Transferring Driving Skills to Refugees
South Australia May 2013

A refugee driving student about to take a driving lesson. E-learning helps her between lessons and video instruction helps overcome her English literacy skills barrier to learning.

The digital story (below) has also been developed by the project team to give you more information about the project.

Audio introduction to the course.


This case study was developed by Life Dynamics Coaching a training and coaching consulting business, that worked in consultation with Transport Training Solutions, with funding and support from the national training system’s e-learning strategy, the National VET E-learning Strategy.

The Strategy provides the VET system with the essential e-learning infrastructure and expertise needed to respond to the challenges of a modern economy and the training needs of Australian businesses and workers.

1.1 The Team

Life Dynamics Coaching is a Training and Coaching solution provider. Transport Training Solutions is an RTO that owns and operates the Allan Miller Driving School in South Australia. Other key partners were Daylight Breaks, a digital marketing and media production house, and Thebarton Senior College that assisted with developing the Moodle course and providing a learner group.

Thebarton Senior College Website that provides a portal to access the Moodle course.

1.2 Knowledge and experience

Mike Gallasch from Life Dynamics Coaching is an experienced e-Learning Project Manager, driver trainer and instructional designer. Graham Taylor from Thebarton Senior College is an experienced Moodle developer and has worked on a number of other similar government funded projects. Designing and developing the course, apart from the video storyboarding and scripting, was a relatively straightforward process.
Mike Gallasch from Life Dynamics Coaching.

The main area where the team was somewhat unprepared was how to execute the playing of videos within Moodle and dealing with the different configurations of computer systems that they may be streamed through. Some guidance was found through reading online material about the 'industry best recognised' plugin video players. Daylight Breaks suggested that we try running through a hosting program such as Vimeo. This was supported by talking with other teams that had similar issues with getting this technology to work on various platforms.

Tim at Work.JPG
Tim Standing from Daylight Breaks.
Graham Taylor.jpg
Graham Taylor from Thebarton Senior College

The other great challenge, in relation to having such a large Video content, was around having to fully understand and implement the WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility requirements. Specifically in terms of adding synchronised subtitles to Videos and developing text alternatives for the very complex time based media (moving images) presented. Dual split screens were used in the video production. Even after doing intensive online research and gaining advice from government experts and appreciating what had to be done, the how took up a huge degree of time and effort. Linking in with the work done by a previous project and receiving direct mentoring helped.


2.1 Aim

The main aim of the project was to assist in transferring the correct motor vehicle driving skills to refugees, and similarly disadvantaged learner drivers, at a faster rate, via visual learning, through on-line media/e-learning. Refugees and similarly economically disadvantaged groups find it difficult to pay for one on one driving lessons with driving instructors and it was anticipated that the number of lessons that they needed with instructors could be reduced by up to 20%.

By increasing the speed of task ability take up, this potentially allows refugees to gain employment quicker, particularly for jobs that require having a driving licence as a pre-requisite. It also allows refugees to become more independent sooner and not have to rely on public transport to get to their place of employment.

Through better learning transfer and skill retention (they were able to regularly access the correct skills for better memory retention) refugee drivers will be safer and this will help reduce road accidents. A visual e-learning course also helps negate the current learning barrier that exists with refugees that have difficulty comprehending the English language, both written and verbal. Refugee students would also hopefully be able to access the benefits of the NBN and avoid travelling and time costs to attend classroom learning.

A major hurdle that impacted on the project meeting its aims was encountered when, soon after the project start, the SA State government funding for driving lessons ceased. Youthjet a not for profit organisation assisting refugees obtain their licence was initially engaged as a project partner. They had a real need to find ways to increase the speed of licence take-up as their funding was dependent on helping refugees gain their driving licence as quickly as possible. However, as a result, a paid for by funding Learning Coordinator, was no longer employed by the organisation and they ceased to be engaged with the Project. It was originally planned to take around 15 students through the training Course and assess the effectiveness of the course with them.

Another major impact of this withdrawal of SA State government lesson subsidising and support funding was that the refugee learners, that the Project hoped to target, could no longer afford driving lessons. This meant that it was now difficult to assess to what degree the learning transfer, of the targeted driving tasks, would be accelerated.

