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Public Roads - Spring 2021

Spring 2021
Issue No:
Vol. 85 No. 1
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Training Update

NHI Expert Instructors: Coming to a Computer Near You!

by Thomas Harman and Christine Kemker
Laptop computer showing NHI's website, water glass, and notepad on a desk. Computer image: © Rawpixel /  Website: National Highway Institute.
Virtual instructor-led training courses give transportation professionals the opportunity to get the training they need, regardless of where they are. The virtual delivery format cuts costs for both hosts and participants because conference rooms and travel are not necessary for a virtual training.

Virtual learning is a valuable tool in the workforce development toolbox. Self-paced, online courses offer learners the opportunity to train on their own schedule. The National Highway Institute's virtual instructor-led training is conducted via web conferences to provide participants with real-time interaction with the instructor. The complexity of transportation disciplines makes having a live instructor instrumental.

Despite the in-person meeting restrictions in 2020, the Nation's transportation industry did not stand still—thus training could not wait for in-person gatherings to be widely accessible again. Last year, NHI converted 30 of its instructor-led training courses to virtual instructor-led training (VILT) courses. Now organizations can host a variety of NHI courses virtually, bringing expert instructors to employees for real-time training.

The virtual format offers organizations more flexibility in both hosting and attending training. "The new virtual delivery format allows customers to better target training while reducing costs," says Gay Dugan, a training program manager for NHI. "You can host a course just for your staff, or open public seats so peers from across the region or Nation can attend."

Opening seats up to the public helps defray costs while increasing valuable collaboration among participants. NHI itself is also hosting several training courses as national sessions, with open enrollment so that individuals from across the country can register.

Sparking the Shift

Since the mid-1990s, NHI has pioneered new ways to provide valuable distance learning. From training courses shared on floppy disks and course delivery via satellite transmission to HTML5 web-based courses, NHI has been at the forefront of learner-centric, accessible training. NHI's initiative on distance learning led the Nation, from creating web-based trainings and web-conference trainings first offered in 2003 to blended learning in 2006. Since the early 2000s, online trainings have been in high demand and NHI has collaborated with industry partners and experts to develop a catalog of more than 200 self-paced, web-based trainings for transportation professionals.

While the benefits of self-paced learning are evident, and the increase in professionals taking web-based trainings demonstrates demand, instructor-led trainings have remained a consistent standard for training. Interacting with expert instructors and engaging with peers in the transportation industry supports learning complex topics and enables participants to receive immediate answers to questions.


Meeting the Industry Need

2020 presented a challenging opportunity, as State departments of transportation and other transportation organizations across the country had previously scheduled their employees to get the training they needed to do their jobs through instructor-led trainings. With the cancelation of more than 400 in-person sessions, NHI stepped up to the challenge of providing the needed training virtually.

NHI quickly pivoted and successfully converted its high-priority instructor-led trainings to a virtual format. NHI scheduled 14 sessions of its Instructor Development Course for web-conference trainings in order to rapidly ramp up and prepare instructors from the Federal Highway Administration's Resource Center and NHI to teach in a virtual environment. Concurrently, NHI's training program managers worked with their course designers to prioritize and convert content for a virtual online training.

Stacey Jones, a training program manager at NHI, says of the VILT conversion process, "It was awesome to see how quickly and easily our partners came together when we had to convert face-to-face [trainings] for virtual delivery."

In under 5 months, NHI converted 30 high-demand, instructor-led training courses to a virtual format and continues to work on converting more.

NHI's VILTs continue to provide participants with the right information and tools needed to enhance their skills and support advancement in their respective careers. NHI is an International Association for Continuing Education and Training accredited provider, which means that most of the converted courses still provide continuing education credits upon passing the course. These credits can be converted to professional development hours for license requirements for State or professional organizations.

NHI is offering all VILT courses at a discount through the end of 2021. Visit NHI's website to see what VILTs are available in your discipline and ask your organization to host a session this year.


How to Attend or Host a VILT

Many of these VILT courses are available as national sessions–anyone across the country can register and attend. Virtual trainings can also be "hosted" by any State DOT or transportation agency through the same process as regular instructor-led trainings. NHI can provide the training on FHWA's virtual platform or agencies may use their own virtual platform. NHI provides instructions, course materials, and expert instructors. If an agency would like to open a session up as a regional or national session, NHI will work with the organization and can even help with marketing. Host requests can be submitted directly from the course page—submit a request today!

NHI invites professionals interested in earning continuing education credits or expanding their career skills to visit and browse the complete digital course catalog, which spans 18 transportation program areas.

NHI's VILT Course List

Asset Management

  • FHWA-NHI-136002V Financial Planning for Transportation Asset Management
  • FHWA-NHI-136106V Introduction to Transportation Asset Management with Workshop
  • FHWA-NHI-136106W Developing a Transportation Asset Management Plan

Business, Public Admin, and Quality

  • FHWA-NHI-310109 Federal-Aid 101 (FHWA Employee Session)
  • FHWA-NHI-310110V Federal-Aid Highways—101
  • FHWA-NHI-310119V Writing Effective Program Review Reports: Moving People to Action
  • FHWA-NHI-310123V FHWA Basic Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) Training

Construction and Maintenance

  • FHWA-NHI-134001V Principles and Applications of Highway Construction Specifications
  • FHWA-NHI-134005V Value Engineering (3-day version)
  • FHWA-NHI-134005W Value Engineering (4-day version)
  • FHWA-NHI-134005X Value Engineering (5-day version)
  • FHWA-NHI-134006V Utility Coordination for Highway Projects
  • FHWA-NHI-134037V Managing Highway Contract Claims: Analysis and Avoidance
  • FHWA-NHI-134063V Maintenance Leadership Academy

Design and Traffic Operations

  • FHWA-NHI-133121V Traffic Signal Design and Operation
  • FHWA-NHI-133122V Traffic Signal Timing Concepts


  • FHWA-NHI-142078A Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL), without Implement PEL Activity
  • FHWA-NHI-142078V Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL)

Financial Management

  • FHWA-NHI-231033V Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)

Highway Safety

  • FHWA-NHI-380077V Intersection Safety Workshop
  • FHWA-NHI-380078V Signalized Intersection Guidebook Workshop
  • FHWA-NHI-380089V Designing for Pedestrian Safety
  • FHWA-NHI-380090V Developing a Pedestrian Safety Action Plan
  • FHWA-NHI-380091V Planning and Designing for Pedestrian Safety
  • FHWA-NHI-380096V Modern Roundabouts: Intersections Designed for Safety
  • FHWA-NHI-380109V Alternative Intersections and Interchanges


  • COMING SOON—FHWA-NHI-135027V Urban Drainage Design
  • COMING SOON—FHWA-NHI-135056V Culvert Design
  • FHWA-NHI-135095V Two-Dimensional Hydraulic Modeling of Rivers at Highway Encroachments


  • FHWA-NHI-131139V Constructing and Inspecting Asphalt Paving Projects


  • FHWA-NHI-130053V Bridge Inspection Refresher Training
  • FHWA-NHI-130053A Bridge Inspection Refresher Training
  • COMING SOON—FHWA-NHI-130092V Load and Resistance Factor Rating of Highway Bridges
  • COMING SOON—FHWA-NHI-130093A Displacement-Based Seismic Design of Bridges
  • FHWA-NHI-130125V Tunnel Safety Inspection Refresher ILT
  • COMING SOON—FHWA-NHI-130126V Strut-and-Tie Modeling (STM) For Concrete Structures

Thomas Harman is NHI's director.

Christine Kemker is a contracted marketing specialist working with NHI.