Creating Effective Training for Today's Maintenance Environment

Feb. 1, 2001

Creating Effective Training For Today’s Maintenance Environment

By Lonnie Williams February 2001 If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant, or the scared. It’s really an excuse for inaction and a mindset that assumes (or hopes) that today’s realities will continue in a tidy, linear, and predictable fashion. Within such an environment you won’t find pro-active people solving training problems as they emerge. Why should maintenance training evolve with the times, you ask? Well, just look at the dynamics of our industry. We’re not only asked to maintain an ever-expanding fleet of aircraft, stay current with rapidly changing technology, and address the special needs of aging aircraft; we’re forced to do it with far fewer people. Sadly, the number of individuals looking at aircraft maintenance as a career these days is considerably down from the past. So how do we fix it? We can start by properly training the ones who stick with it day in and day out by providing them with up-to-date, current and applicable information, using available training technologies that reduce training times and maximize learning. To achieve this, training must be continually re-aligned and re-weighted to ensure that technicians reach their individual potential and critical decision-making skills while balancing the needs of the maintenance function. Obviously, the old conventional way of training using the Nurnberg Funnel (that mythical notion of making people wise by literally pouring knowledge into their heads), doesn’t work anymore. The traditional systems approach, i.e., self-study method ("read the manual") has proved ineffective and is probably a waste of time and money. Students get bored reading detailed descriptions. They prefer to explore, try things out, and apply reason to understand how a system works. Today’s maintenance training development and delivery requires skill, leadership and vision, which in turn fosters training solutions and effective training.

Creating Effective Training
The best training organizations recognize the need to keep their programs targeted to the demands of the industry and the needs of technicians. By continually implementing new methods, these organizations can create more effective training by:
• Getting participants started quickly, with real tasks
• Minimizing reading — lengthy text is ignored anyway
• Maximizing learning by focusing solely on tasks that are relevant to the users’ world
• Preparing users for error conditions
• Developing a training process in which users are observed interacting with the training to see if it will work or needs to be re-weighted