DrivingMBA’s approach to driver training is a unique combination of teaching modalities and provides students with the most comprehensive approach to driver training. Learning to drive is a significant life-skill, and if not done properly, can result in horrific consequences. There are many factors that determine whether a student is ready to become a solo, licensed driver. We don’t place unrealistic expectations on any student as to how long it will take them to be ready for their driver’s license. This is true for typical students as well as exceptional learners. The difference between DrivingMBA and other schools is simple, we don’t provide a student “just enough to pass a test.” We provide them with on-going training and support throughout the time they hold their permit, whether that is 6 months, 8 months, 1 year or more.
All of this information can be found in different areas on our website. This article puts all of the information in one place and will act as a guide to navigate each of the phases of the training process, why we make the recommendations we do, and the role you play in preparing your student to become a competent, safe and responsible driver. The image above provides a visual of everything DrivingMBA offers. The D.R.I.V.E. Certification package includes all of the components you see. We do offer other packages that include subsets of what you see above as well as a Busy Parent package that includes everything above, however, instead of 5 on-road lessons, it includes 15 on-road lessons or 30 hours of on-road instruction. Click here for a description of each of the components, how they should be scheduled and what to expect at each phase.
The Driving Fundamentals Simulation Lab
Any student that has little to no driving experience (0 to 20 hours) begins in this lab. These 4 lessons ideally should be scheduled in a 2 to 4 week time period. We do not recommend large periods of time in between each of these lessons as they serve as building blocks in developing the foundation of driving for students. They are learning how to drive in a safe and controlled environment where we begin with the basics such as understanding dashboard lights, hand and foot control, steering control, lane position, making turns, interacting with traffic, etc. Students also actively learn the rules of the road and apply them while driving in the virtual world. While students are completing this lab we do not expect parents to be practicing with their students.
Once a student completes the driving fundamentals simulation lab we want to get their first on-road lesson completed as soon as possible. This gives us the opportunity to help students transfer skills developed in the driving fundamentals lab onto the real road. Instructors continue to work with students in the on-road lessons to build their skill base.
Instructors will “typically” ask parents and students to get approximately 20-25 hours of practice in about 4 to 6 weeks before they come in for their next appointment. You may think “that is a LOT,” and it is; AND there is a reason for our recommendation. We are working to push you to a minimum of 100 hours of practice before your student completes the course and takes the test for their license. Why? Because that is the recommendation in the national standards issued by NHTSA and ADSTEA and because each time we get them for a lesson it is our objective to introduce more complex driving situations. If they don’t do the recommended practice in-between their lessons, we won’t be able to get them to the next level.
What is the state requirement? Arizona only requires 30 hours of practice and that is a bare minimum and not enough. We are working to develop competency and readiness in a student, not give them just enough to pass a simple test at the MVD.
I recently heard from a parent in our Coaching Course, that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. That number is based on the work of Malcolm Gladwell and is documented in his book, Outliers, As Gladwell tells it, the rule goes like this: it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials.” Gladwell also talks about the importance of “good teaching.” The work we do and the homework we give you as guidance is what will help your student gain a base level of competency before they become licensed drivers.
If, however, you are finding it difficult or even impossible to get the 20+ hours of practice because your student is struggling or really anxious about practicing, then call us and get them on our schedule. We will “front load” one or several on-road lessons to get your student to a place where they are more confident and willing to practice with you. We do request that you do not go long periods of time without any practice because your student needs consistency and repetition in order to move forward in building their skills, so if you can’t get them there, let us help.
We also offer different packages with 6, 8, 10 hours, or more on-road instruction. The state of Arizona requires that a driving school complete a minimum of 10 hours of on-road instruction in order for us to administer a road test. If your student is doing less than 10 hours of on-road with us, we will still do a final evaluation and we will give you our assessment of your student’s skills.
Our on-road evaluation is typically administered on the 5th and/or final on-road lesson. If a student purchases additional lessons, beyond the required 10 hours, the evaluation is done during their last lesson. Our final evaluation is a culmination of all of the skills a student has been taught over their time with DrivingMBA. We utilize specific routes in order to incorporate all of the necessary elements and provide an instructor ample opportunity to assess a student’s observation and planning skills as well as their judgment and decision-making skills, along with all of the other skills they have been taught.
