#11 – Use quality standards
The quality of traffic safety and mobility education materials can vary greatly. The principle “there is no harm in trying” should not be applied to traffic safety education. Projects that are poorly designed can, in fact, have an adverse effect. The money and time could better be spent on well designed and evaluated projects and measures instead.
It is therefore necessary to have quality standards for educational material and activities on traffic safety and mobility.
Such material and activities should define specific goals for the intervention as well as be adapted to, and have the right content for, the target group they are meant for. They should be based on scientific research and sound academic models, and should both be pre-tested as well as evaluated. The interventions themselves should motivate teachers to use them, while at the same time attract the target audience.
In short, the same quality standards that are expected for maths, languages and other subjects taught in schools should be applied to traffic safety and mobility education material as well.
A forthcoming LEARN! publication on guidelines for designing, testing, implementing and evaluating traffic safety and mobility education interventions will set out minimum criteria and recommendations for the development of effective educational material.
BEST PRACTICE EXAMPLES
Norway – The Norwegian Council for Road Safety’s Model for Behaviour Modification
The Norwegian Council for Road Safety (NCRS; Trygg Trafikk) noted a need for gaining a better understanding about which training programmes produce a positive impact in the short and long term and what elements contribute to this effectiveness. However, a number of potential issues need to be taken into account.
Firstly, education has a long-term perspective but programmes tend to be assessed over a shorter time. Secondly, measuring the impact of a single training programme is difficult, because both those who are exposed to it and the control group are under the influence of several other factors in parallel, including the media, their families, schools and other traffic education programmes.
Thirdly, when measuring attitudes before and after interventions, it often turns out that most adolescents have appropriate attitudes and behaviour, complicating any demonstration of progress. And finally, knowledge is far easier to measure than attitudes and behaviour.
To respond to these issues and provide recommendations for the associated efforts, the NCRS established an advisory group in the spring of 2015. The group includes three external and three internal members. The external members are researchers in the areas of traffic safety and education and have experience in the application of qualitative as well as quantitative methods.
With the aid of analyses of the most recognised and applied theories of behaviour modification, the NCRS developed a new, joint model suitable for the NCRS’s work. The model, which was named NCRS’ Model for Behaviour Modification (MBM), is considered to be a tool for optimal planning and implementation of programmes and for what can be evaluated.
The Netherlands – Traffic Education Checklist
The knowledge institute CROW developed a traffic education checklist that assesses certain elements of traffic education interventions in 10 steps. These steps consist of assessing the problem analysis, target group specification, educational goals, didactical principles, content of the material, assessment and evaluation during the intervention, the manual, the implementation, process and outcome evaluations of the intervention.
The results of the assessment provide a first indicator of quality. It also stimulates improvements, and delivers the latest developments, insights as well as behaviour and educational expertise to the producers.
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