2.2 Objective

The key objective of using innovative e-learning technologies to assist this learning group to obtain pre-employment skills was met. The Moodle Course that was produced was seen to be a useful site for refugees to access to assist them with appreciating the requirements of getting your licence. It also gives them access to some of the key skills, via video instruction, that you need to learn to get your driving licence. This includes gaining knowledge about key road rules and where to access other important information and useful online training.
Visual instructional diagrams and instructional videos offer the best way to reinforce driving skills between lessons to help reduce learner costs.

Initially, it was hoped to assess the refugees performance with respect to the uptake of driving skills within a blended learning environment. This would comprise providing an instructor to show the driving student the driving tasks and then providing the students with potential 24/7 access to the e-learning course, to reinforce learning between lessons.

As a result of blended learning not being able to take place on a large scale, the course effectiveness assessment approach was modified. Only positive anecdotal evidence of improved learning transfer and the value of the instructional videos, through feedback surveys was gained.

However, feedback from a non-refugee paying student was provided.
"'I strongly agree that by being able to watch the videos between lessons I have been able to learn, the slow speed driving tasks shown, quicker and it has helped with making the concepts stick."
This was very positive and in practice they showed a very fast uptake of the skills through watching the instructional videos.


3.1 Starting the project

Learning Group:
Initially the project was based around the Youthjet learning demographic that tended to be in areas where the NBN was scheduled to be rolled out. With this learning group no longer being available, and delays in the NBN being rolled out to these areas, the NBN connection was not tested. Instead the initial focus was mainly around getting the technology to work on a number of different user platforms.

With Youthjet pulling out there was also a loss of IT and learning group coordination support. This was a major blow as these resources were key to running the Project trials and coordinating survey compilation and compiling a project blog. Thus a smaller learning group was sought. This alternative group was sourced from another project partner, Thebarton Senior College. The challenge with this group was that there was still no designated project learning coordinator. Therefore the project manager attended the instructional lessons about the course to obtain feedback, first hand, with regards to any issues uncovered.
Learner Group (3).JPG
The refugee learner group in training.

Problems were also encountered with the learner group when they were asked to fill out the pre-program learner survey. This took around an hour to complete as students needed to be stepped through each question. This was also a test of their English literacy skills and some of the language that was used in the survey was too complex. Terms like ‘employment’ and ‘intimidating’ needed to be explained and so the surveys should have been made simpler. Feedback was provided back to the government that this survey probably did not meet the accessibility guidelines that language used should be at a primary schooling level. There were also other issues with the question logic that were fed back to the government.

IT Challenges:
IT issues were initially encountered with the Thebarton Senior College group with their mobile laptops. Not all students could watch the videos through the Moodle course as the laptops were all configured differently with different browsers and settings. Whilst Google Chrome (found to be a more robust and better browser than Windows Explorer) was added to many of the laptops to get the videos playing there were still ongoing problems with the pool of laptops. Problems were also encountered when the server, that the Moodle course was running through, crashed not allowing the course to be accessed.
Mobile Technology.JPG
A refugee student accessing the instructional videos on the back-up iPad.

A contingency plan was developed for when the videos could not be played through Moodle. A USB back–up was provided with the instructional videos being downloaded to such a portable storage device that could be accessed if a student could not watch the videos through their laptop.

The lesson learnt was that every PC accessing the course needs to be tested before attempts to run the course are made. An instruction was also made to go out to any external students as to the best software and settings that they should use to allow the course to run without problems. These instructions were also added to a page of ‘Internet Considerations’ held in a book within the Moodle course titled “Everything you need to know about this course.”

Difficulties were also found when trying to run the course in portable training rooms using WiFi connection. Whilst in development, the Moodle course was shown to our RTO sponsor, Transport Training Solutions. Their training rooms did not have cable access and only a wireless laptop PC was provided. This did not allow the videos to be streamed smoothly. Once again the need for backup files of the instructional videos was seen to be necessary, for any time the course is to be presented, rather than relying on the videos embedded within the course to run seamlessly.

