Instructor, Aviation, Pennsylvania College of Technology
After earning his BS in aviation maintenance with an emphasis in avionics, Matthew went to work in the rotorcraft industry maintaining various helicopter models used for tours, agricultural spraying, lifting, firefighting, and flight training. He earned his A&P certificate while studying at Pennsylvania College of Technology, a Part 147 school in Williamsport, PA. He earned his IA two years after graduation and his private pilot rotorcraft license shortly after that. With a desire to learn new things and stay challenged by troubleshooting electrical problems, he found himself working as an avionics installation technician as well as an active AMT for a decade before transitioning into the education side of the aviation field. He now works at Pennsylvania College of Technology as a Part 147 A&P instructor in their aviation maintenance 2-year and 4-year bachelor degree programs.
Performance Based Training Made Better by the Use of Active Learning Techniques
This presentation will cover the techniques used to promote active learning during training of new maintenance technicians in the United States (A&P). Topics will include the positives and negatives of purely performance based training, and how active learning techniques combined with traditional training can improve technician quality. Some of the following focus points will be covered: what the industry expects, how to achieve these levels of expectation, and what to consider when designing a training program.Basic expectations of technicians include knowledge, ability, integrity, intuition, experience, intrapersonal and interpersonal skills. When we think of a high quality technician, we think of a person who has all the basics plus being autonomous, self-responsible, collaborative, and luminous. The difficult part is finding the best way in which we can produce these technicians. Performance-based training sets the focus on the student’s ability and competency in reaching a high level of skill rather than focusing on the time it takes the student to develop these skills. Several training methods are used within every performance-based training system, such as visual, auditory, and tactile exposure to training content, but research suggests that there are a few techniques that can increase the overall quality of understanding for the students when executed correctly.One of these techniques is referred to as active learning, which is a technique wherein the student becomes actively engaged with the content of the lesson. They may be required to “think outside of the box” and infer things based on prior knowledge. Or perhaps they will be asked to “read between the lines” of an interaction witnessed in a human factors training video and explain what the indirect effects might be of the conversations and events that took place in the video. This creation of original content forces the student to engage the content in a way that is much more active that simply listening to a lecture and repeating answers during an information recall exam. It also prepares the student to be successful in industry as it will teach to “learn how to learn” after their training is complete. Spaced repetition is another technique that has been shown to increase knowledge retention within students. By combining these techniques, I believe we can increase not only the speed at which we train technicians, but also the quality of technician produced.