Answers to Questions for Graduate Capstone Examination

The changes in Aviation Maintenance Technologies (AMT) that have brought about by increasing computerization and growing demands to the students’ technical and scientific skills and proficiencies have led to the need for re-evaluating the currently dominant approaches towards the Part 147 (Aviation Maintenance Schools) training programs as defined by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). At the same time, the present economic crisis has stimulated a significant increase in application rates among adults wishing to take on AMT careers. However, given the traditional orientation of the Part 147 curriculum towards post-secondary students, this factor puts forward the problem of adopting their study programs to the needs of the new student categories.

This examination project will lay emphasis on the issues related to enhancing and expanding the technological proficiency rates of ‘traditional’ AMT students, as well as to the concerns of integrating older adult learners into the AMT learning system. In so doing, five major research questions shall be addressed, with appropriate use of relevant qualitative and quantitative analysis tools. All proper learning outcomes will be duly noted and outlined in this paper.

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Question #1

Statement of the Question

This research question shall examine the problem of kinesthetic learning strategies in applied technology education, with particular attention being paid to the AMT studies. The prolific advances in the aviation industry that have occurred over the past 60 years facilitated greater interest in applying cutting-edge educational techniques and learning styles to accommodate the need to combine theoretical and practical instruction. The transformation of aviation facilities caused by the micro-electronic revolution and its subsequent outcomes has brought about the necessity of transition from the outdated concept of an AMT employee as a menial worker charged with purely mechanical tasks and duties, to the notion of AMT as a complex field invariably connected with recent advances in the aeronautical and computer sciences at large.

Given the practical orientation of all major subfield of the modern aeronautical science, it is imperative to explore a connection between theoretical and practical learning in modern AMT scholarship, with the distinction being made between pedagogical (oriented towards younger, generally post-secondary learners) and andragogical (i.e. dealing with adult education) teaching strategies in applied technology education, including the AMT training. Given the particular importance of kinesthetic learning for this educational field, the teaching strategies analyzed will be selected from this range.

Research and Analysis of the Question

The importance of kinesthetic, or a body-kinesthetic, intelligence in attaining necessary learning outcomes in aviation studies has been underscored by Overchuk & Niemczyk (2009). In their opinion, kinesthetic knowledge may be operationally defined as expertise in using one’s whole body to express feelings, ideas, and to manipulate objects in goal-directed behaviors (Overchuk & Niemczyk, 2009, p.58).

With regard to aviation education, kinesthetic skills and relevant learning and teaching strategies should be centered on the development of the ability to “manipulate [one’s] aircraft as a precise instrument” (Overchuk & Niemczyk, 2009, p.58). While this description was used by the authors to refer to pilot training and assessment, one may claim that it is likewise applicable to the AMT personnel training, for the latter necessarily involves a capacity to manipulate respective aircraft systems with precision, as the case may be.

The General Curriculum Subjects Appendix to Part 147 clause of the Code of Federal Regulations (current as of November 21, 2012) provides that certified aviation maintenance technicians are to be able, among other things, to “use aircraft drawings, symbols, and system schematics; draw sketches of repairs and alterations; inspect and check welds; inspect, identify, remove, and treat aircraft corrosion and perform aircraft cleaning”, as well as to fulfill the other maintenance duties that involve precise measurements, generally kinesthetic ones (Federal Aviation Regulations, 2005, 14 CFR Part 147, §45, app. B). Proceeding from these guidelines, it is possible to consider kinesthetic teaching strategies as an important part of training the future AMT operators and mechanics.

Using the data presented in the previous professional literature and integrating it within the Felder-Silverman Learning Style Model, Zywno & Waalen (2002) conclude that about 80% of engineering students prefer the kinesthetic learning style over the more theoretically based ones (2002, p.36). Thus, it is necessary to briefly analyze some of the kinesthetic learning strategies that may be based on the Felder-Silverman Model.

According to Felder & Silverman (1988), kinesthetic learning and teaching encompass “information perception (touching, tasting, smelling) and information processing (moving, relating, doing something active while learning)” (1988, p.676). The authors point out that for the purpose of engineering science, only “visual and auditory modalities” of kinesthetic learning/teaching display their relevance (Felder & Silverman, 1988, p.676). However, given the focus of the AMT discipline, it is evident that perception tools, such as touching, are of utmost importance for this research field. Thus, any kinesthetic learning/teaching strategy in the AMT area would need to take this aspect into consideration.

