You've been using MyDriveTime for a while now, you've just about got to grips with it and it's doing what you need: Diary - check, Students - check, Lessons - check, Money - check. That's it, isn't it? I don't think I need anything else.
Many years ago I attended a wedding at a 2 Michelin star establishment. I'd been to a lot of restaurants and a fair few weddings so I'd experienced all that they had to offer, hadn't I? I'd heard of Michelin stars but at the end of the day it was just food, wasn't it? Well, yes and no. It looked like food, it smelled like food and, yes, it tasted like food. But it was so much more than food. It dazzled the eyes, it tickled the nose but it positively punched you in the mouth! It was amazing! Ingredients that I'd eaten before but exquisitely prepared, cooked to perfection and served in a way that I wouldn't necessarily expect.
In MyDriveTime we've taken the ingredients that you expect, prepared them well, cooked them perfectly and served them up to you in a different way. Same old ingredients but a totally new experience. However, so far, you've only had the basic menu, the table d’hôte; welcome to the à la carte!
This blog is all about the less obvious, but no less important, aspects of MyDriveTime that you may have missed or skipped over thinking that you'll come back to it later when you've got time. In the best traditions of Woolworth's Pick 'n' Mix, you can dip in here whenever you want, find something you haven't used before, go and try it out… and then come back for more.
Even if you consider yourself a MyDriveTime guru, an aficionado or a long-term advocate, you may well find things in here that you didn't know were there. And, of course, we will add to this list new, exciting features as they become available.
The Dashboard - Helping you run your business
Don't have a secretary? No problem because MyDriveTime comes with its own Personal Assistant. It won't book a holiday for you or buy a present for your partner but it will look after your diary for you and make sure you know where you need to be, when you need to be there and even tell you how long it will take and show you the way! (And you don't have to pay them either!)
The PA will show you each event in your day, in turn, by sliding to the left or right, with the ability to click on the map, presenting you with the opportunity to plan the lesson in advance.
I love a To-Do list - particularly if I have a lot to do. It gives me 2 things, a sense of order and a sense of satisfaction when I complete them.
MyDriveTime provides you with a colour coded To-Do list in the form of a business healthcheck. It tells you about unconfirmed and incomplete lessons, students in arrears and those with low credit and warns you about any problems with lesson reminders.
Standards Check Indicators (SCI) Monitor
Do you know how you are performing against the DVSA's standards check criteria? These days it is important to know in which areas you are performing well and where you need to improve.
MyDriveTime's innovative Standards Check Indicator (SCI) Monitor gives you that information in a clear, unambiguous form, based on the test results that you record, and lets you know exactly what the state of play is.
Diary - Helping you plan your time effectively
Do you ever want to make something you've written stand out? That's when you break out the highlighter pens! However, what if you need to highlight one item in 2 colours?
In MyDriveTime you can colour-code your diary your way with diary lenses. Colour each lesson type differently and then use the lenses feature to see your diary coloured either by admin status or lesson type, with the ability to swap between the two.
Planning your diary well in advance is not a nicety these days, it is a necessity.
Our enhanced recurrence feature allows you to schedule lessons or periods of unavailability days, months or years in advance. It warns of clashes in the schedule allowing you to be proactive in making the most of your diary.
Once scheduled, you can change recurrent lessons as a sequence or one at a time.
Ever tried to be in two places at the same time? Of course not - it's not possible! Unfortunately, sometimes my brain manages to book me in two places at the same time because I'm human and I make mistakes. This usually results in much embarrassment and a big apology to the student I have to let down.
MyDriveTime will highlight to you, on the diary, when you have double booked yourself even way into the future. It will highlight that to you and allow you to go directly to the clash in the diary so you can resolve it before it becomes an embarrassment.
Unlike many businesses we require payment before the lesson is given and therefore it is really important to be able to see, at a glance, whether sufficient time is credited to the student to cover the current and any subsequent lessons.
