Wednesday, May 7, 2008

theCDLtest.com

Originally Posted on Wed, May 07 2008 @ 6:47 PM [EST]

(I am in no way affiliated with www.thecdltest.com, www.idrivetrucks.com or www.cdlcollege.com. This is an independent review provided with the hopes that it will provide you with the information necessary to decide if the CDL courses at idrivetrucks.com will benefit you in your Class A CDL Permit test studies. This is my opinion and mine alone. This review has not been endorsed by any company or individual other than me.)

I had the opportunity to go through the Class A CDL complete course at http://www.idrivetrucks.com/. The courses have now been moved to http://www.thecdltest.com/ and are now free (they were charging $29.95 for 30 day access). The site has several different e-learning courses designed to give you the information that is needed to pass the Class A CDL permit test (including Endorsements) in all 50 states. They do offer Class B CDL and other courses, but in my opinion, if you are going for the Class B CDL, you should take the extra time and effort to get you Class A CDL which will allow you to drive a Class B vehicle. This way you are not limited in the future.

So, what is theCDLtest.com? Here is the answer to that question from their web site.


theCDLtest.com is an online e-learning platform for CDL College, a Commercial
Driving School located in Aurora, CO. theCDLtest.com utilizes the latest
E-Learning techniques to help you learn and retain the knowledge required to get
your CDL and Endorsements. Our courses are simple to use and are easy to
understand no matter what your learning style is. You will read it, see it, hear
it, and use it in our courses. Each course comes with interactive quizzes to
help you test and retain the knowledge you have gained. The days of reading the
CDL manual are over. We take the effort out of learning with the design of our
courses. You just sit back and follow along and you will have gained all the
knowledge required with little or no effort. Most students can take this course
and pass their tests on the first try.


The Class A, Class B, Class B with Passenger Complete courses have over six hours of learning material. You can view the courses as many times as you want for free. All you need to view the course is an Internet connection and the Adobe Flash Player which you can get here.

I provided Ray at theCDLtest.com a lot of feedback and I allowed him to see this review before I posted it. Below is his response:


…thanks for the review. We did end up taking a lot of the comments you talked
about and fixed them, as well as some other ones we found. We also moved all the
courses for the permit test and skills test over to our other site called
thecdltest.com and are now offering all the courses for free nationwide. We will
continue to improve the courses with updated pictures and video. All test
questions in all courses have now been corrected (some where missing words, some
had misspelled words, some had wrong answers). This should be a great benefit to
anyone trying to get their CDL. We also changed the colors of the courses to be
easier on the eyes. Thanks for all your input; it has helped us improve the
courses…

Go to the web site (http://www.thecdltest.com/), click on the course you wish to take. Click on the course lesson you would like to view. One thing I do not like is there is nothing to indicate what course lesson you’ve already completed or which lesson you started but haven’t finished yet. Of course it is pretty easy to make yourself a note of where you left off.

The course works similarly to a slide presentation with a narration. During different sections, a picture or video may be displayed in addition to the main “slide” and narration.


The course screen has a very simple layout and contains 4 main parts:

  • You have the ‘Main Window’ where most of the information is displayed.
  • The ‘Controls’ which let you pause and restart the presentation you are currently viewing. There is a slider bar that will let you move forward or backwards within the current section and there are forward and back buttons that allow you to move to the previous or next sections. You can also move to different sections within the lesson by clicking on the area you want to go to in the outline.
  • The ‘Outline’ lists the different sections within a lesson. You can click on a section listed in the outline to go to that section.
  • The ‘Picture/Video’ area only displays if a picture or video is being displayed for that particular section.

As you go through the sections, there are quizzes you can take to be sure you have obtained the knowledge of the previous lessons. In addition to the quizzes they have inside the course lessons, they also have a section on the web site with over 160 questions and answers broken down into several sections; General Knowledge, Air Brakes Endorsement, Combination Vehicles Endorsement, Driving Skills Test and Passenger Endorsement.

As I was going through the course, I made notes of any issues that I saw and provided them to Ray. Most of them were minor issues and only one or two of them actually affected the accuracy of the information they were providing. As you can see by Ray’s respond listed above, they took my feedback as well as the feedback of others and made updates and changes to the courses.

