intensive peer review, other meeting highlights include:

  • Orientation for 12 new Subject Matter Experts
  • NFTA facility tour
  • Instructional System Design “Boot camp”
  • Tutorial of ITLC’s new Learning Management System
  • Showcasing examples of courseware customization for location specific differences

To date the Signals Consortium, composed of 15 public transportation agencies and their unions (listed below) have worked with the Center to develop over 400 hours of instructional material, draft an apprenticeship framework, share best practices and develop recruitment strategies to fill the upcoming skills gap - calling particularly on recruitment of veterans, women and people looking to secure college credit while working as a signal maintainer. 

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