Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems

Department

Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Albert Boquet, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Elizabeth L. Blickensderfer, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Nickolas Macchiarella, Ph.D.

Abstract

Data from aircraft accidents and line observation studies indicate that inadequate pilot monitoring is a growing safety concern. In the cockpit environment, pilots who fail to properly manage their workload commit more monitoring errors. Given the lack of training and educational programs available to pilots which emphasize improving their monitoring skills, more research is needed to assess the usefulness of types of training that can be used to improve pilots' monitoring. This research project sets out to determine if the potential exists to enhance pilots' monitoring skills through online training. For this study, 40 military helicopter pilots (participants) were divided into two training groups: (1) an online training group, which completed a 20-minute web-based training module, and (2) a control group, which read a 20-minute article on aviation safety. Within each group, the pilots were paired and completed two training events in a flight simulator as part of their normal duties. The effects of the training were evaluated using Kirkpatrick's multi-level framework: reactions, learning, behaviors, and results. First, all pilots receiving training were surveyed to capture the trainees' perceptions of satisfaction and utility of the training. Second, all pilots were given a multiple-choice test to assess the effect the training had on learners' knowledge of the training objectives. Next, the researchers observed, via video recording, both groups' behaviors during flight simulator events. The researchers recorded occurrences of four behavior markers as the crews flew multiple instrument approaches. The researchers used two of these markers to study transfer of training and two markers to examine positive vs. negative outcomes at critical tasks during the simulated flights. The results show positive changes in the reactions, learning, and behavior dimensions, lending support to the effectiveness of relatively inexpensive online training to teach monitoring skills.

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