For the last forty years, almost, I have been primarily involved in training.
Some time ago there was a search to find a book from which to teach jet engines; the search failed emphatically. Every book that we uncovered was too deep. Most of them were to a level that assumed that the reader was intent on designing a new engine as opposed to the Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME) who just wants to diagnose and repair.
Example: One book that was very large and thick had a page covered in italics; it turned out that this was an equation. After scanning it for a moment or two I realised that the equation could be reasonably simplified into one line, the need for constants and fluid densities did not really apply for practical purposes where only an illustration of the effect was required.
We were not training physicists or design engineers.
Ultimately I was advised that if a simpler book was require then I should write it myself.
This is what then happened.
I insisted that the book would be written in the way that I like to teach and thus it was filled with cartoons.
This has had an upside and a downside.
There were publishers who railed against the use of cartoons; they said that there was no room for humour in a textbook. The other downside was that some people have said that they enjoyed the cartoons but they had no idea what the text was all about because they never read it!
The upside is that many Licensed Engineers, as well as Pilots, Technicians and Mechanics, have thanked me for writing it because they now understood the subject better because it was written in a light-hearted manner and kept the subject down to a simple form in simple English.
Let me explain to you what we are striving for in writing a textbook and carrying out training of any sort. Clearly, it is unlikely that we should be successful in achieving all the requirements listed but we should endeavour, during all training, to be able to cover most of these things:
Under the revised ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy’ we are looking at the following -
The new terms are defined as:
Remembering: Retrieving, recognizing, and recalling relevant knowledge from long-term memory.
Understanding: Constructing meaning from oral, written, and graphic messages through interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining.
Applying: Carrying out or using a procedure through executing, or implementing.
Analyzing: Breaking material into constituent parts, determining how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose through differentiating, organizing, and attributing.
Evaluating: Making judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing.
Creating: Putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning, or producing.
(from Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001, pp. 67-68)
Note that I said this was the intention for ‘all training’. So it is.
At the end of the training session the onus is upon the trainee to implement all that they have been taught.
Something that is extremely disappointing is to teach a group of people the correct way to carry out a procedure—perhaps in accordance with the directive from an Aviation Authority or from ‘The Company’, and then see those same people, the very next day, continuing to use the wrong method because that is the Company ‘norm’, it is what they are accustomed to doing even if it is wrong or, even, hazardous.
This is something that occurs Worldwide. Often the trainer is battling against peer pressure, budgetary constraints, personnel deficiencies—in terms of numbers or aptitude, and people with static mindsets in positions that affect the workplace.
Peer pressure: “Don’t bother with that—this is how we always do it here.”
Budgetary constraints: “The Company cannot afford safety equipment—just do what you can with what we have.”
Personnel deficiencies: “We are short handed at the moment, you’ll just have to work an extra shift.”
Inflexible management: “Ignore the trainer—he’s an academic. Besides, he hasn’t been here long so he doesn’t know how we do things here.”
We trainers can only do so much. We can lead the trainee to knowledge but we cannot enforce implementation.
As you see, we trainers can write books that are simplified in order to help, we can put facts before the trainees, we can highlight hazards and give examples of where these things went very wrong for people but, finally, it is up to the trainees to put into practice what we have told them.