|Chapter 2. The Learning Process
Discussion of First Flight and Check Ride
Between Beverly’s first day of training and the day before her practical test, she has undergone some remarkable changes:
This scenario illustrates the goal of an aviation instructor: to teach each student in such a way that he or she will become a competent pilot or aviation maintenance technician (AMT). In order to take a pilot or AMT from memorized facts to higher levels of knowledge and skill that include the ability to exercise judgment and solve problems, an instructor needs to know how people learn. Designed as a basic guide in applied educational psychology, this chapter addresses how people learn.
What Is Learning?
Learning can be defined in many ways:
The effective instructor understands the subject being taught, the student, the learning process, and the interrelationships that exist. An effective instructor also realizes learning is a complex procedure and assists each student in reaching the learning outcomes while helping the student build self-esteem and confidence. [Figure 2-1]
The Framework for Learning
Research into how people learn gained momentum with the Swiss scientist and psychologist Jean Piaget, who studied the intellectual development of children in the early twentieth century. [Figure 2-2] His studies influenced others to research not only how people learn, but also the best ways to teach them, leading eventually to the establishment of the field of educational psychology.
Learning theory is a body of principles advocated by psychologists and educators to explain how people acquire skills, knowledge, and attitudes. Various branches of learning theory are used in formal training programs to improve and accelerate the learning process. Key concepts such as desired learning outcomes, objectives of the training, and depth of training also apply. When properly integrated, learning principles can be useful to aviation instructors and developers of instructional programs for both pilots and AMTs.
Many psychologists and educators have attempted to explain how people learn. While variations abound, modern learning theories grew out of two concepts of how people learn: behaviorism and cognitive theory.
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