01.08.2020 08:30

Pandemic accelerates digital learning


Digitalization is changing our everyday life faster and faster. For Deutsche Bahn (DB AG), it has become a decisive key to the implementation of the Group strategy "Strong Rail". The "Digital Rail Germany" program aims to turn mobility into an intelligent overall system. The current Covid-19 pandemic has once again significantly accelerated the pace of digital change.

Like almost all industries, the railway sector has been massively affected by the effects of the pandemic. Many railway companies worldwide are forced to reduce operations. Low passenger numbers and restrictions in freight traffic lead to considerable losses while at the same time placing high demands on personnel, due to necessary hygiene rules and operating concepts that are dynamically adapted to the respective situation.

Despite the contact restrictions, training of employees must be ensured in order not to disturb the smooth operation and to guarantee that all training necessary for maintaining qualifications is held. In addition, many railways have recognized the opportunity to use the time of shut-down operations, home office or even short-time working for targeted further training in order to emerge from the crisis stronger.

For DB Rail Academy, the international provider of training and further education at DB Engineering & Consulting, the rapid change towards digital knowledge and skills acquisition also posed a major challenge. In order to meet the needs of DB AG's international customers for input regarding current developments and innovations relating to railway operations and digitalization, DB Rail Academy offered short, free online training courses. The rush for the free Learning Nuggets exceeded all expectations. After only a short time, the number of registrations rose rapidly, so that a total of over 1,200 participants from all over the world registered for the Learning Nuggets. Participants from more than 50 countries from all regions of the world thus had the opportunity to obtain information, take part in discussion rounds, ask questions to the experts and engage in interactive exchanges. The high level of interest shown by international railway companies, authorities and customers as well as the simplicity of communication ultimately led to the decision to retain the format of the Learning Nuggets even after the pandemic.

The digital outlook

The current time of the pandemic poses great challenges for the railway world, which will continue to have an effect for a long time to come. If you are looking for positive aspects of this time, then it might be the new options offered by the rapidly advancing digitalization - in infrastructure, in operations or in education and training. DB AG is committed to consistent digitization of the entire system and has been investing heavily in this area for several years. From the 4th quarter onwards, a new training portfolio relating to the digitalization of the railway will be an offer. Railway operators, especially those outside Europe, are to benefit from this valuable experience.

It remains to be seen how the working world will change after the pandemic. But it is already clear today that it will change. The digital division of work is already in force. It is now important to shape the framework conditions and not to wait and see how they develop. Digital skills are being promoted digitally. Knowledge will be available from everywhere and will be shared in a networked railway world.



Heiko Scholz, Global Director DB Rail Academy
DB Rail Academy