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Value of Outsourcing Pilot Training

Posted on: June 18th, 2020

Online Pilot Training – More Efficient and Valuable

We know that the airline industry is facing some hard financial decisions, especially in light of COVID-19. Among the areas airlines and ATOs (airline training organizations) have to look at from a financial standpoint are type rating and recurrent training. Fortunately, online pilot training can help reduce costs while maintaining the same level of effectiveness as traditional face-to-face training.

Traditional Type Rating Programs

A lot of airlines use traditional face-to-face learning for systems training. This training often involves flying pilots to a specific location, putting them up in a hotel, as well as paying additional salaries to instructors to lead the classes. At the same time, pilots are removed from active line duty while undergoing this training. All this takes place over four weeks, which can add up and be expensive for airlines to maintain.

Value of Online Pilot Training

The internet has changed things, especially when it comes to remote and distance learning. Colleges and universities have been at the forefront of providing online education for more than two decades with incredible results.

Airlines and ATOs are just now catching up in regards to online pilot training. Those that have adopted such learning have experienced substantial operational cost savings in tangible ways such as instructors, hotels, flights, meals, car rentals, and more. But, there are also additional savings when it comes to content development.

All training, whether online or traditional, relies on content. Typically, the airlines hire someone to create the training content to meet their needs. This development often involves multiple layers of organizational commitment that includes subject matter expert evaluation and regulatory compliance – all increasing the cost to create the training.

When shifting to an online pilot training provider, a lot of the content is already created and vetted through subject matter experts and regulatory inspectors. In addition, such content providers bring to the table experienced teams of online training developers, as well as development and delivery systems that have been tried and tested. As a result, organizations are not starting training development from a blank sheet of paper and incurring those development costs. Online content providers can quickly and efficiently create new courses for airlines and ATOs, as well as customize existing online courses to meet specific needs and organizational requirements.

Online Training Results

There are more than two decades of research about how people learn online. One of the most recent studies comes from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tsinghau University, entitled Learning in an Introductory Physics MOOC: All Cohorts Learn Equally, Including an On-Campus Class. This study shows that online courses and training are as effective as traditional, face-to-face training. In fact, in many cases, the test subjects showed that they learned more than those in regular class settings.

Going back almost 20 years, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University published Distance Learning on the Internet: A Situational Analysis. In that study, they concluded that distance learning “is significantly better than the traditional FTF [face-to-face] classroom environment in meeting the current and future educational needs of a majority of the aviation education student population.” The report cited many important online learning factors, including access, student empowerment, cost-effectiveness, and automation.

Social Distancing Adaptation with Online Aviation Training

There are a lot of unknowns currently with COVID-19 that all training organizations are having to adapt to. But, the fact remains that social distancing will be the norm until there is a vaccine or herd immunity is achieved—unfortunately, none of those are expected in the current year. As a result, for many pilots, the idea of sitting in a classroom close to others, staying in a hotel, etc. is not feasible and exposes pilots to undue risk. On the other hand, online pilot training helps keep everyone safe while still maintaining regulatory training compliance.

To realize cost-savings while delivering required training, it makes practical sense for airlines to continue to outsource their training. Today, the best way to achieve that is by providing online pilot training. If you have any questions about online training or would like to request a demo of any of our aircraft systems or general subject courses, contact us.

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