13. Training in communication techniques for train dispatchers in disrupted situations

In traffic control, it is important to share information accurately and smoothly between key employees, such as between traffic controllers managing traffic, crews and train vehicles.

To address this challenge, a training method in communication techniques was developed which is easy to implement in the workplace (Figure 1).

Participants to the training were divided into groups according to roles, and then exposed to a simulated disrupted situation where they were required to communicate with each other. Their behavior and conversations were videoed during the training, and they viewed these recordings together after the drill. One to two months after the training, checks were made to see if the program helped participants to communicate better in the course of their ordinary work, which was followed by a final round of feedback on the training.

A list was drawn up of 45 points to remember in terms of communication skills, such as “when there is danger, your voice should be more assertive”, etc. Two types of questionnaire were compiled for each of the 45 points. The first asked “how important do you think these techniques are?” and the other asked “to what extent do you apply these techniques at work?” These questionnaires proved to be an effective way to measure how the acquired skills had been adopted and applied, even some time after the training, and helped to accelerate the acquisition of communication techniques.

Confirmation was obtained that this training increased awareness of the importance of communication techniques while it also increased actual application of these skills in the workplace (Figure 2).

The present method can therefore help to reinforce cooperative behavior and smooth sharing of accurate information between relevant employees in disrupted situations.

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