Douglas Larson, EdD

Educational Strategist, Boeing Global Services

Douglas Larson is an educational strategist for Boeing Global Services. Larson advises on initiatives including pilot and technician training, especially ab intio efforts and the effective use of new technologies in aviation education. Previously, Larson worked for Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen, with roles in business development, sale, and training product design and development. He wrote Boeing’s winning proposal to support Emirates Airline’s new flight training academy with an integrated learning curriculum and digital infrastructure to support all learning and operational activities. 

Before Jeppesen, Larson worked for Cirrus Aircraft as the manager of technical training for its global service network and internal consultant for pilot training projects. He has a commercial pilot license and an aircraft maintenance technician certificate with airframe and powerplant privileges. He previously held Inspection Authorization from the FAA.

Larson earned a doctorate in education from the University of Colorado with research on the assessment of professional competence during ab initio flight training. His master’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota included a global survey on the experience and education of aviation maintenance instructors.

Competency-Based Training

The forecast for significant numbers of new professionals for the aviation industry challenges the capacity constraints of current aviation training organizations. To meet this forecast labor demand, existing training organizations can expand capacity through growth and/or efficiency gains. It is likely that new training organizations will also be required to meet the forecast demand.

The benefits of competency-based education, evidenced based training, and “big data” analytics have something in common. To fully realize the promise of efforts in these concepts, the quality of data is critical. “Big data” requires “good data” (micro and macro). The data needed to make purposeful improvements requires an understanding of “What do I want to know about my current program and operation?” and “What am I willing to change about my current program?” The second question should have short-, mid-, and long-term answers.

The data management at the majority of training organizations is not optimized to collect meaningful, actionable data for program improvements. This can result in a persistence of practice in a program that is not optimized for safety, efficiency, and/or effectiveness. This is true on the micro-level of a single Aviation Training Organization, as well as on the macro-level of training for the industry. Macro-level opportunities for improvement can be informed horizontally by sharing best practices among like Aviation Training Organizations. Similarly, macro-level opportunities exist in information shared along the vertical relationships with advanced Aviation Training Organizations and Operators. Consistent data collection and reporting practices provide industry with evidence to improve safety, training efficiency, and training effectiveness. Valid data is critical to support any regulatory changes necessary to improve the process of training aviation professionals. 

This presentation discusses several concept for Aviation Training Organizations to consider in assessing their own efforts for collecting and using their data on student learning and support operations.