UKROEd has today been announced as a recipient of a 2021 Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for its suite of online behaviour change courses. In making their recommendation to His Royal Highness, the judges commended UKROEd for leading the development of online courses in order to overcome the restrictions caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.
Within 12 months of their launch, the courses had been delivered to more than 1.3 million drivers, ensuring an effective educational alternative to penalty points and helping to alleviate demand on an overburdened court system. There was immediate pressure in March 2020 to deliver an online solution as early as possible, and to communicate effectively to police forces, course providers, training professionals and drivers that such a solution was available.
Development teams had anticipated that physical classroom courses would be disrupted, so as soon as the official confirmation of course suspensions came, work began on a virtual version of the National Speed Awareness Course. The first courses commenced on 27 March with providers, forces and trainers briefed, equipped and trained to deliver the virtual courses.
Three further NDORS courses (The National Motorway Awareness Course; Safe, Considerate Driving and What’s Driving Us?) were ready within a few weeks.
There were two key requirements for the academic team who wrote the new courses. First, they needed to be shorter, so some existing parts of the physical classroom course needed to be amended. Second, the way trainers interacted with clients would have to change for the virtual environment. In preparing a shorter, virtual course, developers had to prioritise the content and to determine what would be effective online. It was vital that the course would work for every participant, regardless of the equipment they had available or their experience of this kind of interaction. The process had to be viable, without losing impact.
HRH Prince Michael of Kent commented: “I was excited to learn how quickly members of the UKROEd team were able to develop an online course in response to overcome restrictions caused by the pandemic. The result is this being delivered to more than 1.3 million drivers and riders in the following 12 months. “What impressed me was not just the speed at which you were able to develop these i-courses, but the organisational ability to deploy them so quickly and to such beneficial effect. I therefore have no doubt that the team responsible deserve my International Road Safety Award.”
UKROEd Chair Suzette Davenport QPM commented: “We are thrilled and honoured to have won this Prince Michael award. The virtual courses were developed and underpinned using the most up-to-date behaviour change techniques. Through energetic collaborative working with police forces and course providers, we were able to ensure not only that the online courses were available very quickly but that they would also maintain the highest standards of the educational content provided by the classroom courses.
“It was a significant challenge, but with the ongoing support of so many dedicated people, we were able to meet the challenge and continue to make a contribution to reducing death, serious injury and offending on our roads.”
UKROEd Chief Executive Ruth Purdie OBE commented: “Our online courses provided the opportunity for drivers and riders to change behaviour and to ensure that courtrooms across were not inundated with road traffic offences. We could not have done this on our own, so I really want to thank everyone for the part they played – and continue to play – in making this happen.
“I am delighted and proud to accept this award. We are committed to continue working with our partners so that we can meet the demands of the scheme and provide the highest possible quality of service – whether online or in classrooms – for the people who choose to attend one of our courses “I would like to thank every member of the UKROEd team as well as all the partners who have worked so closely with us in making this happen.”