Lehman Center for Transportation Research at Florida International University

Development of a Prototype Computer-Based Training Course for FSUTMS

  • Sponsor: Florida Department of Transportation
  • Contact: Dr. Albert Gan, 305-348-3116, gana@fiu.edu

  • FSUTMS training is a major activity of the Systems Planning Office. It aims to establish and maintain quality assurance for consistent statewide modeling standards and provide up-to-date information on recent model enhancements. Training workshops are conducted on-site in a laboratory classroom setting at selected locations, mostly in Central Florida, where attendees from the farthest Florida cities can reach within a half-day travel. In addition, District site training sessions are also available on an individual basis on District equipment working with actual projects underway. The costs of conducting and attending these workshops are sizable, creating a limiting effect on workshop availability and participation.

    An obvious alternative to these workshops conducted in the traditional format is to develop the computer-based training (CBT) counterparts, taking advantage of the powerful multimedia capability of today's microcomputers. With CBTs, training is provided through the use of a computer and software, which guide a trainee through an instructional program. A CBT can include not only text and graphics, but also video, audio and, if necessary, animation. It can include a wide variety of features, including instructions that may be offered in both textual and audio formats; hyperlinks that allow immediate access to related sections or additional details, such as an example or the definition of a term; well-guided hands-on examples in a self-paced, step-by-step and repeatable manner; interactive quizzes with immediate, confidential feedback; etc.

    In short, CBTs provide a means to easy, flexible, and ready access to FSUTMS training. CBTs are flexible because they involve no fixed training schedule and can be used anytime and anywhere. They save on travel time and do not take trainees away from their regular work schedules. They not only serve as a viable alternative to those who are not able to attend on-site workshops for any reasons, but also as a supplement to workshop attendees who would like to review the training materials in a self-paced manner. Even more important, CBTs will be cost-effective as it involves no travel, no site and equipment rentals, and no material printing. It will allow the FDOT to channel its resources to more critical needs, such as model enhancements.

    However, before FDOT commits itself to developing a CBT for each of its current eight FSUTMS workshops, it is important that a prototype CBT be developed and distributed to select users for feedback. The experience and the user feedback gained from this prototype CBT will help guide further CBT development for other FSUTMS workshops. The objective of this project is to research and develop a prototype CBT for the "Basic FSUTMS Travel Demand Modeling" workshop for distribution to the Florida transportation modeling community.

    FSUTMS/Transplan CBT Website