Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Training, Training, Training and Training

Training is a big chunk of aviation safety and a tool to ensure personnel are qualified to perform their duties. With ongoing training it could look like nobody is never fully trained. If someone is fully qualified and trained, then more training shouldn't be required. Training is therefore often looked at as being required for someone with lack of knowledge, qualifications and failure to perform. It couldn't be farther from the truth than that.

It's a misconception that training only has one function of learning, and that this function is to become qualified. Human culture associates training with learning, where learning begins in preschool, graduates to kindergarten, then elementary, and finally to high school. Each step is required as a level of learning to qualify for the next level. These are building blocks of learning moving from unknown to known. It's to instil knowledge in someone who didn't have that knowledge.

A training environment is the fruit of acquired knowledge, while learning is the bar of acceptance. 

Training has several other functions and cannot only be associated with learning, or lack of knowledge. Functions of training are associated with Human Performance, which again have multiple subsections. Some of these subsections are Human Behavior, Organizational Performance, Human Factors, Medical Performance, Aviation Performance, Optimal Operational Design, Interaction Modeling and more.

When applying the fact that training is associated with Human Performance, ongoing training becomes a tool to capture process deviations from performance parameters. Deviations from performance parameters are not lack of knowledge, but a process deviation to reach a common goal. Most standardized processes are arbitrarily chosen based on bias opinion of the person who established the process in the first place. This doesn't make the process wrong, bad, incorrect or dangerous, it's just the fact that someone established the process based on their experience and personal view of what to them made sense. From these processes, rules are derived to establish the lowest bar acceptable in aviation safety. As an example of a new rule is the Sterile Cockpit rule. This rule was implemented due to one notable accident which caused a crash just short of the runway conducting an instrument approach in dense fog. Training becomes a process to apply standardized procedures, capture deviations and excel in performance above the bar.   

The key to success is not in what was learned, but in the training of applied processes.
Training is not required due to lack of knowledge, but it is required to evaluate performance level against the bar, instil process control, correct process as applicable and assess Human Performance level at or above the bar. Training is to excel to levels that are above the trial and error method level.