MyDriveTime shows a payment status on each lesson in the diary and on various other screens, giving a clear indication on the payment status of the lesson, whether fully or partially paid or needing payment in full.
The lesson booking preview is an easy way to see the details in a lesson at the same time as seeing the diary.
As well as showing additional information, it also makes it simple to edit it, add payments, mark it as provisional or cancel the lesson all via the context menu and all while the diary is in view.
You can also message or call the student if necessary, e.g. to contact the student because you have been delayed.
If you need more information you can expand the screen by sliding the panel upwards.
Students - Looking after your customers
So we have money coming in - hooray, I can afford to eat - and we have lessons being done - damn, more dodging potholes! But, hang on, which payment goes with which lesson?
MyDriveTime looks after this for you. When you record a payment in the system, you specify, at the same time, how much time that payment covers. For me, all my lessons are 1 hour and 30 minutes in length so when I receive a payment of £50, I simply assign 1 hour 30 minutes (1:30) as the time to credit against that payment. On test days, I charge for 2 hours at £80 so I simply enter 2 hours (2:00) for the time to credit.
I don't even need to worry about the agreed rate between me and my student, not least because they'll tell me if I try to overcharge them! MyDriveTime doesn't care - I simply allocate the amount of time I want to against the payment received. If I want to give an hour's lesson away for nothing (even writing it, scares me) I put in a payment for £0.00 with a time to credit of 1 hour. Simple!
Terms & Conditions
We get bombarded with all sorts of things to agree to and, if you are anything like me, you won't really be able to remember what you've agreed to and what you haven't.
Terms & Conditions are the way to get your pupils to commit to abiding by simple rules for their driving lessons, including levels of expected behaviour and your cancellation policy. But they are no good if your pupils don't read them, sign them and if you can't show that they did.
In MyDriveTime you can issue terms documents to your pupils and/or their parents. They can signify their agreement by signing, using their finger on the screen if required, once they have read them and that record is then available permanently to you, whenever you require it.
Do you remember when you learned to drive? I do, even though it was a long, long time ago. As with us, learning to drive is the start of a lifetime journey, one which your students are just embarking on.
MyDriveTime's Student App is provided for them as their constant companion, reminding, advising and teaching them on that journey. It's your way of influencing them even when you're not with them so inviting them is an essential thing to do. Encourage them to take control of their learning and use the student app to become better drivers.
The Student App uses a modern social media type feed detailing all their lessons, payments, reflections and tests. They can also see their upcoming lessons, monies paid and lesson themes and the app is also used for delivery of lesson notifications which they can reschedule to a time that suits them.
There are also links to a resource centre and details of their progress thus far.
What did we do last week? What are we doing this week? Have we done Emergency Stop yet? My students sometimes say things like 'You remember last week when we were driving along here?' Having a number of students and doing a considerable number of lessons, I can barely remember their name sometimes let alone what happened on their last lesson. I need a way of remembering.
MyDriveTime to the rescue! It can keep track of what you have done, what you need to do and what is on today's agenda, all through the use of a syllabus. Define exactly what you want to cover for each student and keep track of how they are doing on each item in the syllabus.
Through the progress tracker both you and they can see exactly how far they've come and how far they have to go.
Lessons - The backbone of MyDriveTime
Within MyDriveTime the lesson has a number of states: Booking, Planning, Journey and Outcome. Each of these states allow you as the instructor to do a variety of things and lead you through the lesson delivery process from the initial request to the end of the lesson and beyond. The facilities in each of these lesson states warrant their own section but should be considered as a complete process.
In the Booking state you can see the status of any lesson reminders and the payment status for this lesson. Provisional lessons have a striped border.
It also shows the map detailing what the pickup location is as well as the start date/time of the lesson.
Finally there is a status bar showing the number of lessons taken, the progress percentage thus far and the number of available hours credited to the student.
Planning State - Previous Lesson
When do you plan what you are going to do in a lesson? At the end of the previous lesson? At the start of the working day? As they are getting in the car?