I did find the narration to be rather boring and it does appear that the narrator is just reading from a script. I also found that sometimes the main windows aren’t always synced up with the audio. Sometimes the bullet points in the main window will either appear several items before or after the audio. Sometimes the main window seems to change too quickly to the next window and can cause the final bullet point to only appear for a fraction of a second before it switches. Now this issue could be caused by connectivity issues but I feel pretty confident that it was not my computer or internet connection since I have a very high-end system and a fast 6 mbps internet connection. It could be caused by either the software they used to make the lesson or with the servers/connection speed of the site itself.

Some of the lesson segments have pictures or video to accompany the main window and narration. There is an issue where occasionally, the main window and narration will not start once the video loads. To fix this, all you have to do is restart the segment by clicking on it in the ‘Outline’. I believe they are aware of this glitch as information regarding it does appear in some of the later lessons. Hopefully they will provide this information at the beginning of each of the lessons that contain video.

I compared the content of the course with the Ohio CDL Handbook (which can be found here). The course appears to cover everything contained within the Ohio CDL Handbook and appears to do so accurately. Some states may have some slight differences from what Ohio requires but most states pretty much require the same information for their permit test. Any major differences will come after the permit test during the skills test such as during the pre-trip inspection. The course is really only able to provide you with the information for the permit test and provide you with some basic information regarding the skills test. Most of the requirements to pass the skills test will be learned during training at a truck driving school (either a private school or a company operated school).

I would like to see some more video and maybe some animations added to the course particularly when they are covering the pre-trip inspection. I would also like to see them expand the HazMat endorsement section some. It does pretty much cover what the Ohio CDL Handbook does but then again, I feel they should expand their coverage of the topic as well. I know that additional training is require before actually driving a placard vehicle transporting hazardous material but I still feel that this information should be expanded. According to Ray’s response listed above, they plan to continue to improved and expand the courses.

So, do I feel that you can take the course and pass the CDL permit test? Well, that does depend on you personally. They’ve tried to include different elements (pictures, text, video and narration) into the training to cover the different ways that people learn. I do feel that it is possible to take the course and pass the permit test without studying anything else, even though I would not personally try it. Then again, I’m the type of person that will study and study in an attempt to not only pass a test but ace it. I recommend taking the course but also read your state’s CDL handbook.


Comments

Sounds like it is a good site to at least get a good idea of what to expect on the tests. Hope it has helped you out. It's much better than getting second hand info that may be way off track.
Comment By: Roadhzrd on Wed, May 07 2008 @ 7:54 PM [EST]

I'm sure you'll ace it, there are a lot of dummy's that get a CDL..You write pretty intelligent so it'd be a breeze for you..VM-out!
Comment By: VM on Thu, May 08 2008 @ 5:48 AM [EST]

By the way when are you gonna take the plunge and JOIN US?..(Thinking of the Star Wars movie with Darth Vader) Come to the dark side and be a trucker?..VM-out!
Comment By: VM on Thu, May 08 2008 @ 5:50 AM [EST]

You may recall from one of my early post is that one of the reasons for me delaying is that my wife is going to be a gestational surrogate for a couple that can not carry a child themselves. That has been postponed several times. As of right now, looks like they will be doing the transfer at the end of this month which puts me at making the plunge in the summer of 2009. Hopefully the freight/economy will be better by then as well.
Comment By: Truckin Tedybehr on Thu, May 08 2008 @ 9:44 AM [EST]

Speaking of joining the dark side, I saw a funny t-shirt the other day. It said, "Come to the dark side....we have cookies."
Comment By: Truckin Tedybehr on Thu, May 08 2008 @ 9:45 AM [EST]

I feel pretty confident as far as taking the permit test. I've done a lot of studying and so far when I take any practice test, I'm in the mid to upper 90%s on all the test and endorsements.
Comment By: Truckin Tedybehr on Thu, May 08 2008 @ 9:46 AM [EST]


I'm sure you'll do fine..Me thinks your getting to worked up over nothing..You'll pass first time out I'm sure..I did and I have ADHD...VM-out!
Comment By: VM on Sat, May 10 2008 @ 6:22 AM [EST]

VM you have something but I'm not so sure there is a name for it though!!
Comment By: Roadhzrd on Sun, May 11 2008 @ 4:53 AM [EST]

I know I march to my own drummer..Usually I am in VM land up inside my head..So correctomundo Rdhzrd..Vm-out!
Comment By: VM on Sun, May 11 2008 @ 5:25 AM [EST]

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