A migrant learning group with similar driver training needs was also discovered in Southern Tasmanian. Attempts were made for them to view the course and they also experienced problems with playing the videos as a result of their PC browser setup. They are running Internet Explorer 8 that has known issues with streaming videos that are embedded in Moodle courses. There are documented work-arounds that exist to change configuration settings within the browser platform. However, as previously discussed, for larger organisations this means that all PCs need to be configured correctly. This is sometimes a real barrier if individuals do not have the ability to change settings themselves and the request has to go through system administrators and IT departments. As mentioned earlier a more robust solution is to host the videos in a stand alone video storage site like Vimeo or You-Tube and link directly to the videos that are streamed from that site.

The 3-point turn.mp4 from Michael Gallasch on Vimeo.

Upon investigation and by trialing other Internet Browsers it was determined that videos were more likely to be successfully opened and played, through the Moodle Course, if they ran through Firefox (Apple iOS Software), Google Chrome and later versions of Windows Internet Explorer (v9, v10).

Apple QuickTime was recommended to be the best video player plug-in to watch the videos through and allow some of the rigorous accessibility requirements to be met. Also iOS devices such as iPads are also a superior Product for this reason. Note though that larger organisations often are not allowed to choose or set-up their own software as there might be organisational wide licenses using alternative software. Once again, not having the desired software can act as a barrier to success. This then to be discussed with any potential users of the course before they attempt to access any streamed video.

To view the Moodle course that was developed by the project open the following link and type in the following:
Username: driver
Password: stardriver

Mobile Technology:
With encountering all these learner group problems it was decided to approach mainstream learners that could afford to pay for lessons. A different tack was made to set up and trial mobile technology in the form of PC tablets to allow blended learning to occur within a driving Instructor’s vehicle. The instructional videos - developed to visually show what is happening outside the car, in relation to inside the car inputs, when attempting the standard slow speed driving tasks - were played in-car to students. It was anticipated that this would also allow faster uptake of skills and is scalable to benefit any driving student.

An iPad mini with cellular (mobile internet) connectivity was sourced primarily because it is the most popular form of tablet PC, has good display characteristics, battery life and is a good size to mount in a car. It can also be left there permanently without hindering access to other car controls. Ipads also have access to the greatest number of apps and future development of mobile resources.
The iPad mini mounted in a driving instructor's car for mobile learning.

After thorough examination of various tablet in-car mounts an Exogear tablet mounting device from America was also sourced. This offered a robust, solid, easy to operate mounting solution, central to the car (good for both the instructor and student to see) just in front of the centre air conditioning vents of the car. This solution offers the best in car learning experience and also gives flexibility for an instructor to use their tablet PC to access calendars and other resources easily. Note that the instructional videos were never played whilst the car was moving as this is illegal as it can distract the driver.
The Exogear tablet car mounting system is adjustable and mounts securely and centrally to different dashboards allowing good visual positioning, for both student and instructor.

3.2 Running the project

The challenge with the learning group, from Thebarton Senior College, was that students (8) were at different learning stages in obtaining their driving licence, (five out of eight had more than 30hrs experience, one had less than 10hrs and one had no driving experience) and they also had difficulties with English language literacy. They viewed the course in a controlled classroom environment and feedback was gained on the online course, ease of navigation and presentation, elements. This was via a survey link that was provided within the Moodle course and through personal observation through attending the planned learning sessions.

Lessons learnt from observing this type of learning group, that had English literacy challenges, was that text, apart from needing to be kept simple, needs to be kept to a minimum. If possible, pictures are required alongside text to help learners work out what has been written and to aid them with navigation. For this reason more copyrighted images were sourced from Shutterstock (deemed to be the best value for money source of copyrighted photos) and added to each block of text, if possible. Also chapter and sub-chapter heading text was simplified and kept consistent to allow for learners to quickly locate material.
Shutterstock Website Homepage

After discussions with other Projects that had encountered issues with video streaming, and browser incompatibility, it was also decided to run the videos through a video hosting program 'Vimeo'. This also allowed for the Videos (the key element of the course) to be more visually recognisable, with a large screen view of the Video and play button to be inserted in the Course, rather than be somewhat hidden in a Chapter and Sub-Chapter heading. Note that You-Tube could also be used for this although in our case we wanted more security over the Video access (not available to anyone over the internet) and You -Tube access is not allowed with many educational learning organisations.