With MyDriveTime you can plan at any time after the previous lesson. You can see what they did on the previous lesson, including where they went, your summary and their reflections on that lesson. You can also see, at a glance, their current progress percentage.
Planning State - Current Lesson
Once you have seen what they did on their previous lesson, you can plan the current lesson. You can add notes in preparation for it plus setting the lesson themes for this lesson and beyond plus seeing the payment status for this lesson.
The journey state tracks your journey as it takes place - if route tracking is turned on. At any time you can pause the route track to write notes, update the lesson themes or current progress.
The Outcome state is where you can specify what has happened on the lesson and set the agenda for the next lesson.
You can complete a summary describing not only what has happened but setting out some plans for the following lesson.
You can update the reflective log questions to better reflect the lesson you have just done and to be more relevant.
You can update the lesson themes and the progress to show what the student has accomplished today and what the emphasis is for the next lesson.
You can also check the upcoming lessons or add one if you so wish.
Occasionally we teach a skill, the student masters it in 10 minutes and we never have to revisit it. However, most of the time we teach it and it has to be practiced until they become proficient and can do it independently. This takes time and will usually occur over a number of weeks.
Lesson themes allow you to keep track of ongoing subjects but also allows you to temporarily drop subjects and come back to them later. You can make notes against each lesson theme to remind you, and the student, of anything particularly relevant for them. I probably write 'more observations' more than anything!
Ever get home and can't remember where you have been with a pupil that day? To be honest, sometimes I struggle to remember which way we've turned at the end of their road!
In MyDriveTime you have the option to track the journey and see on a map exactly where you have been.
During the lesson, in the journey state, you can pause the track and make notes about specific road features that they have struggled with.
When you get to the end of the lesson, the journey track will be saved for you to refer to later, reminding you where you have been and what you have done - and the student has it on their app as well so they can share it with their parents or friends.
As if lesson themes and journey tracking wasn't enough, MyDriveTime also provides you with the ability to write summary notes, visible to you and the student, about the lesson and any specifics you want to raise.
There are no rules about what to write or how to write it, it's your lesson notepad and includes any planning notes or route tracking notes you've made along the way.
Although you are updating the lesson summary for this specific lesson, you can review all the lesson summaries up to that point and search for specific terms, if required.
Just remember that your student can see all these notes on their app so don't be too honest 😉
Dynamic Reflective Logs
Ever wondered what your student thought about the lesson when you get to the end? How do they feel? What did they find easy, or difficult? What did they think of your instruction?
MyDriveTime Reflective Logs are the way to find out. We provide the default questions used by the DVSA but also provide the ability to add, change or enhance the questions you want to ask, dynamically, to better reflect the content of the lesson you have just delivered. Reflective Logs should be an opportunity for your students to improve their lessons not a chore to be endured afterwards.
Questions are available in a number of formats, including text, simple yes/no, scales and emojis.
You can ask as many or as few as you like and the student can fill out their log in their own time after the lesson when they've had time to recover 😊
You can add questions from your lesson bank, reorder the existing questions into a better sequence or remove questions that you do not want to ask or that you feel are irrelevant.
Test Fault Recording
With the advent of the DVSA's standards check criteria (Big Brother really is watching) recording the test faults accurately has become really important.
MyDriveTime provides the facility to record all the faults, driver, serious and dangerous, as well as whether the examiner took action.
These feed into the SCI Monitor and also the reports available showing the most commonly occurring faults giving you, as the instructor, information about the strongest and weakest aspects of your learners' performances overall.
Money - Keeping track of the bottom line
According to a recent survey most people do not actually know how much money is in their bank account! This may well be because we can access information so readily that we don't need to know.
However, as business owners, we need to be better informed and whilst it would be great to have all the knowledge of our business finances in our heads, generally that is unrealistic.
We use tools to provide that information for us and MyDriveTime has it right up front.
The Summary page shows income and expenditure for a range of periods, the number of prepaid hours, and income received over the last 12 months by month, giving you an up to the minute view of where your finances are at.
