Initial Part Three Training

Initial Part Three Training

You may well, if you have someone happy to become empowered and develop themselves already started some of this as part of their part two development.

For our initial training we need to really focus on our ability to keep safe, to ensure they can keep the car safe, and to this end we need a “curriculum” in the form of a list of things they need to be able to keep themselves, their learner and all around them safe.

The agreed list forms criteria to be signed off by you both. I have listed below a potential list of things. Not exhaustive by any means and the conversation had to determine this list will throw up different things. At this stage we are still responsible for ensuring they do not take excessive risks, so we may well be intervening on the grounds of safety in the reality phase of the GROW model.

The criteria listed below also offers some guidance as to how this might be done. You will have determined the list between you, or you may eventually develop your own list to ensure you have everything covered for you to feel safe signing them off to go on a trainee licence. Either way, ask them how they might be able to demonstrate to you that the criteria has been met.

The coachee should be applying a lot of the techniques you used when training them at Part Two, and this should be the basis of a lot of the conversations you will have regarding the criteria listed below. They will have experienced this ownership and involvement and will see how powerful it is. It will also demonstrate to them the techniques required for the new Part Three test. You can, if you were effective in your delivery of coaching/client-centred techniques, simply ask “how did that work during your Part Two Training?”

1. Find suitable locations, activities, and routes for each driving lesson in the learning programme.

You need to check the work they have done to ensure they have put requisite thought into the projects you may have set them (find routes/locations in their area. Get them to use maps etc. If they have not, give them guidance and advice as necessary and send them home to try again.

2. Structure and deliver a lesson which meets the needs and goals of their learners.

You need to see that they know how to structure a lesson, in terms of structuring conversations about what the pupil wants to gain from a session. They need to know how to get this “buy in”. This is by creating the right environment in terms of relationship (see point 7.), but they also need to know about offering suggestions to gain “buy in” through stages or steps. They need to know that whilst barriers still exist, coachees may very well wish to just “be told what to do” but that they need to keep trying. As a minimum if a coachee could not figure out what they might want to do next the instructor should explore suitable possibilities/options for the coachee to consider and decide upon.

3. Deliver lessons which follow the correct order and process.

They do not need detailed guidance on every lesson, just to understand the principals involved to deliver a lesson and what the component parts are. They will develop using the resources provided and through guidance during conversations/training during onward training. We are not saying they need to be an expert in every lesson, and you do not need to train them on every lesson, they simply need to understand the process and then put it into practice (remember experience is the best teacher). No amount of training at this stage will stop them messing their first lessons up. It is also worth noting that this is how classroom teachers, pilots, dentists, and surgeons are trained; given the basics and then supervised in the real world. Naturally, they should have experienced some great examples of how to structure a lesson as part of their Part Two training with you.

4. Reflect upon and evaluate their performance delivering a lesson in line with the 17 competencies examined on the new Part Three test using the Part Three Coachee Planner and Reflective Log.

They simply need to understand how reflection and analysis will help them to develop using their workbook. This workbook is the logbook the examiner on the Part Three test will want to see showing a log of the coachee instructor’s development progress so far.

You will have shown them how powerful reflection is during your time with them at Part Two where you will have encouraged them to reflect and put together developmental plans.

If they have no ideas of their own, you can draw their attention to how it was when you did their first session. It is all about setting expectations.

5. Fully satisfy the role as manager of risk, including interventions by mouth hand and foot to maintain safety.

They need to be able to give route directions, prompts, commands with their mouth and they need to be able to control the car using their hands and feet. There are many ways to cover this, and you can get creative. I tend to use a car park and let them get the feel of the controls, then we may do a left loop with them doing the steering. I sometimes get them to do a manoeuvre from the passenger seat with me having no input (doing this without gas applied really develops clutch control and feel). You are in effect focusing on the risk management competencies being assessed on the Part Three test.

6. Create an “equal, non-hierarchical relationship” with their learners.

If we are attempting to “identify and meet the needs of the learner” we must create the right environment for learning to take place, build rapport in terms of learning happening (non-judgemental, no hierarchy, breaking down barriers to self-development and ownership) exhibit humility and to develop an understanding of the role of the modern Tutor/Coach.

