Road Safety News
 

Research suggests role for interactive video in pedestrian training

Wednesday 10th September 2014

Interactive video could have a role to play in teaching children to cross the road safety, alongside conventional pedestrian training, according to researchers.

The findings came out of a study by researchers from the Transportation Research Group at Southampton University, and were published in the International Journal of e-Education, e-Business, e-Management and e-Learning.

The authors say that while many local authorities in the UK operate pedestrian training, some are “reducing the amount of on-street training as a result of financial and time constraints”. They added that the reduction in practical training “puts more emphasis on paper-based classroom activities which increase knowledge acquisition but are generally not as effective in improving practical skills”.

Against this background, the study set out to evaluate the effectiveness of an interactive road safety video designed to improve children’s crossing skills between parked cars when no other alternative safer route is available.

The researchers came to the conclusion that the video “shows the potential to improve the crossing behaviour of children”.

The paper goes on to say: “Interactive videos may prove to be an effective complementary activity alongside pedestrian training as they can more effectively target hard skills compared to paper-based activities.

“While the system does show potential to improve skills when used alone, this is not the intention, and all training offered through interactive video should be supplemented with practical training as not all users respond to computer based-training. 

“Importantly, interactive video is not suggested as a replacement for pedestrian training schemes, but a complementary educational material in much the same way that a road safety worksheet or online road safety cartoon computer game also offers further guidance to students.”

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It is a very common misconception that road safety ETP programmes can only be judged as effective if they can be shown by the end of the programme to have prevented x collisions or y casualties. Changing cultures and behaviours is medium and long term work, to which many short term and repeated programmes contribute.

Any intervention is designed to address one aspect or behaviour amongst the numerous variables that combine to lead to collisions. When a programme is designed to address, challenge or meet that specific need, the output is defined e.g. “following this campaign a z% increase in awareness of this factor will have been achieved among the target audience”. Using before and after evaluation, we can then assess whether or not this defined output has been delivered.

Each output contributes towards the overall, shared outcome of reducing casualties/collisions.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

Agree (1) | Disagree (3)
-2

Absolutely Tim, I am a very great fan of simulation for teaching and improving skills. Although this isn't a simulation as such the research paper does make for very interesting reading.
Duncan MacKillop, Startford on Avon

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+3

Companies have the luxury of a direct economic link between investment and return; not so road safety organisations. The notion that we are not seeing a progressive reduction in motorcycle casualties as a result of "look longer" campaigns does not necessarily indicate that they don't work. It is entirely possible that they work to an extent, but that to work better and so bring about a reduction in casualties a higher level of investment is needed. There may also be a limit to how well they can work.

Many people buying coke are already very close to their decision point, which is to pick one out of several desirable options. Advertising is to a large extent about the fine detail of brand selection and canny advertisers work on feelgood factors to sway choice. Deciding not to exit a junction immediately is about accepting a personal restriction for the greater good. It's a much harder decision to influence because it has negative connotations, and what people really want to do is proceed without delay. It would not be a surprise if the effect of "look longer" adertising was of a lesser order.
Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton

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+2

Companies only invest in advertising that works which is why they keep such a close eye on the bottom line. Advertise and sell more widgets and the advertising has worked, advertise and sell fewer widgets and the advertising hasn't worked it's as simple as that.

Companies such as Coca-Cola spend 50% of their entire income on advertising, but they would soon cease to exist if that expenditure didn't generate far more than it cost. Compare and contrast Coca-Cola's activities with the 60 year old campaign to get drivers to take longer to look for bikes at junctions. After 60 years of repeating the same message and with no fall in the number of collisions you would be forgiven for thinking that this campaign actually isn't working.

Just spending money on an andvertising/marketing/educational activity is not enough if it doesn't generate the results you want. In the road safety case the result that is wanted surely is fewer collisions so why isn't that the benchmark by which success is measured?
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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+2

Forgive me for what might seem a mischievous comment, but I seem to remember being told about pilots spending many hours using simulators as a means of learning how to cope with adverse situations. Is this not the same thing? And if children have already received some information about this topic, doesn't the use of the interactive video involve extracting that information from their memory?
Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton

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+3

I recalled those three examples this morning without any musical or visual prompt and no great memory effort.

Agreed - recall is for a short period of time. Repeat transmissions, slogans or messages and repeated sight of visual images reinforce them in the short term memory and repeatedly move them back from long term to short term memory.

If advertising and marketing don't work, why do so many companies invest so much money in it?
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

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0

Not so Honor, the act of buying the product is what makes people buy more of it. The advertising only effects short-term memory sufficient for only a couple of days recall at most. The reason we can recall the rest of a slogan when prompted with the beginning of it is all down to how long-term memories are actually formed. The examples you have given will work for every pop song you have ever heard even if you haven't heard it for decades. It just needs to come onto the radio and you can sing along with it like you heard it only yesterday.

As an experiment see if you can make an unprompted recall of any one of the hundred thousand TV slogans you might have heard ever since you started watching. Not so easy is it? If you can recall one then that recall would have been very effortful as you searched through your memory to find some connections or clues as to the location and content of the memory. If however you were just to hear the first few bars of the jingle then you would recall the rest of it instantly. We call this context specific pattern matching where it is the context that drives the recall, not the other way around.