The Project Manager tried to find other learning groups to help with more testing and feedback. A small group of disadvantaged learners (non refugees) from the Allan Miller Driving School (trading name for Transport Training Solutions), P.P.P. (Personal Participation Plan), government funded students (3) were asked to be involved. These learners were located remotely at Victor Harbor (100kms from Adelaide) and had access to an instructor. Challenges with these learners were also encountered in terms of them being reliable to view the training materials on a weekly basis and provide regular feedback. Once again it was difficult to properly assess the value of the course in terms of speeding up their learning. Useful feedback was gained from their review of the Course quizzes used to assess the learning transfer of the instructional videos. It was discovered that the text had a slightly different font colour on the correct answers that made these answers stand out. This was corrected.

Quite a large amount of time was spent within Moodle understanding the quiz settings. It was decided not to give the correct answers to the quiz immediately. As most of the questions had a small (3) number of answers this would allow students to find the correct answer by trial an error. Instead, the quiz settings were changed so that you could not redo the quiz until after five minutes. Learners were advised to re-watch the quiz if they had an incorrect answer to establish the exact correct sequence of doing the driving task. It was felt that this would cause the learner to fully appreciate the exact sequence that must be followed for them to successfully pass their Vehicle On Road Test (VORT) or in car assessment from their instructor that is required by law.

Another potential user group for the course was seen to be the supervising drivers that need to be able to show and provide feedback on correct driving techniques in order for them to adequately supervise learners with their 75hrs of practical driving. Another potential learning partner with HYPA was identified and they were approached to ascertain if the e-learning course would be suitable for their learners. This group are similarly disadvantaged as refugees although they are generally without the added challenge of having English as a second language. A road block here was encountered due to regulations concerning Child-Safe environments. The project manager was not allowed to show anyone the course until they completed a Child-Safe training course and received their police clearance. This process takes about a month to complete. So there is still this avenue to explore.
HYPA Website, Geared2Drive program for disadvantaged youth. Organisations like this can benefit greatly from the Moodle course and instructional videos that have been produced.

Another major challenge encountered by the Project was in understanding and meeting the accessibility requirements of the WCAG 2.0 AA Standard. With a large degree of Video content (11 videos) the extra effort to meet all of these requirements was quite substantial. In fact more time and effort was spent on investigating these requirements and finding solutions than was spent on the first part of the Project to design, script, film, review and edit the extensive Video production.

Probably the best accessibility website to access to help understand the specific requirements for videos is that from the Penn State University Website. A link is provided below.

Initially an exemption/exclusion was requested from the government not to have to meet the visibility requirements of the WCAG 2.0 AA Standard – 1.2.3, providing an alternative for time-based media or audio description of the pre-recorded video content for synchronised media. This was primarily because it was felt that, by law, people who cannot meet vision standards are not allowed to drive due to the obvious risks to themselves and other road users. This seemed to fall into the too hard basket and no exemption was forthcoming. So the decision was made to watch the video, with the sound off and the video script nearby, and make a voice recording of what was occurring within both split screens and what was being said. This is, in effect, like a screenplay book.

This voice recording was then transposed to text and is offered up as an alternative to the time based videos for those people that are visually impaired or have difficulty watching moving images. It must be noted that the Project does not feel that through reading or listening to this text “screenplay” one would be able to achieve adequate learning transfer. Indeed the whole point of making the complex videos was because describing the task and not being able to show a student what is happening both inside the car, as they make steering inputs, and at the same time show what is happening outside the car, as these inputs are transposed into car movement outputs, does not provide effective learning transfer.

Considerable effort was also spent on getting synchronised captions made for the videos to meet those learners with hearing impairments or those learners that perhaps were not able to have sound on their PC or Tablet PC. It was realised that having this feature though would allow for caption text to be translatable into different languages that could be advantageous to our learning group that has trouble with the English language. Subtitles were developed through Amara after feeding the videos from Vimeo and the video text script that is in the correct format. It must be noted that this incurs an extra project cost, as in order for the videos to be secured, an annual or monthly fee must be paid to Vimeo. It was requested that the government buy space to store such Project video resources to allow them to be accessed by other groups. We also found that captioning produced in Amara could not easily be added to the Vimeo files.
Amara (formerly Universal Subtitles) Homepage

The link below is to the Amara site that contains our Vimeo files with subtitles. The 3-Point Turn is provided here as an example of the output after subtitling was completed on a project video stored in Vimeo.

