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Queensland overhauls learner driving

Posted: 13 April 2018 2:33 am

New Queensland drivers will soon take a six-hour, interactive quiz for their class C licence.

Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads are set to dramatically overhaul the way young drivers earn their licence, with a new interactive test with over 380 separate questions, challenges and activities that learners must complete over a six-hour period.

The department is calling it “PrepL online learning and assessment” and hopes it will reinforce road rules in youngsters' minds. Through the curriculum, they will learn how to develop safe driving behaviours and attitudes, and also about the fatal five – speeding, drink/drug driving, failing to use a seatbelt and driving when tired.

The new test will replace the current assessment, which assesses young drivers with 30 multiple-choice questions and was created in a bid to reduce the number of under 25s involved in fatal accidents.

Testing, on a smartphone

Students make use of a smartphone, tablet or computer to access the digital course, which is taken at home and there are no fees if they need to re-sit the test. Currently, prospective drivers must head to an authorised test centre.

Immersive learning

PrepL is a more immersive experience than a standard paper exam. Designers incorporated simulated driving scenarios, requiring user input to identify developing driving hazards. To underscore the grave responsibility that comes with driving a car, there are video interviews with real-life families and emergency service workers affected by fatal car accidents.

There are also video clips of Queensland researchers explaining why our brains become distracted because of texting at the wheel or how alcohol impairs our driving abilities.

When will PrepL launch?

Currently, it’s in a pilot phase with a test group of 300 Queensland high school students. Programmers are making final tweaks and PrepL should launch by mid-2018.

Developing a new way of testing learner drivers

Development of PrepL was awarded to Brisbane’s Croomo, an e-learning and scenario-based education agency. It has taken the team of 20 designers, developers, artists and strategists two years to create.

Croomo Chief Growth Officer Daniel Bermingham said the system is a powerful teaching tool, impacting the seriousness of driving on students' minds.

“Students don’t just learn the road rules with PrepL, they learn why it’s important to have the right attitude, and, in a virtual environment, they experience the consequences of poor driving,” Bermingham said.

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