Cristea & Stewart (2004) proposed a cognitive style-based approach in adaptive educational hypermedia (AEH), in order to obtain relevant benefits from integrating AEH-based facilities with the patterns observed for different learning styles (2004, p.363). The researchers suggest that a multi-dimensional learning style model-based questionnaire be provided to the students, so as to define and delineate their particular learning styles. After carrying out a pre-selection from among the questionnaire results, the use of the AHA system is proffered by Cristea & Stewart (2004), to translate high-level learning styles specifications into the instance-level sequences. The latter may then be utilized to categorize the students involved in accordance with their perceptual styles (Cristea & Stewart, 2004, p.363). In this way, the formulation of a teaching strategy based on students’ perceptual qualities may be enabled.

Following Jones & Jo (2004), the “Ubiquitous Computing”-based model of kinesthetic/tactile instruction may be adapted to the needs of the AMT students. With the use of mobile/wireless/microprocessor technologies in many applications and facilities, it thus becomes plausible to teach students to apply their daily techniques of dealing with the respective home appliances to the more complex, industry-oriented technologies. Using a PDA or mobile phone-based wireless device equipped with headphones or other information transmission channels, an AMT student may simultaneously engage in tactual/kinesthetic exploration of the current object of his/her study and consult the instructor and/or relevant instructional database in order to address possible complications (Jones & Jo, 2004). In this way, a more technology-oriented approach shall be used in developing the students’ kinesthetic skills.

Deshpande & Ginige (2010) turn the reader’s attention to the problem of greater computer multimedia use. Given the multi-touch and similar technologies used in many modern facilities (such as tablet computers), it may be possible to develop a tactile-based multimedia presentation and simulation framework that would center on adequately simulating touch checks that would be necessary for the real-life maintenance operations. In so doing, the teaching program may benefit from the technology-oriented mindset of the majority of modern post-secondary students, thus circumventing risks of boredom and instructions’ neglect that might arise otherwise.

Finally, the use of visualization and virtual reality tools and technologies may be pertinent for the AMT instructional curriculum. Gramopadhye & Madathil (2012) have conducted a relevant analysis of the inspection tools developed to this end by the Advanced Technology Systems Laboratory at Clemson University. The researchers have come to the conclusion that virtual reality tools would prove of immense value in the aircraft inspection/maintenance staff’s training. Similarly, Kincaid & Westerlund (2009) refer to computer-based simulation games, both fictional and serious, which have recently found increased usage in aviation pilot training and testing. The use of robotic appendages, as described by Kincaid & Westerlund (2009), with tactile controls attached to the final user, would allow the novice trainees to engage in a distant practical simulation of their future in-site AMT activities.

So far, the aforementioned kinesthetic learning/teaching strategies may be found to be applicable to the younger (i.e. post-secondary) learners, with the latter’s propensity for more activity-based and self-regulated learning styles (Lapan, Kardash, & Turner, 2002). However, these pedagogical strategies may not be completely applicable to andragogical teaching concerns. As shown by Cody, Dunn, Hoppin, & Wendt (1999), older learners, especially senior adults, would require the implementation of community-based education approaches.

In such interpretation, the adult learners in question would work with the proficient instructor(s) in practical applications of their future profession, having an opportunity to both learn from the other’s examples and display their personal initiative. As the example of the octogenarian adults exposed to the collaborative computer, learning showed, this approach would increase the efficiency of adult learning in technologically-rich learning environments even among the significantly older adult learners.

Thus, the analysis of this research problem attested to the complicated nature of the issues presenting themselves in the modern models of kinesthetic applied science learning. However, given the plethora of modern technological facilities that may be used to increase the latter’s efficiency, it appears that the development of a specific strategy thereto would lead to greater instructional advances in this field.

The Global/Multimodal Aspect of the Problem

The aforementioned considerations lead one to review the problems of the lack of AMT certification standards’ uniformity, which appears to be one of the serious problems faced by this profession both in the U.S. and abroad. While the ICAO creation in 1944 appeared to contribute to the formation of a worldwide system of aviation professions’ licensing standards, in fact, the majority of national licensing agencies, including the FAA, adopt somewhat diverse licensing frameworks. It further compounds the development of a globally oriented and up-to-date legal basis for the AMT professional certification.