We need to understand that we are there to serve and not to dominate. We need to understand that the person we are hoping to help learn most likely has all the skill set and much of the information they need without input from us. This, for a lot of us, is new. Up to this point we have seen them as an empty vessel that requires filling up with our vast experience and knowledge. They are a vessel that is full of life experience (at least 20.5 years of it!). Once we understand that basic principle then the rest should become straightforward. The coachee will have experienced you doing this with them at Part Two and therefore it should make perfect sense to them. All they need is practice, reflection, and guidance.

We are not saying the Tutor/Coach signs them off at this point as a totally competent instructor, just that they have the basics of lesson planning and delivery and that they can keep the car safe. They will have done their basic training and then will be working under your supervision (direct in the car and reflective coaching sessions) to develop their skills as their journey continues.


Experiential learning occurs when a person engages in some activity (real, set up, role play or case study) then looks back at the activity critically, abstracts some useful insight from the analysis, and puts the results to work through a change in behaviour.

Learning can be defined as a change in behaviour because of experience or input, and that is the usual purpose of training. A structured experience provides a framework in which the learning process can be facilitated. The participants discover meaning for themselves and validate their own learning.

We can facilitate this learning through discussion following real experiences gained during training sessions, through discussion of what might or might not have happened, through use of case studies or examples from former sessions and through trainer role play. The type of role play prevalent in our industry until recently was not very user friendly to the recipients, therefore not really the ideal vehicle to facilitate learning.


We need to use role play if that is our chosen method, to allow for structured experiences, therefore we do not need to be painting a lengthy word picture of who we are and what experience we have to this point, then staying in that role for a lengthy period, but merely to set up a short activity that can be reflected upon.

I prefer to engage in discussions which might focus on conversations related to the identified goals such as “if I were your pupil and I said or did x, y or z, what would you say to me, or what would you do, or what advice might you give me? In this way the PDI can relate to it much easier than they can with the added complexity of imagining you as someone else.

You may from time to time need to conduct role play sessions for, example when you turn up to do onward Part Three training and the PDI has gaps in their diary, or for setting up structured experiences to allow you to help the PDI work towards their goals in a session.

However, we must ask ourselves what sort of role play, and what do we hope to achieve with it?

Remember the role play should be used to set up a structured experience and allow the PDI to reflect and learn from it. It should never be used to highlight to the PDI how little they know, or to throw them into situations they are not ready for, such as a lurch out of a junction that they might be surprised at because they were not expecting their trainer to behave this way. We must help them build the skills they need in small, easily managed steps to ensure success and not demotivate them. The role play of the past was not popular with most coachees as they found it confusing and difficult to get their head around, therefore it became quite demoralising for them, and this carried through to the exam. The DVSA have dropped this methodology from the exam, and we need to move with the times and drop it from training, using it only as and when it would be seen as useful by both parties.

The National standard for Driver and rider training guidance in relation to role play states in Section 6.6 that in relation to the performance standards they are expecting that you must be able to.

  • identify when role play could be an effective training activity (I would add here, it is important to identify when it would not)
  • design role play activities that are realistic, reliable, and credible
  • make sure that the role play is relevant to the needs of trainee instructors
  • define learning outcomes for each role play situation
  • plan routes that are suitable for each role play situation
  • plan simulation that makes sure that you, the trainee instructor, and other road users are not put at risk


It also states that in relation to Knowledge and understanding requirements that you must know and understand

  1. the strengths and limitations of role play
  2. how to develop role play situations that meet the needs of the trainee instructor
  3. when the use of role play is helpful, and when to use other methods
  4. the types of faults and style of driving or riding common to various types of learners
  5. for which situations role play is not a safe training method

I see role play as a useful tool, but it is not as useful in terms of experiential learning to be totally pretending to be a different person as was the case on the old Part Three exam, and indeed the role play we used to employ as trainers.

