Chapter 4. The Teaching Process


CDs and DVDs are today’s popular video instructional aids. Some educators believe that television and the film industry have produced a visual culture that has actually changed the way people learn.

Passive video, or video that the student watches like a movie, provide motion, color, sound, and in many cases, special effects with advanced graphic and animation techniques. High-quality, commercially produced CDs and DVDs are available for almost every aviation training subject. Consequently, CDs and DVDs have replaced many of the projection-type instructional aids.

For instructors, the convenience of CDs and DVDs is certainly an advantage. The capability to stop, freeze, and replay information is helpful for both instructors and students. CDs and DVDs and the associated equipment, although more expensive than some of the more basic instructional aid equipment, are fairly economical. Unlike other forms of projected material, CDs and DVDs can also be played on a laptop computer.

On the other hand, CDs and DVDs offer their own disadvantages. Students are often accustomed to dramatic, action-packed movies or games designed as entertainment. They also tend to watch movies or TV in a passive way without attempting to absorb what they are seeing and hearing. Instructional CDs and DVDs, in comparison, are perceived as much less exciting and less stimulating visually. This, coupled with an inattentive viewing style, can diminish the instructional value of the CD or DVD.

As is true for any instructional aid, instructors need to follow some basic guidelines when using CDs and DVDs. For example, the presentation is not designed to replace the instructor. Prior planning and rehearsal will help determine the important points and concepts that should be stressed, either during the presentation or as part of a summary. Instructors should also try to prepare students for viewing CD/DVD programs by telling them what to watch carefully, what is important or, possibly, what is incorrect. In addition, instructors should be available to summarize the presentation and answer any questions students may have regarding content.

Interactive CDs and DVDs

“Interactive” refers broadly to computer software that responds quickly to certain choices and commands by the user. A typical system consists of a CD or DVD and a computer. A major advantage of CDs and DVDs is the capability to store enormous amounts of information. As an example, a single CD or DVD may contain all pertinent aviation regulations, plus the complete AIM. With search-and-find features incorporated, a CD or DVD is a powerful information source. The software may include additional features such as image banks with full color photos and graphics, as well as questions or directions which are programmed to create interactivity for students as they progress through the course.

The questions or directions are programmed using a branching technique, which provides several possible courses of action for the user to choose in order to move from one sequence to another. For example, a program may indicate, “That was incorrect. Go back to … and try again.”

Interactive CDs and DVDs solve one of the main problems of passive video in that it increases involvement of the student in the learning process. Well-designed interactive video, when properly used, is highly effective as an instructional aid. Each student essentially receives a customized learning experience.

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