The FAA certification system, which is legally defined as Aviation Maintenance Technicians Schools regulation (Federal Aviation Regulations, 2005, 14 CFR Part 147, §45, app. B), aims to develop a comprehensive list of technical qualifications that a potential holder of an AMT certificate has to comply with. These are formally divided into 3 curriculum levels, each of which requires an applicant to display a certain degree of both theoretical and practical skills and knowledge. For instance, Level 1 presupposes that a trainee has not yet developed any tangible practical skill in appliances manipulation but has undergone an extensive theoretical instruction, which enables him/her to understand the general AMT principles.

Level 2 is connected with the need to demonstrate at least a “limited” mastery of operational and manipulative skills in aircraft maintenance, which would suffice to “perform basic operations” (Federal Aviation Regulations, 2005, 14 CFR Part 147, §45, app. A). The trainees who have reached Level 3 are to demonstrate their profound knowledge of both general principles and the practical application thereof in their professional activities. The regulation prescribes the use of “calculators, computers, and audio-visual material” as the core instructional materials, while not limiting the latter thereto (Federal Aviation Regulations, 2005, 14 CFR Part 147, §45, app. B).

With respect to exact curriculum contents, the U.S. regulatory framework delineates several proficiency categories that should be addressed by any would-be AM technician. These encompass such study areas as basis electricity (electrical power, capacitance and inductance measurement and calculation, aircraft electrical circuit reading, and interpretation, etc.), aircraft drawings (system schematics and blueprint information use, repairs and alterations sketches drawings), weight and balance, fluid lines and fittings, cleaning and corrosion control, etc. The instruction in these areas is to proceed in accordance with teaching level attained, so that, e.g., Level 1 students receive limited training in materials and processes, while Level 2 and 3 trainees would gradually progress along with the totality of their curriculum (Federal Aviation Regulations, 2005,14 CFR Part 147, §45, app. A).

In the EU, national jurisdictions in the aircraft maintenance engineer (AME) training and licensing regulations have mainly been superseded by the European Air Safety Agency (EASA) regulatory system. In civil (commercial) aviation, the aviation maintenance personnel’s certification requirements are compiled in Annex III (Part-66) of European Union Commission Regulation (EC) No. 2042/2003 (adopted on November 20, 2003). The system of aircraft maintenance license established by Part-66 is uniform for all categories of maintenance personnel, providing for four main categories thereof.

Category A (divided into sub-categories A1 and A2, for airplanes with turbine and piston engines, accordingly) license may authorize its holder to “issue certificates of release to service following minor scheduled line performance and simple defect rectification”, thus being limited to simple and individually serviced tasks and applications (European Union Commission Regulation, 2003, 66A20.

Category B1 and B2 licenses permit their owners to control maintenance operations and approve aircraft release, if the aircraft structure, power plant, electrical, mechanical, and avionic systems were affected. Finally, a Category C license enables its holder to supervise the base maintenance operations on the aircraft, thus enjoying AME privileges in their entirety (European Union Commission Regulation, 2003, 66A20 (a) 2-4).

With respect to the knowledge and experience requirements demanded from applicants for all types of the EU AME license, several key criteria have been established. An applicant for the Category A and sub-categories B1.2 and B2.4 (airplanes and helicopters with piston engine) is to acquire three years of practical maintenance experience if he/she lacks appropriate technical and engineering training; two years of the same experience if he/she has been employed by the qualified authority as a skilled maintenance worker; and one year - if an applicant has successfully passed the EU-approved basic training course for AMEs (European Union Commission Regulation, 2003, 66A30 (a) 1). Similar experience levels are provided for applicants for the licenses in other categories.

As to technical training required of the AME license applicant, it should encompass all major subjects relating to the respective technical field and is apparently more rigorous than that demanded of the U.S.-based AMTs. The examination itself should include relevant essay questions from 17 modules, which pertain to such fields as mathematics, physics, electric fundamentals, materials and hardware, human factors, basic aerodynamics, aviation legislation, relevant aircraft systems’ aerodynamics, and structures, etc. (European Commission Regulation, 2003).

Accordingly, three training levels are provided in the course of basic instruction, with Level 1 relating to “general familiarization”, which should comprise the issues of airframe, systems and powerplant safety precautions, aircraft’s general layout definition, special tooling, and equipment identification, etc. In contrast, Levels 2 and 3 refer to more complex training, with their course objectives centered on through-flight activities identification for major aircraft systems and their principal components, their terminology and nomenclature definition, crew reports reading proficiency, as well as detailed description, operation, component location, removal/installation, and troubleshooting procedures to maintenance manual level (European Commission Regulation, 2003, app. III).

