April 22, 2021


This Blog looks at the Challenge of Training Adults in Aviation  –  In fact how we should deal with the specific needs of the Adult Audience.

Adults do not learn in the same way that children learn, they have to perceive a need to know!

The following looks at some of the specific challenges and we should understand that we do in fact have a range of challenges which we need to address.

a) Keeping the Training Interesting

If the material is presented in a way which is not interesting to the student, then the student will “disconnect” so our challenge is to keep it connected – how to do

i)   Involvement

ii)  Interaction

iii) Feedback and Discussion

Explore the material you are delivering so that you are very familiar with the specific and associated content

b) Participation

Some adults will naturally communicate – others will need to be coaxed and encouraged

Pay attention to your audience, so that you can recognize the different “types” of delegates and consider how we can involve the whole group

i)   Specific Involvement

ii)  Direct Questioning

iii) Group Participation

iv)  Individual exercise and value feedback

c) Senior Audience will not accept the Trainers Input

A common mistake made by trainers is to think that they MUST be able to independently convey the specific content in a specific way in particular to an older audience. Whilst this is part of the process it is not the only element of the Learning experience.

Equally important is the ability to work with the group to gather their opinion and to create a “group understanding” of the subject matter so that this becomes the platform on which to build.

i) Building a shared understanding

ii) Developing skills to act as a Facilitator

Once the audience sees you as a knowledgeable Facilitator rather than the “know all” trying to tell the older person how to behave, the whole story takes on a different look .

d) Clear Objective – Measure Effectiveness

As with all activities we must develop ways of confirming or “validating” what we are doing – in training this is called checking for understanding (CFU)

We should develop various ways of making sure we have effective “CFU”.

i) Ensure that all required material and supporting material is available

ii) Ensure that the training program and material is appropriate to the work area business area or specialty of the student as far as possible.

e) Different Mind Set leads to Misunderstanding

Develop a training technique which promotes a shared understanding as a starting point to develop further understanding and knowledge sharing and development.

i) Summarize the subject matter before commencing the formal training in a way which clearly defines the content and prepares the path.

ii) At the end of a module seek opinion comment and review as a group

f) Difficult to Introduce New Concepts

In general, there is a “reluctance to change” to counter this we have to present “New” information in a way which is Adult friendly – means to develop training processes where they “buy into” the new concept.

It is a longer process to Introduce “New” to adults and the methodology needs to be considered in the light of the subject material to deliver it in the most appropriate way.

g) Communication

The important point to understand with communication is that it is a too way process so as already mentioned above the confirmation that information has been received is associated with the processes for “Checking For Understanding”

h) Obligation to attend

Some training course which you will deliver will have an obligation for the delegates or students to attend, which immediately devalues the adult learning process. To counteract this “obligation” it is necessary to develop a strategy which “sells” the need for the training. (This should be considered in its own right and it is ideal to include this in initial summary see item “e” for details.)

i) Ice Breakers

Ice breakers are a way of  connecting the group to create a “shared experience” which can help to create a good atmosphere in which to deliver the training.

There are a range of different activities which can be considered including exercises connected to humour and the use of short video clips.

If you have more time the audience can introduce them self’s in a different way so that for example they can introduce their neighbour.

j) Experience and Knowledge

see item “c”  for additional comment, not withstanding this comment, It should be understood that for the most effective training there really is no substitute for a competent instructor.

Some spectacular failures have occurred when the instructor does not know sufficient about the subject to keep the audience “entertained”

k) Training Aids

Where ever possible to use training aids as this supports the training process in a way which can serve to re enforce the knowledge activity.

Training aids can be Video based and can also be physical product.

l) Exercise for Case Study

Case studies which are connected to the subject matter with a direct connection are extremely valuable, the challenge sometimes is to demonstrate the connection to the adult learner.

In General Case studies should explore the following

i) What Happened ? – what are the sequence of events which led to the happening

ii) Why Do you think it happened ? – cause and root cause analysis

iii) What should be done differently – how to develop alternative behaviours and strategies

m)  Level of Student

If you have a variability of  knowledge within the group it can be somewhat challenging and we need to deal with two issues.

i) To support the new learner and provide as much guidance as possible

ii) Not to bore the more mature student so if possible to involve the mature student with the learning activity so they are connected and the instructor is not trying to carry the entire room

n) Evaluation after Training

It is important to learn from the training and to obtain as much feed back as possible so that the training can be developed .

To this extent the more understanding the delegate has regarding the feed back process and the role of the contribution the better .

Sofema Aviation Services offers the following Training Courses  – Human Factors Train the Trainer,  Ramp Safety Train the Trainer, Train the Trainer Fuel Tank Safety and EWIS,  Safety Management Systems Train The Trainer, Aviation Quality Auditing Train The Trainer, Maintenance Error Decision Aid (MEDA) “Train the Trainer”.

If you would like further information regarding any of the above courses please see www.sassofia.com or email team@sassofia.com


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