There is little consensus, based on research, showing exactly how flight simulation should be employed. I know, I started researching flight simulation in the mid-1990’s. This is definitely an area that requires more research by those who purport to be experts in human learning. Just checking-the-box continues to be all too prevalent in training systems.
As more of our work systems become automated, human oversight often decreases. Luckily it was human oversight that prevented accidents with Alaska Airlines recently — watch the machines. Today, most commercial aircraft fly most of the time on autopilot. What does this do to pilot concentration and skill degradation? Perhaps pilots should spend even more time in simulators practicing for those 2% of situations that require high expertise. Or perhaps what they really need is more experience.
“The way pilots develop the critically important judgment they must have is through effective experience in the real world of operational flying, with its challenges and ambiguities, not in the handholding of the sterile training environment, and not just in simulated flight.
Airline industry lobbyists are trying to cheapen and quicken pilot training and experience requirements for their own financial benefit and expedience.
We must push back on these efforts, and continue to arm pilots with the knowledge, skill, experience and judgment necessary to handle whatever challenges they will face. High levels of pilot training and experience literally make the difference between success and failure, life and death. And in safety-critical domains like aviation, everyone involved must have a deep understanding that just good enough isn’t.” —Captain Sully Sullenberger on LinkedIn
Training advisors today need a comprehensive view of the work performance systems they are supporting. Simulator training is only part of the issue. For example, classroom training that promotes rote learning results in rote pilots. Changes in aircraft design need an understanding of all the resulting effects and perhaps changes in the regulations for simulation time, checklists, or procedures. As they say, it’s the system stupid.
Automation, in all fields, forces learning and development out of the comfort zone of course development and into the most complex aspects of human learning and performance. To understand learning at work, first L&D must understand work systems.