Thus, the EU regulatory framework for AME certification appears to be more detailed and performance-oriented than the U.S. one. While the American regulation in this field focuses mainly on general knowledge principles, the European AME certification system proceeds from the assumption of the practical experience’s importance. At the same, the excessively detailed certification rules and procedures that are found in the European Commission Regulation (2003) may be deemed as contributing to greater bureaucratization and inflexibility of the certification process.

The Australian and Canadian AME certification systems should likewise be considered within the context of this problem. These are significantly different from their counterparts in the USA and the EU, indicating the further fragmentation of the aviation maintenance personnel certification system among the developed countries.

In Australia, the AMEs are sub-divided into two categories, with the Licensed Aviation Maintenance Engineers (LAMEs) supervising on-the-ground activities of their unlicensed colleagues. The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is charged with the same functions like the FAA and the EASA is responsible for regulating the dispensation of the LAME licenses. These latter are divided into five core categories in accordance with the ‘trade’ specification of a LAME under consideration. The categories in question include airframe (aircraft systems and structures maintenance), engines (aircraft powerplant and engine systems), radio (radio systems), electrical (electrical systems), and instruments (autopilots, flight directors, internal navigation and reference systems, etc. not included in the preceding categories) maintenance operations (Civil Aviation Safety Authority, 2007, pp.18-21).

Furthermore, each CASA license is sub-divided into relevant ratings. For instance, airframe category of a LAME license consists of Group 1-20 ratings, which refer to such aircraft systems maintenance as wooden airframe structures (Group 3), pressurization systems (Group 10), fabric covering aircraft structures (Group 4), etc. (Civil Aviation Safety Authority, 2007, p.19). While such a detailed training system may be found advantageous for the purpose of more systematized aviation maintenance operations, it is evident that it poses a problem of excessive sectional specialization that may not be adequately addressed within the current certification system.

As for the Canadian AME certification system, it is included in the general Transport Canada (2012) framework. The AME licenses and ratings are covered by Subparts 403 and 566 of this regulatory instrument, which provide for both basic curriculum common to all AME categories and the specific training courses for the AMEs specializing in, e.g., large or small aircraft. The basic curriculum should include such items as occupational health and safety policies, acceptable industry-standard practices, aircraft system operation’s examination (to component level), the impact of human factors on maintenance errors, etc.

The more specialized curriculum may include relevant inspection checks types, power-plants and airframe structures troubleshooting, etc. The AME certificate is awarded by an approved training institution, either a state-funded or private one, and is signed by the Minister for Transport (Transport Canada, 2012).

Hence, the four aforementioned AMT/AME certification procedural systems are distinguished by the lack of coherence and uniformity, with loose and incomprehensible standards being applied in some cases, while the other is defined by their excessive rigidity. Given the ongoing process of aircraft systems’ technical standardization (see below), a perspective of the establishment of a global and multi-modular AMT/AME certification system is worth considering.

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Technological Aspects

The need for AME professional requirements’ standardization is further underscored by the increasing standardization of the aircraft industry in general. At present, the aerospace industry market is dominated by the two major transnational corporations, Airbus and Boeing, establishing a situation of the virtual duopoly. In spite of the possible challenge from such market newcomers as the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac), these corporations largely retain their shared hegemony, with 921 orders per annum for Boeing and 1521 ones for Airbus, both figures relevant for mid-November 2011 (Reuters, 2012).

Given the duopolistic nature of the modern civil aviation industry, it is no wonder that technical standards in which commercial aircraft are manufactured to appear to be relatively uniform in both Europe and North America. Thus, both the FAA and the EASA seem to be following nearly identical policies with respect to aviation technology and manufacturing standards, which stand in stark contrast with their diverse approaches towards AMT/AME training.

The FAA manufacturing regulation standards are presented in the form of specific Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) that include both general provisions and rules tied to specific applications and/or types of aircraft. The basics of the FAA regulation procedures are contained in FAR Part 21, which encompasses general principles and applications of airworthiness certification procedures. In addition, more specific guidelines are listed in their respective FARs; e.g. FAR Part 26 compiles the regulations relating to airworthiness standards for large transport category airplanes, and FAR Part 35 details technical standards for aircraft propellers.

