Stanley Greenberg, team leader for computer-based training technologies at Pratt says, "Our near term goals with CBT are two-fold — provide training to as many students as possible, and supply a basic knowledge to our future classroom students so that instructors can focus on more complex and current maintenance training issues. We don't want to get bogged down in the classroom for six days discussing system descriptions and operations. When they arrive here, we would like them to have taken the appropriate CBT courses and be up to a certain level of engine knowledge. Then, from that point forward, we can work on more advanced training like troubleshooting and engine failure analysis."
Richard Wellman, Pratt customer training center manager says, "We don't see it as the final solution to all training. We see it as a component of training. We see it being used remedially where you have someone who doesn't know anything and you can get him or her to a certain point really quick and at their own pace."
In addition, CBT is a vital tool in reaching and making available maintenance training to people around the world. Wellman says, "CBT is one of those ways to get the information to more people than who come to our facility."
Although many training facilities don't offer CBT to their customers and other facilities offer it limitedly, they all recognize the importance of using computers as part of their training. Most facilities offer computer-aided instruction, in which students learn through computer animation with the aid of instructors.
"We use our animated systems software in the classroom to simulate the aircraft systems onscreen so they can see the systems operating, watch the schematics move," said Wissore. "The instructor can control the system on the screen. He just takes his mouse and clicks on the various controls and they can watch actuators move and fluids flow and electrical current flow on screen as it does on the aircraft. That systems knowledge transfers right into their simulator training."
Williams agrees, "When you get that animation in the schematic, it makes a whole lot of sense, especially when you don't have an airplane in the training center parking lot."
Many training facilities are embracing new technology and incorporating it into their current or future courses. Some have plans to bring training to the Internet, providing recurrent training on-line and others are venturing into using satellites, enabling their courses to be broadcast all over the world. Virtual reality also seems to be a promising possibility.
What does the future hold for training? With increasing technological advances, training seems to be getting more advanced and reaching more people. Despite the changes; however, one factor will probably always remain — technology needs a human touch.
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