Improving Program Delivery at NHI
The National Highway Institute (NHI)
Throughout its 37-year history, the National Highway Institute (NHI) has strived to provide high-quality training that addresses the full life cycle of the highway transportation system. Over the years, with the development of new technologies and training strategies, NHI has adapted and adopted industry best practices to continue improving its offerings, delivery mechanisms, and customer satisfaction. In 2005, NHI conducted several focus groups to solicit feedback from customers, and over the last 2 years, the training program initiated a series of key program improvements.
Pursuing continuous improvement on courses and instruction. In 2006, NHI began using scannable evaluation forms and online host surveys to enable course participants and hosting organizations to provide feedback on NHI courses and instructors. By monitoring this valuable feedback, NHI stays abreast of customer satisfaction and identifies potential for improvement. "We apply the feedback by updating courses and working with instructors to improve delivery," says Ann Gretter, NHI marketing director. NHI shares summaries of customer satisfaction and instructor satisfaction with the transportation training community via its quarterly e-newsletter Learning in Progress.
Offering low-cost transportation training. According to NHI research, one of the most common reasons transportation professionals cite for why they are unable to attend its courses is because of travel costs and scheduling issues. To reduce costs and save customers time, NHI modernized its distance learning platforms by implementing Adobe® Acrobat® ConnectTM and Adobe® Presenter. This technology is helping NHI expedite development of more learning content, and NHI now is expanding the distance learning opportunities. Currently NHI offers seven Web-based and Web-conference training modules and plans to launch at least 10 more over the next year. Current distance learning opportunities are listed on the homepage of the NHI Web site.
Improving communication about new and updated courses. In 2006, NHI launched 24 new courses and updated 5 existing offerings. To ensure that the transportation community is aware of new and updated trainings, NHI now lists new courses prominently on its homepage, distributes one-page course summaries broadly to the transportation training community, and places new course announcements in transportation-related publications such as Public Roads and Focus.
Providing new tools and resources via the NHI Web site. Based upon customer and partner feedback, NHI recently modernized its Web site. Customers now can purchase materials via the NHI store using credit card payment. Organizations hosting courses now have the option to sell "public seats" so customers can enroll in sessions and pay online. In addition, new "advanced search" features enable site visitors to tailor their inquiries to new parameters such as searches by State, session location, knowledge level, and date ranges.
Providing recognition for customers' ongoing professional development. In 2006, NHI began offering certificates of accomplishment to support transportation professionals as they learn, build, and refine their skills in a variety of topic areas. The certificates of accomplishment represent suites of complementary NHI courses — bundled together — that enable participants to enhance their depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise in specific disciplines. NHI's first certificates of accomplishment are available in the areas of work zone safety, incident management, and relocation under the Uniform Act.
"The NHI training team is dedicated to serving the transportation community," Gretter says. "We encourage hosts, participants, and partners to continue providing feedback so we can address concerns and continue improving our training."
John J. Sullivan IV is associate editor for Public Roads.