The FARs provisions are centered on building a unified set of airworthiness standards for all major types of aircraft. For instance, FAR Part 36’s noise measurement regulations present a uniform and detailed ruleset, with the differentiation made between the jet and propeller-driven aircraft (Federal Aviation Regulations, 2005, Part 36, 14 CFR, Appendix B). The measurements involved are characterized by the high degree of precision: e.g. Stage 2 airplanes, irrespective of their number of engines, are prescribed not to exceed a flyover noise level of 108 Effective Perceived Noise in Decibels (EPNdB) if their weight equals or exceeds 600,000 pounds.

Each halving of the latter attribute should reduce an appropriate maximum noise level by 5 EPNdB, with the lowest limit possible not exceeding 93 EPNdB (for an airplane with the weight of 75,000 pounds or less; Federal Aviation Regulations, 2005, Part 36, 14 CFR, Appendix B, §36.5 (b). Similarly, all other attributes and parameters to be maintained by the manufacturers applying to relevant aircraft certificates are outlined to great detail in the FAA regulatory framework. However, given the generalized mode of presentation of the AMT proficiency standards in Part 147 provisions (see Section 2 of this paper), it appears that the FAA technical standards do not correspond well with the demanded proficiency levels of aircraft maintenance personnel.

Similarly, the EASA manufacturing design regulations standards proceed from a unified set of the Production Organization Approval (POA) issued for the holders of design organization approval certificates (i.e. certified manufacturers), which is required for legitimate production of all types of aeronautical products and appliances, including parts, engines, propellers, consumable materials, etc. The relevant regulations are included in Decision No. 2003/1/RM issued by EASA Executive Director on October 17, 2003. The applicant is required to present relevant documents dealing with the manufacturer’s quality systems, including all necessary data on technical standards and design guidelines used by the manufacturer in producing both component parts and ready-made aeronautical products (Decision No.2003/1/RM, 2003).

The exact guidelines governing the airworthiness and environmental standards for certified aircraft are laid down in European Commission Regulation (EC) No.1702/2003 of September 24, 2003, which offers a detailed legal framework for aircraft manufacturing standardization. For instance, applicable noise and emission regulations are provided in accordance with relevant rules contained in Annex 16 to the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention), with proper differentiation being made between subsonic jet airplanes, propeller-driven airplanes, helicopters, and supersonic airplanes (EC No. 1702/2003, 2003, §21A.18). The comprehensive certification procedures outlined in the Part-21 framework attests to particular attention paid to these issues by the EU policymakers.

The FAA and EASA aircraft manufacturing regulation provisions and directives seem to be oriented toward the all-out presentation of varied production guidelines that relate to different types of aircraft. However, one may observe that, in case of the FAA regulations, a significant discrepancy arises between the AMT certification requirements based on the basic training standards and the needs for greater functional differentiation for the purposes of the maintenance of diverse aviation types, ranging from large transport airplanes to helicopters and sailplanes. On the contrary, the European AME certification system appears to have taken this issue into account, with its complex and diversified specialized curriculum structure.

Therefore, it is necessary to comparatively review some AME/AMT maintenance standards having been implemented by both the FAA and EASA authorities. While Section 2 of the present paper has already outlined basic commonalities and differences between the FAA and EASA training and licensing systems, it is now necessary to dwell on technical education requirements issued by both license providers.

FAR Part 66 contains major guidelines for the issuance of the U.S. AMT certificate. In particular, the provisions for additional AMT ratings are included that would orient the AMT training towards greater alignment with the needs of industry-specific applications. For instance, Section 66.73 provides for the introduction of the airframe, powerplant, and aviation maintenance ratings, with the former aircraft and/or aircraft engine certification ratings being integrated thereto (Federal Aviation Regulations, 2001, 14 CFR Part 66, §73).

A similar certification framework is established by the EASA authorities. The EASA Part 147 clauses provide for standards for approved training provider (ATP) organizations, the curriculum whereof should comply with the examination guidelines outlined in EASA regulations’ Part 66 (see Section 2 of the present paper). In particular, the knowledge training element specified in Part 66 should conform to the needs of relevant categories’ aircraft maintenance, with basic training being limited to certain general principles and applications (European Union Commission Regulation, 2003, 147.A.200).

