Chapter 4. The Teaching Process

Decision-Based Objectives

Decision-based objectives are designed specifically to develop pilot judgment and ADM skills. Improper pilot decisions cause a significant percentage of all accidents, and the majority of fatal accidents in light single- and twin-engine aircraft. Often combined with traditional task and maneuver training within a given scenario, decision-based objectives facilitate a higher level of learning and application. By using dynamic and meaningful scenarios, the instructor teaches the student how to gather information and make informed, safe, and timely decisions.

Decision-based training is not a new concept. Experienced CFIs have been using scenarios that require dynamic problem solving to teach cross-country operations, emergency procedures, and other flight skills for years.

Decision-based learning objectives and the use of flight training scenarios do not preclude traditional maneuver-based training. Rather, flight maneuvers are integrated into the flight training scenarios and conducted as they would occur in the real world. Those maneuvers requiring repetition may still be taught during concentrated settings. However, once they are learned, they are integrated into more realistic and dynamic flight situations.

Decision-based objectives are also important for the aviation instructor planning AMT training. An AMT uses ADM and risk management skills not only on the job site but also in the repair and maintenance of aircraft.

Other Uses of Training Objectives

Performance-based and decision-based objectives are also helpful for an instructor designing a lesson plan. Having decided on the objectives, an instructor can use this information to complete many of the steps on the lesson plan. For example, once the instructor decides how the student will accomplish the objective, most of the work that determines the elements of the lesson and the schedule of events has been done. The equipment necessary and the instructor and student actions anticipated during the lesson have also been specified. By listing the criteria for the training objectives, the instructor has already established the completion standards normally included as part of the lesson plan.

Use of training objectives also provides the student with a better understanding of the big picture, as well as knowledge of what is expected. This overview can alleviate a significant source of uncertainty and frustration on the part of the student.

As indicated in chapter 1, training objectives apply to all three domains of learning—cognitive (knowledge), affective (attitudes, beliefs, values), and psychomotor (physical skills). In addition, since each domain includes several educational or skill levels, training objectives may easily be adapted to a specific performance level of knowledge or skill. Clearly defined training objectives that the student understands are essential to the teaching process regardless of the teaching technique used.

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