A student is expected to score a minimum of 80% in each of the categories and must score a minimum of 80% on the entire test. There are also actions that are considered automatic failures and will cause the student to fail the exam. The exam takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours to complete depending on traffic. During that lesson, a brief intake and warm-up with the student is done and then the evaluation commences. An instructor’s job during the evaluation is to provide directions, not to coach a student through any maneuvers. If an instructor determines during the course of the final evaluation, that the student will not pass the test, they will begin coaching and turn the drive into an instructional lesson. A student will return to the office approximately 20 minutes before the end of their lesson and the instructor will score the test, make notations and debrief with the student and parent.
Defensive Driving Simulation Lab
This lab is typically introduced somewhere between the 3rd and 4th on-road lessons. Instructors will indicate whether a student is defensive driving ready as they are looking for appropriate skills in entering and exiting freeways, making lane changes, maintaining lane position, and more. This lab is designed to teach students more advanced skills in Hazard Recognition, Vehicle Handling, Space Management, and Speed Management. Students are required to complete an online Orientation to Defensive Driving Course that provides the framework for what they will be experiencing in their simulation lab lessons.
We do recommend that this lab is completed before a student is tested and gets their license. It is very effective in helping them understand how quickly circumstances can change and why it is so important to stay focused on driving. It also helps them open up their scan as they will typically crash with vehicles or other obstacles (sometimes pets or people) if they are not paying attention and scanning properly. In this lab, they can experience a myriad of bad driving situations, crash, restart and learn from their mistakes.
The debrief is an important component of our training. After every simulation and on-road lesson instructors need to speak to parents. The purpose is to give parents a quick snap-shot of what the student accomplished, areas they are doing well and areas where they need work and improvement. The debrief is particularly important after each of the on-road lessons as we need to be able to give parents and students feedback and provide them with a guide of what type of practice they will need before they come back for their next lesson. Parents have the option of waiting in their cars, coming into the office, or having the student contact them via video conference (ie: FaceTime, Duo, etc.)
Before COVID we decided to put some of our classrooms online. We have our Rules of the Road Permit Prep, Responsibilities of Driving, and Orientation to Defensive Driving classes all online. We are working to get new versions up and ready by the end of the year. In the Fall of 2019, we decided to redesign our Parent Class and make it a hybrid course where 1/2 would be done in-person and the 2nd 1/2 is done online. We piloted the class in January and February of 2020, and then COVID happened and we had to quickly put the 1st 1/2 online as well. Over the course of the year that the class was online, instructors noticed a difference in the engagement of parents. We decided to start offering the course in a live Zoom Part 1A and Part 1B and so far the feedback has been good, and we will continue with that format.
Parent and/or Guardian or Driving Coach Course – If we are testing a student for their license this course is mandatory. We do, however, highly recommend that every parent take the course whether their student is testing with DrivingMBA or not. Our model is to partner with parents to ensure that their child is as well prepared to become a solo licensed driver. The Zoom Part 1A and 1B is designed to:
- Level Expectations
- Provide parents with important information and resources regarding teenage driving
- Help parents understand the significant role they play in this process
Part 2: An online course is designed to give parents practical tips and how-to’s as they practice with their new drivers.
Student On-Line Courses
Rules of the Road Permit Prep Course – This course is designed to help a student prep for the written test. It is not indicated on our timeline because not every student takes the course. It is available for those who want or need a boost in developing a basic understanding of the Rules of the Road.
Responsibilities of Driving Course – This course is designed to help students understand the significant responsibility they undertake as a result of getting behind the wheel of a car. It is also designed to be somewhat hard-hitting so that students understand the consequences of making poor choices behind the wheel. If a student has a great deal of anxiety about driving, we may recommend they not take this course, or they wait to take it later on during the course of their instruction.
Orientation to Defensive Driving Course – This course is the pre-cursor to taking the defensive driving simulation course and provides the framework for what they will experience in the lab. It provides students with information on Hazard Recognition, Vehicle Handling, Space Management and Speed Management.
Our Car Maintenance Course was suspended during COVID and we are now working on a new format and hope to be offering it by the end of the year.