Thus, the FAA and EASA training and certification frameworks as outlined above are not as standardized and uniform as their counterparts in technical and manufacturing regulations. Given the increasing standardization and basic convergence of the FAA and EASA aircraft manufacturing regulations, it is, thus, commendable that the AMT/AME training and certification legislation be likewise unified and brought to a certain common standard.

Social Aspects of AME/AMT Training

As was already noted in Section 1, the kinesthetic learning facilities are instrumental for the development of the modern AMT workforce. Given the differences in generational styles of learning and general meta-cognitive strategies between older and younger learners (Justice & Dornan, 2001), it is evident that the AMT primary training facilities should take the varied generational learning styles into account when presenting respective curriculum requirements to these two groups of the students.

Several studies mentioned in Reeves (2008) suggest that the so-called ‘Millennials’, i.e. representatives of the 1980-2000 generation, also known as the Net Generation, may be characterized by lower tendency to engage in long-term sequential learning while being oriented towards a more holistic learning approach, underpinned by the use of various multimedia technologies. At the same time, the older generations’ learners compensate for their relative lack of digital literacy by higher motivation in progressively dealing with the long-term and linear study tasks. Thus, following a model given in Felder & Silverman (1988), differentiation between younger and older adult learners may be presented along the global/sequential learners’ scale.

Therefore, the implementation of kinesthetic-based learning/teaching models in the AMT training courses should proceed in accordance with the students’ generational learning style. Whereas the Net Generation students may be more receptive to the use of dynamic multimedia, interactive simulations, cooperative video games, etc. as the core kinesthetic research materials, the older learners may benefit more from the more static but comprehensive simulation models that would allow them to develop their sequential kinesthetic skills. Thus, an audience-oriented teaching strategy may be successfully implemented here.

Environmental Aspects

The requirements for the students’ educational standards form an important part of the respective regulation by both the FAA and the EASA. Both agencies present their basic standards for the future AMT/AME professionals in Parts 66 and 147 of their respective regulations and directives. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the latter’s relevant provisions.

In FAA’s Part 66, it is provided that a person eligible for an AMT certificate and associated ratings should be at least 18 years old, demonstrate the ability to speak, read and write the English language at the level necessary for adequate reading and interpretation of appropriate maintenance publications and/or defect and repair statements, having passed all necessary tests and examinations within a 24-month period and complying with the additional requirements prescribed for his/her respective rating field.

Further, applicants for an AMT certificate and/or rating must present the graduation certificate from the technician school registered under FAR Part 147 requirements, as well as appropriate documentation attesting to the applicant’s practical experiences with relevant procedures, practices, materials, machine tools, etc. that would be received within a minimum period of 18 months (Federal Aviation Regulations, 2001, 14 CFR Part 66, §72-77).

Concerning the FAR Part 147 regulations, it may be observed that the key requirements presented to the AMT students are mainly connected with the formal (ability to read and interpret maintenance forms, records, and publications), general science (the simple machines’ physics, including sound, fluid and heat dynamics, basic aerodynamics, and theory of flight), human factors/maintenance resource management (MRM; including a computer-based MRM instruction evaluation), aircraft electronics, and general aircraft inspection principles.

Subsequently, in accordance with their chosen rating, the ATM applicants should then proceed to respective courses in airframe or powerplant maintenance procedures, with the appropriate specialized courses included. Finally, a number of additional course materials recommendations may be included in their curriculum, e.g. nondestructive inspection or principles of troubleshooting (Federal Aviation Administration, 2005, apps. 4-5).

Similarly, the EASA student curriculum and certification system emphasize the need for the comprehensive curricular studies in the licensed AME training schools. Unlike the FAA system, the EASA student requirements focus on the need to pass several examination modules relating to respective fields in aircraft maintenance. An applicant for an AME license should demonstrate both his/her passing of appropriate examination modules and the significant experience thresholds (generally, one year after completing the Part-147 certified training school). Only then such a graduate student may receive his / her license as the AME professional.

Thus, the learning environment of both the EASA and the FAA technical learning facilities is predominantly skewed towards ensuring the high degree of connection between theoretical and practical knowledge of the future AME/AMT license applicants. In this sense, the differences between these agencies’ approaches do not preclude a shared preoccupation with preserving the experience-based nature of the AM studies.