Take the Heinz beans example and you will see that the TV advertising and the jingle are only the supporting act for the rhyming words (Beanz Meanz Heinz) and they way they are written. In the supermarket the words of the slogan will be displayed alongside the product which will prompt the context specific pattern matching to recall not only the jingle but the associated mental pictures of the happy smiling children.

You can repeat a message a million times and yes it will be recalled when prompted, but unless the context is correct (the prompt) then the message is essentially wasted.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (1) | Disagree (2)
-1

With a system filled with variables including that most variable of all - the human being – no single measure will override all the potential situations that may come together and result in a collision. Safe systems approach, improved driver training, continuing education and enforcement all have a part to play. Within this mosaic, advertising information and repeating key messages plays a powerful part:

Complete these slogans: “Beanz meanz…..” “A Mars a day….” “Clunk click….”

If a proportion of your target audience can complete the slogan, many will also recall a visual image that will influence their next shopping decisions. Advertising works by influencing behaviour.

Because human beings are fallible, forgetful and busy, we use these principles with regard to some road user behaviours – it doesn’t work with everyone but it does with a significant number; bringing the message and the learning back from long term memory, sufficient to have some influence on decision making for a period. Information advertising is not a cure-all but it has an effective part to play.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

Agree (1) | Disagree (2)
-1

Honor.
That's not what I wrote. I said that it is a mistake to think that putting stuff into memory by being told it or reading it is sufficient. This is the 'chalk and talk' method which you describe and so I think we are in agreement on that one.

What is important is the regularity that people withdraw and use information from memory as it's this that makes it stick. The industry's reliance on repeating a message over and over again in the vain hope that people will remember it and act on it shows that the modern equivalent of chalk and talk is still very much the order of the day.
Duncan MacKillop, Startford on Avon

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0

Duncan.
What you describe is not how we educate young road users in schools and colleges nowadays; pedestrian training, Bikeability and other programmes are based on sound educational practice and involve children being fully engaged in thinking, research, evaluation, descriptive and practical skills. The days of "chalk and talk" are long gone from professional road safety education.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

Agree (3) | Disagree (2)
+1

The traditional idea of education is that putting stuff into memory by being told it or reading it is sufficient. We now understand through advances in neuroscience that it is taking stuff out of memory by recalling it and repeating it that has the most profound effect on how we actually learn things. We may well educate children, but without the constant reinforcement of practical experience then anything we tell them will soon fade from memory. Luckily for them they have fantastic things called mirror neurons that allow them to learn by doing what everybody else does (DWEED) and by observing and doing what everybody else does their ability to do those same things is powerfully reinforced. Children mainly learn how to manage the road environment then from the way their peers manage the road environment added to a bit of extra knowledge that they might have gained from traditional education methods.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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+3

"We have a responsibility and a duty to ensure that road user learning forms part of every child’s education to equip them to cope with the environment we have created for them. "

And where even with such training they cannot "cope with the environment we have created for them" then do we not have an equal responsibility and duty to change that environment so that they can cope!
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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0

True, children learn from what they see their parents (and other adults) do rather than what they are told they should do. Not true, that education to instil safer behaviours is a waste of time, it absolutely isn't. The foundation laid at home may well make the job more difficult, but impossible? No way. Evidence shows that positive and soundly based classroom and practical road user education can and does have an effect in re-balancing negative and unsafe learned behaviours e.g. Children’s Traffic Club, Kerbcraft and Bikeability. The Fire and Rescue services also run some very effective programmes to divert young people at risk of offending and injury into positive programmes and they are also demonstrably successful. Education works!

We have a responsibility and a duty to ensure that road user learning forms part of every child’s education to equip them to cope with the environment we have created for them.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

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0

Aren't the uncorrectable mistakes of humans, whether they be adult or children, the reason why we need to build the safety into the urban realm?
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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-3

Quite right Andy. We learn what we take out of memory and not what we put in. That is why it's so unproductive telling somebody what the correct way of doing things is when they are experiencing (and learning) the incorrect way every day.
Duncan MacKillop, Startford on Avon

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+3

The problem is more likely that they DO take notice of their parents - crossing between parked cars, crossing near not at a crossing, not waiting for the lights to change etc - the things they have been witnessing since they were in a pushchair (that probably was pushed out into the road before that parent could see if the road was clear!)
Andy, Warwick

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+7

In the dim and distant past of the late 1980s we used to deploy Interactive Video to schools for just this purpose. It came on a 12-inch video disc with equipment in a set of flight cases which required a trolley and a good set of muscles to move around. It was mind-blowing technology then and always seemed a good idea to me, so I am surprised that the medium seemed to disappear for a while, even though the technology to create and operate it had advanced significantly. I welcome its return .... I wonder if anyone has done a comparison between it and the older version to determine how they measure up.
Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton

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+2

What one should remember is that a parent isn't always listened to. Sometimes its like bashing your head into a brick wall. Then someone or something else says the same thing, or in this case a video or a teacher, and the child has it and the parents just look at each other bemused. It doesn't really matter how it gets through just as long as it gets through.

Further, if both parents drive and the child is taken to school in a car what opportunity does a parent have to teach their child pedestrian road safety? Different if the child walks to school with a parent or other adult.
bob craven Lancs

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+9

Very interesting article. Shame it does not mention the one group of individuals who spend more time with children and have the ability to influence them more than anyone else, the parents. Sad reflection on British society when computer simulation take on this role rather than the parents.
keith

Agree (19) | Disagree (1)
+18