I much prefer to discuss what we may or may not do in given situations and thereby help the PDI discover strategies they may employ and then and only then use role play to help them to practice the previously outlined strategy. I would not then be role playing a particular person but would be setting up a specific experience. See it more as; this is what a learner might do, would you like me to simulate this so you can experience how to deal with it? or do you have any concerns about what a learner might do, and would you like me to simulate that situation? etc.

For example, as agreed I will overshoot the junction if you do not stop me, or, I will be too close to the parked vehicles if you do not prevent me doing it (obviously ensuring it would be safe to do so)

It is vital that when we are setting up structured experiences that everyone involved understands what is expected of them. It is important that you set the scene every time you go into any scenario, especially in terms of risk management.

You need to be able to set up scenarios that the PDI can reflect on and develop. We no longer try to create faults that are obscure and difficult to find and fix.

The starting point for all this though, is to ensure you can drive fault free. How good is your driving currently?

Could you pass the L test?

Could you pass the part two?

Start to develop your fault free driving first. You should, as a trainer, take great pride in your driving and be able to dazzle observers with your knowledge and skill. You should therefore be able to deliver a drive that contains the 3 S’s

Safe, Smooth and with the Sparkle that comes from the previous two S’s being delivered to perfection. You must be able to develop driving plans that take account of what you can see, what you cannot see, and what you might reasonably expect on this kind of road, at that time of day/year and in the prevailing traffic conditions.

You will find some Tutor/Coach development videos here that should help you in this regard.

Advanced driving videos, in particular those relating to commentary driving

Once you are totally blemish free, and this takes continuous consistent practice, you can start to develop the introduction of faults.

The main consideration when displaying faults must be safety; you must always check it is safe to commit the fault before doing so, and that it is legal! You must never break the law or drive dangerously. If it is not safe, then you must not make the fault.

It is always important to “set the scene” so that your PDI is always aware of what is about to happen.

To begin with, you would likely have your PDI experience observing a flawless drive with one very noticeable fault. This is early-stage development, so we need to make the fault easy to spot. If the fault is not spotted, (after demonstrating it three times) then pull to the side of the road and tell the PDI what the fault was. Drive the same route, committing the same fault and they should then see it. This then opens a conversation about the difference in their observation this time and should help them to develop practice plans to work on this skill (watching family members and friends drive, but maybe only noting the fault and not mentioning it).

Once they can spot the fault, we need to help the PDI to develop awareness in the learner, either by something as open ended as “analyse the last three junctions for me” or by the PDI simply pointing out that a mistake has occurred. Start by being very compliant and being open to the fact it is a fault. We will introduce complexity in the form of either not seeing it as a fault or not being aware later in their training.

Once awareness of the problem is raised, then they need to learn how to structure conversations to enable learners to develop plans to fix the problem. Again, while in role you need to be very compliant at this point, we want to secure development through success, not by constantly having to fix faults.

We then need to help the PDI develop ways to engage learners in developing fixes for identified problems. In the past when Part Three was a role-play test, the examiners often made it difficult to spot/analyse/fix problems. In the real world and on the new test, learners who are engaged in the right relationship can have the right conversations to enable empowerment and self-development. Your job as Tutor/Coach is to empower your PDIs and have them learn how to self-develop, the onward journey will be more difficult for all involved if we lack this ability.

Once your PDI has a solid foundation and a good grasp of all concepts you can add some complexity to the training, but guard against falling into the entrapment and argument type of role play that was part of previous training regimes. Learner drivers in the real world are rarely obstructive and given the right circumstances will open up and learn extremely quickly by taking ownership of the process.

You may feel you have coachees that cannot be coached, if this is the case, the problem does not lie within them, it is more likely your lack of coaching skills at this point, in terms of relationship building and empowering conversation that is causing most of the problem. Ring and speak to me if you are having these issues and I will help you to develop the right tools.

It may be useful for you to develop some more involved role play, to help you to create scenarios that will help your PDI to develop further as part of their individual learning plan.