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Political Aspects

The policy aspects of the AME/AMT instruction under the EASA/FAA guidelines are invariably connected with the concerns for the more technically savvy and highly productive workforce. However, when judged from the political economy perspective, it becomes apparent that the major aircraft regulation agencies are simultaneously dependent on the deregulation drives that are conditioned by the logic of neoliberal globalization (Hampson, Junor, & Gregson, 2010). Thus, a more critical viewpoint should be utilized when considering the political aspects of this examination’s subject.

Hampson, Junor, & Gregson (2010) pay special attention to the issue of the lack of adequate addressing of the human factors component of the AME/AMT training. Using the example of the Australian LAME instruction program and certification requirements, these authors assert that the respective model of communication and control on behalf of the superior managers actually undermined the LAME’s capacity to conduct a comprehensive maintenance work (Hampson, Junor, & Gregson, 2010, p.7).

In fact, the LAME labor relations were found to be marked by an intense yet hidden struggle between the managerial and AME personnel, with the latter using their intellectual control over the present aviation maintenance facilities to prevent the degrading impact of time-saving and cost-efficiency innovations made by the management. In general, such contradictions may be detrimental to the general safety culture of the aircraft maintenance systems (Hampson, Junor, & Gregson, 2010).

Similar concerns may be voiced with regard to the U.S. and EU AME/AMT training and certification systems. The latter are overwhelmingly oriented towards the individual-based, purely technical learning that leaves the issues of coordination and decision-making in the hands of airline management. The lack of proper examination of the teamwork issues in the present curriculum may be perceived as reflecting the one-sided character of the modern AMT/AME instructional system, which is indicative of the industry’s major development directions.

Recently, this problem has been increasingly acknowledged by the respective agencies charged with solving the AMT/AME regulation issues. In particular, in the USA, the FAA regulations have started emphasizing the maintenance resource management (MRM) as an integral component of the AMT staff training. The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular (adopted in September 2000) is provided for the inclusion of “a general process of maintaining an effective level of communication and safety in maintenance operations” as a separate, and important, dimension of the AMT technicians’ curriculum (Federal Aviation Administration, 2000, p.3). The document purported to emphasize that teamwork and communicative resources awareness were of increasing importance for modern aviation maintenance operations.

In particular, several common mistakes were identified in the Federal Aviation Administration (2000), with complacency, fatigue, lack of communication, lack of assertiveness, and peer pressure selected for their especially pernicious impact (2000, p.2). This signified the regulator’s resolve to address some of the pressing issues arising out of employee dissatisfaction. Furthermore, the issue of the employees’ rights and duties was put forward, with “the right to express feelings and ideas, and the right to ask for information” being mentioned as the most important AMT staff’s rights category (Federal Aviation Administration, 2000, p.1).

Therefore, the AMT/AME training political aspect may be contributed to the power/control dynamics dimension of the labor relations between the decision-makers and companies, on the one hand, and the AMT/AME staff, on the other. The adequate response to these considerations is irreplaceable for the need for their solution. Furthermore, the problems of the employees’ rights and/or obligations should be viewed within the context of the safety culture concept. The latter may be provisionally defined as “a pervasive, organization-wide attitude placing safety as the primary priority driving the way employees to perform their task” (Federal Aviation Administration, 2000, p.3). The development of such an attitude is inherently connected with the fostering of the personnel’s initiative and decision-making abilities, which would require greater attention to the human factors issues.

Older and Younger Learners in the AMT Studies: The Statistical Aspect

The problem of the differences in older and younger learners’ ability to fulfill relevant kinesthetic tasks within the specified time frames represent one of the most important aspects that should be addressed given the focus of this study. To this end, a sampling of the group of students have graduated from the FAR Part 147 curriculum training school between November 1, 2011, and October 31, 2012, has been taken in order to verify the hypothesis on the possible correlation between the students’ age category and their kinesthetic proficiency.

Hence, the participants that encompassed a statistically significant number of the students in one of Part 147 instructional institutions have been divided into two groups, i.e. that of the adult learners (students over 40-year-old) and traditional learners (students younger than 40). A T-Test has been conducted to test the assumption on the statistical validity of the differences between younger and older learners on kinesthetic task performance.

The mean for older learners, without younger learners being taken into consideration, equals 0.3567, with a 95% confidence interval applicable to this difference (i.e. the one ranging from -1.4515 to 2.1649). Two intermediate values have been used in the calculation: t (equal to 0.4040) and df (equal to 28). The standard error of the difference is statistically equal to 0.883.