The text alternative screenplay is provided below for the visually impaired.

An alternative is to use the 3Play Media captioning service that is offered by Vimeo. At $150 per hour this was cost prohibitive to the project. Although just having a single video file would be a nicer solution, the course now offers three different formats to view the video files. One is via an embedded video file that plays through Quicktime, the second is a link to the Vimeo file and the third is a link to the government depository You-Tube videos that have the switchable subtitles. This then allows all bases to be covered for a variety of users and PC configurations. It must be noted that many educational learning institutions do not allow access to You-Tube, so this is not always a viable option.

Through viewing the results and recommendations of a previous Project and discussions with key Project team members we were able to sort through many of the challenges we faced to meet these accessibility requirements. The link below directs you to a previous project that examined how to best make videos accessible.

The main lesson here is that there is a very steep learning curve to be able to understand and successfully meet these requirements. If the Project does not have the experience, or factor in time and budget, to meet these requirements it can be crippling to the project.

Another solution that can work is to design the course as primarily a text course, and then use any media as a secondary alternative to the text. In our case this was seen to be detrimental to the main targeted learning group and so was not adopted. It is silly to design the course for the exceptions. Sadly, we can see that some projects may choose this path, or as some people have commented, avoid putting video content in entirely due to the extra effort that is required to meet the Accessibility requirements.

3.3 Wrapping up the project

Skills Developed by the team:

Primarily the key skills developed by the team hinged around how to incorporate the videos within a Moodle environment and the best, most efficient, way to allow them to work within a variable computer configuration environment. Invaluable experience was gained with how best to design, develop, script and produce impactful video content and how to edit efficiently.

The team now knows how best to manage a project to design up front for meeting accessibility requirements and has recognised ways to make this significant activity more efficient. For example the sub-title captioning process could be done parallel to the audio editing of the video.

The team is also now wiser in ways to set up Moodle quizzes and means to enable better visual navigation within an online course rather than text. This is particularly advantageous for engaging with learners that have English language difficulties.

Cost Savings to the Organisation:

The main cost savings are to the learners rather than the organisation, unless the organisation is subsidising one on one driving lessons. Through the extra reinforcement of watching the slow speed driving videos between lessons, in theory, this should allow for faster learning transfer and so should cut down on the number of one on one lessons required.

A VORT (Vehicle on Road Test) is very expensive and so there may be cost savings for the learners here as well if they are able to pass their VORT on the first occasion. By being able to obtain feedback of learning transfer through the quizzes, there is more chance of ensuring that learners get it right the first time and are more prepared for their VORT.

Future cost savings are now able to be realised through the RTO as a result of the experience gained through this project. The RTO is now in a far better position to be able to design and develop similar e-learning courses, which use such a large powerful video content, quicker and cheaper.

Support for the Project beyond the funding period:

Having found that there are a number of similar disadvantaged learning groups around, there is still support for accessing the Moodle course and gaining feedback for improvement or adding in additional material. The RAA (Royal Automobile Association of SA), which is now partnered with Allan Miller Driving School, is reviewing the instructional videos and considering if it will make them available to their members.
The RAA wants to offer the instructional videos through their website.

Transferring knowledge to other parts of the organisation and other partners:

There is still much scope to start using the mobile technology for in car training and promoting the technology to mainstream users. The Allan Miller Driving School is also looking at ways to improve and further develop their current media offerings and create similar Moodle courses for their students. There are also plans to showcase the mobile technology and use of instructional videos with their driver trainers.
Allan Miller Driving school wishes to embrace e-learning and mobile technology to benefit their students.

Expansion to other participants, cohorts or jurisdictions:

Already the course has been sent to a migrant group in Southern Tasmania, an aboriginal group in the north of the state and a not for profit organisation that helps disadvantaged youth (HYPA), for evaluation and suitability for their learners. Also there has been expressions of interest from a Serbian community group and Bedford, which assists people with disabilities and disadvantages, to view the course.

The scope is not limited to disadvantaged learners as the videos are a valuable resource to anyone learning to drive as well as their supervising drivers.

