Combining Two Technologies to Improve Aviation Training Design

Marilyn Hughes Blackmon and Peter G. Polson

Combining two recent technologies can markedly improve the performance outcomes and cost-effectiveness of aviation training. The first is a well-tested design methodology for developing cognitive tutors (Anderson et al. 1995, Anderson and Schunn 2000) based on modern theories of skill acquisition. The second is the advent of high-fidelity PC-based part-task simulators on which pilots can “learn by doing” and “progress to real-world performance,” two essential guidelines for designing cognitive tutors. An experimental flightcrew automation training program (McLennan et al. submitted) produced results consistent with non-aviation training results using Anderson’s cognitive tutors, implying that pilots trained on cognitive tutors can attain the same or higher level of competence in approximately one-third the training time for traditionally trained pilots.

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