You can drill down into the details of payments made and filter/search according to your needs.
Income & Expense Report
How much money have I spent on fuel this year? Where can I save money? Have I spent more on my phone than last month?
Questions like these are questions that we need answers to and the Income and Expense Report gives us those answers and more. With the ability to specify date ranges to suit us and drill down into categories to identify anomalies, this is an essential tool.
Isn't it a nightmare having to sort through masses of receipts at the end of the financial year, particularly when the printing has become so faint you can hardly read it?
MyDriveTime has a ready made solution for you. When entering an expense, you can attach a digital copy of the receipt either by taking a photo there and then or attaching one already recorded on your phone.
You can view or print these subsequently if you need to.
Is your accountant hassling you for your annual income and expenses? Are you still recording your accounts in a spreadsheet or, even more antiquated, on paper?
MyDriveTime can do this all for you. You can export all your financial data via the context menu on the Income & Expense Report page.
Whatever date criteria you have set, you can export that information to a CSV file, allowing for easy import into a variety of software apps.
Making Tax Digital
What do you know about the HMRC's strategy 'Making Tax Digital'? If you are anything like me, probably nothing at all. However, I do know it is going to happen and when it does it's going to affect you and me - although if I'm lucky I'll have retired by then.
Fortunately, MyDriveTime are in the know and are already moving towards making sure that we fully support Making Tax Digital in good time so that when it becomes a legal requirement you will be able to fulfil your obligations with the minimum of effort on your part.
Syllabus Manager - Maximum flexibility in your teaching
Ever offered a sweet to a friend to be met with 'Oh, I only like the red ones' or 'I don't like the green ones'. Very annoying, isn't it? I mean, I like them all!
However, sometimes we do need to offer different things to different people and that's what the Syllabus Manager allows you to do.
You can create multiple syllabuses in there and give one syllabus to one student and a different one to another student and there may only be one or two differences between them. If that's what you need, then that's what you can do.
You might have one syllabus for manual transmission and one for automatic - that's good too. Check out the syllabus manager and see what it can do for you.
Oh fiddlesticks! (This blog is rated PG!) I've assigned the wrong syllabus to a student. Never mind, we have you covered.
In MyDriveTime, you can change the syllabus a student is assigned to and we'll even copy across their progress so far (subject to certain conditions). You can also reassign several students at the same time…
Configurable Lesson Reminders - Always in the know
Ever noticed that when a student misses a lesson, it's never their fault? "I didn't get the message", "The message didn't arrive until 5 minutes ago", "The dog ate my phone" - this is the modern day equivalent of "the dog ate my homework, Miss".
We've all heard the excuses and sometimes it's difficult to prove otherwise. Not any more!
MyDriveTime looks after you in that respect and not only looks after sending the notification but monitors for a response and tells you when it gets one.
Furthermore, if the in-app notification is not seen, it will send a back up text at a pre-determined time and again it will monitor for a delivery notification and let you know.
What is more embarrassing than sending a lesson notification to a student whose first lesson is a surprise for their birthday? Nothing, and it might damage your chances of any further lessons with them.
MyDriveTime handles this by giving you the ability to exclude students from receiving notifications at any time.
Instructor Notification Status
It's no good if a notification is sent if you don't know what has happened to that notification.
MyDriveTime keeps you up to date and warns you in advance if there is a possibility that the student hasn't received the notification.
…and the best thing of all, all Lesson Notifications are FREE!
Finally, we will be updating this list as and when new features are released so why not pop in from time to time to see if anything has changed and perhaps remind yourself of aspects of the app that you have forgotten.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, encounter any problems or would like a one-to-one walkthrough with a member of the team, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to help. Enjoy...
MyDriveTime is owned and operated by May Stanley Limited, a registered company in England in Wales,
whose registered address is Springfield House, Springfield Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 2RG.
MyDriveTime is a registered trademark. © 2015