Benefit to the organisation in the future:

Perhaps the main future benefit to all of the organisations, which have participated in this Project, is the appreciation of what is involved to implement this technology correctly. The introduction of this technology needs to be managed carefully from both a change management and technical perspective.

IT support of the technology is critical, to make sure that the initial user experience is a good one, particularly that all the media is reliably operational on all devices. Otherwise the technology may not be embraced.

The introduction to users must be carefully managed. Simply giving users access to the course is not enough. Users need to be initially shown how to work the technology and navigate through each aspect of the training course. There needs to be a strong degree of support, guidance and management in the early phases of implementation.


4.1 Main project outcomes

The significant Project outcome was the great feedback on the design and production of the instructional videos as to what a valuable learning tool they are for learners, driving instructors and any supervising drivers that are helping learner drivers.

The Moodle course itself was seen to be of fantastic value to a disadvantaged learner group
once they grasped where to find key information and training, and recognised how it could be of value to their specific needs. Through a classroom environment, the group was also able to support each other and learn from each other, without the close supervision of a teacher.

This was somewhat of a surprise, as the social learning environment that resulted differed significantly to the original concept, that learners would be accessing the course via the NBN from home in a more isolated way. This is now seen perhaps as not to be the best delivery method and a blended learning approach should be encouraged more to get the best outcome with the tool that has been developed.

4.2 How the outcomes were measured

The project outcomes were measured through feedback gained from course participants, review of the course quizzes and surveys of learners’ experiences with accessing and using the course. Feedback was also obtained from other driving instructors as to the value of the course and perceived benefits of teaching learners that were using the course or key course resources.

From the survey it was found that seven out of eight students (87.5%) felt that the Moodle course was very helpful in teaching you to drive if you did not have much support from an instructor or experienced driver.

Five out of eight students (62.5%) stated that the driving videos were very clear to follow with the following supportive comments reiterated amongst them -"videos were clear and the speech was easy to understand."

Three out of eight felt that they would be able to learn the slow speed driving tasks faster by watching the videos between lessons. (Note the remainder were 'not sure' and keep in mind that these students were unable to access any lessons with an instructor.)


5.1 Key successes

Developing the videos to meet the original concept intent was a huge success for the Project. Assessing the value of the course and managing the Project would have been easier if there was an engaged learning group that had a dedicated coordinator. Perhaps more funding or sponsored lessons to assist with a proper blended learning evaluation would have allowed for more measurable quantifiable results to be obtained within the project timeframe.

In hindsight, being linked to a mentor early on in the Project lifecycle would have allowed for a less stressful learning curve in having to deal with meeting the challenges of getting the videos to play and for the accessibility requirements to be met. This would have helped with saving the Project time and labour costs.

5.2 Suggested improvements

To allow the Project to run smoother next time a more dedicated and supported team would be desirable that came from the one organisation. A team made up from four different organisations had challenges with meeting priorities and communicating effectively and efficiently. As individuals were pulled away to meet the demands of other projects, motivations changed, and this made project management and timely resolution of issues difficult.


6.1 Knowledge Transfer

The main knowledge that can be passed on to another organisation is around the process of how best to implement videos through Moodle so that they can play with switchable subtitles and meet accessibility requirements. This includes how best to design with accessibility in mind to minimise post development activities.

6.2 Mentorship

The learning from this Project could also help other organisations implement an e-Learning program through recognizing how best to do the instructional design for e-Learning Moodle courses to meet the specific needs of their learner group. This Project is of particular value if their learners have English language difficulties.

This Project could also help another organisations appreciate the best ways to successfully meet any Accessibility requirements for media content and the optimal way to host and stream videos reliably within a Moodle environment. Specifically this project would be of value if they have a large amount of media content and want to do this in the most efficient way possible.

How the Project overcame the challenges faced during execution would also give any other organisation guidance on change management, to be able to successfully launch e-learning technology in their organisation, right first time.


Video Resources on YouTube

This project also developed a moodle course which is available in .mbz format

For copies please email


For more information on the Project contact:
Mike Gallasch
Principal Trainer / Project Manager
Life Dynamics Coaching
Phone: 0400042140

For more information on the National VET E-learning Strategy: