Making aviation learning more affordable through digital technologies

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The aviation industry is set to witness revolutionary and spanning transformations not only in critical operational areas but also in the learning and professional development (L&D) discourse. With innovations such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and Big Data these developments have presented a “billion-dollar game changer” in aviation training. Unlike conventional classroom-based training, these technologies have created new possibilities for contextual learning by providing learners with immersive experiences. This has reduced the dependence on abstraction and theoretical training, which are subject to cost constraints and cognitive barriers.

Anca Gosling, the training expert at Aeroclass is spearheading initiatives by the company to reimagine the concept of aviation training. In her view, Aeroclass is pioneering the future of aviation training through digitization.

“Future generations will grow up immersed in technologies. Hence, the application of digital technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, gamification etc. in aviation training become a natural way for people to learn and engage with content. Aeroclass’s vision is not only to educate aviation professionals but more importantly to attract the new generation into the industry,” Anca Gosling says. These developments will facilitate adaptive training while simultaneously making a difference by creating unequalled, affordable, accessible, and engaging training programs for aviation professionals.

From late 2019 until now, aviation training has plummeted owing to the decline in aviation jobs, discouraging many people from pursuing recurrent courses without a promise of a return to work or securing new jobs. According to a report by Oxford Economics, over 2.3 million jobs have been lost across airlines, airports, and civil aerospace organizations since 2019. However, with people around the world eager to travel again in the post-pandemic period, airlines are aggressively hiring new staff. Given the shortcomings with the conventional instructional methods, aviation trainers should capitalize on digital technologies as a means to wholly or partly reimagine training and address the cost constraints and other problems associated with existing static programs.      

As far as the aviation market is concerned, digital technologies such as AR and VR will grow to reach a market value of 4.6 billion dollars by 2030. In a similar trend, market survey evidence indicates that artificial intelligence (AI) will report a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46.4% by 2023 in the aviation industry. Considering such impressive growth, leading aviation trainers like will enjoy considerable access to convenient, superior, and cost-effective options to deliver their training courses for cabin crew and upcoming pilots. Undoubtedly, these technologies are setting the pace for unprecedented training and maintenance practices by streamlining learning activities and reducing costs.

Providing the mandatory recurrent training cycles for most of the aviation employees translates to escalating costs, a significant impediment for many individuals who intend to pursue such training courses. Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics indicate that in June 2022, commercial aviation employment rates went down by 0.6% in the US due to labor shortage issues compared to the pre-pandemic figures. If this trend replicates in other airlines, the only solution for airlines is to train more personnel. Addressing the labor shortage problem will come at a significant cost on individuals pursuing various courses. However, digital technologies such as Big Data have provided an option where Aeroclass can identify training needs, use data-driven approaches to design curricula, and provide training on an individual basis.

Aviation trainers can move from the static e-learning models to providing adaptive and customized content for different individuals based on their needs, intelligence, and abilities. Markedly, a shift towards adaptive e-learning can offer significant payoffs by reducing the costs and time taken while delivering training without customization.

With the exponential development in digital technologies, innovation has become a core aspect in all aviation fields, including the design and delivery of training courses. For example, Learning Management System (LMS) has provided a viable alternative for aviation trainers to design courses and deliver programs that address the customized needs of all learners. With the growing calls to standardize aviation training, digitization presents an option to deliver people-centric, operational, relevant, and cost-effective learning courses to serve the knowledge needs of an ever-evolving industry.

In the new world of digital technologies, innovation is constantly reshaping and addressing challenges that have persisted in the aviation industry. One such problem concerns offering affordable, accessible, personalized, and engaging training programs to foster professional development. However, digital technologies such as AI, VR, AR, and Big Data analytics have gained immense significance, given their potential to transform aviation training and make future training programmes more accessible and affordable.            

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