As before it is always important to ensure the PDI knows what is about to happen, what is expected of them and what they can expect of you. Always remember we are trying to get the learning out and not force the learning in. If you are playing a role, then you need to be confident and competent in that role and it must be believable by those observing it (the PDI, your trainer, your examiner for ORDIT) so it is important that you practice till you cannot get it wrong, which is of course, very different to practicing till you get it right!

I have found that I have not needed the more complex role play training scenarios to have PDIs develop, as they already have all the skills and knowledge they need, I only need to help them to formulate their own development plan.

However, you may from time to time find it useful to utilise different types of role to play, say for example your PDI does not have a learner for the session during onward training at Part Three. I have listed some basic roles below. The important thing to remember is that we are developing the PDI, and therefore it should not be the role play of old where it was often utilised to show the PDI how little they knew. Ask yourself (and perhaps your PDI) was the role play useful and could the outcomes we were seeking have been achieved a different and perhaps more user-friendly way?

it is important to break out of role wherever necessary to allow reflection and onward development. PDIs do not like Role play and often find it incredibly confusing. I prefer wherever possible to avoid it as it makes many PDIs struggle. We should never at any point allow PDIs to struggle, this would mean we have not really matched the needs of the learner ourselves, and we should always practice what we preach. The role play that was utilised in years gone by did not really focus sufficiently on the needs of the learner in my opinion. It is always important that we must be aware of our PDI, does their verbal or nonverbal communication indicate they are struggling in any way? I do not feel there is any benefit at all in “helping from within role”, it is just a complication. Therefore, I always advise breaking out of role and structuring a conversation to help the PDI reflect on what had just happened and develop onward plans. We must never allow then to struggle at all.

You must always drive in a manner which is consistent with the role you are playing, but you must also be safe. Your driving will be a bit lumpy and gear changes will not be smooth; the clutch might be a tad lumpy. You must be able to drive convincingly as a pupil at the stage you are saying you are. However, the number one rule about driving in role is to always keep it safe. You might make a fault that looks as though it could be dangerous if not for the fact that you had taken good observations beforehand to ensure that what you were about to do was safe. To give your coachee the illusion that you are not safe you must learn to take observations early without any obvious movement of your head – if you need to move your head to look try to do it as your coachee is looking away from you.

 Role playing a novice driver

Your gear changing will be lumpy, your inputs on the controls perhaps a bit clumsy etc. Your role play driving needs to be convincing. The mistakes will be because you have not yet developed the skills or knowledge to do it right.

Role playing a more experienced driver

Your driving will be much smoother, as you will have developed skills and knowledge, but some of what you have learned is not correct, therefore it is a simple fix, by convincing them there is a better way. (Not by telling them, but by having them experience it a different way)

Role playing a more advanced learner or a full licence holder

Your faults will be because you believe the way you are doing it is right and will perhaps take a little convincing about the concepts being introduced by the PDI.

The important thing here is to not allow yourself to get caught up in the game and start trying to conceal faults and trick the PDI (we all go through a phase of being tempted by this as novice trainers – this is the dark side of the force young padawan!)  You will have ample opportunity to help your PDI develop once you see them in action in the real world. It is unrealistic to expect them to finish initial training, and indeed onward training, and be anywhere near as proficient as you. They simply have not had the experiences to reflect on to allow this to be the case.

Your job is to prepare them well in the basics with a sound understanding of how to keep the car safe and how to deliver meaningful learning for their learners at the pointy end. They are not by any stretch the finished article yet, but they are ready for the real world.

Remember the need for role play to learn to facilitate learning is flawed. This is better achieved with a real learner with you observing and/or occasionally getting involved rather than you pretending to be a learner. Coaching conversations can equally be more effective in this regard. Role play only has a limited part to play relating to the development of the Guardian of Safety role and the associated competencies identified under the heading of risk management.

By the time they are to be let loose with real learners, you should have helped them learn how to learn and you can sit back and watch in wonder as they develop without much input from you.

Your onward training visits will iron out wrinkles and help them to ease into life as an ADI.

Just be careful with role-play that you guard against falling into the trap of playing the “let me see if I can trick you, or catch you out game”