The two-tailed P value observed in these T-Test data has been found to be equal to 0.6892. Provided that the test under consideration did not proceed from the assumption of the necessarily larger mean for either older learners or younger learners group, it may be concluded that the statistical significance of the sample in question is not large enough so as to consider the older learners to be inherently better prepared for carrying out the kinesthetic-based maintenance tasks than their younger counterparts. Thus, it cannot be convincingly established that older learners benefit more from the present FAA-issued curriculum than the younger ones.

Furthermore, given the character of the present aviation and AMT training courses, one may infer that older learners are actually better adapted to some of the forms of the training that do not involve the computer-based instruction methods. In particular, such curriculum components as the materials and processes and aircraft drawings sections may be better perceived by the adult learners, as the kinesthetic skills required of the students are actually implanted from the hands-on training that is inherently familiar to the post-1950s learners’ generation. In contrast, younger learners may have a harder time adapting to supposedly outdated instruction-based training methods that form the crux of the Part 147 teaching styles.

Therefore, the andragogical training methods that may be employed in the AMT training would be actually in line with the present Part 147 curricular requirements, due to the latter’s orientation towards the late 20th-century aircraft maintenance options. On the contrary, the FAA-approved curriculum is widely viewed as persistently suffering from the inadequate coverage of the modern pedagogical methods, including the computer-based ones. Therefore, it is the pedagogical methods that are, in fact, in need of being upgraded to the concerns and necessities of the present-day aviation maintenance requirements and concerns. When taking into account the immense role of electronic technologies and e-learning in modern engineering and related education, this appears to be the FAA’s significant drawback.

Generational Learning Styles and Kinesthetic Development: A Human Factors Perspectives

Following Lorenzo (1990), a human error may be defined as a human action or lack thereof exceeding the tolerances imposed by the system the humans in question interact with. Within such an interpretation, a human factor's impact upon aviation maintenance is tied to the experiential performance of the individuals charged with the respective maintenance duties. Thus, it is necessary to examine whether any significant connection may exist between the propensity for aircraft maintenance incidents and the aviation maintenance personnel age and experience.

Taylor & Thomas (2003) put great emphasis on the impact of professional trust and general professionalism issues on the development of a high-level safety culture environment. The respective measurements conducted by these researchers attest to the growing importance of the perceptions of the other’s trustworthiness in the internal interactions among the employed AMT personnel (Taylor & Thomas, 2003).

Such abilities as the potential for valuing the co-workers’ trust and conflict avoidance were included by Taylor & Thomas (2003) in their overall professional trust measurement scale. Given that the ANOVA test conducted by the researchers attested to the presence of correlation between individuals’ age and experience, on the one hand, and professional trust accorded by the co-workers, on the other hand, one may assume that older AMT personnel’s presence would have a beneficial impact upon the human factors atmosphere of the AMT teamwork community.

At the same, the issue of the correlation between the maintenance workers’ advanced age and unsafe acts’ number should be addressed. Hobbs & Williamson (2002) conducted a survey of about 4,600 aviation mechanics working under the guidelines of the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority. 93.7% of the respondents belonged to the licensed aviation maintenance engineer (LAME) category, while their average working period experience was equal to 24 years (with SD = 10.6 years) (Hobbs & Williamson, 2002, p.869).

The results of the study showed that different categories of safety errors and violations were correlated closely with the participants’ age, as younger AME workers generally scoring a 0.001 level higher than their older peers in such categories as routine violations (i.e. rule-violating behaviors connected with daily working situations) and exceptional violations (the primarily dangerous violations that tend to occur in highly unusual workload circumstances).

Nevertheless, the skill-based errors included in the results’ evaluation were not found to be correlated with the participants’ age and working experience, as their distribution was more or less uniform across the respective groups (Hobbs & Williamson, 2002, pp.873-874). Thus, one may infer that different categories of operational errors are dependent on various safety attitudes and skill attributes, sometimes irrespective of the age-based cognitive and physical abilities of the persons involved.

However, the conclusion on the divergent correlation patterns between older and younger workers in the AM industry does not exclude the problem of diverse attitudes and human behavior issues arising when the differences between young and adult learners in the AMT training are considered. Using González, Walter, & Morote’s (2011) research on the role of students’ perceptions in academic misconduct among professional pilot students, it may be possible to reach a conclusion that younger students have, relatively speaking, higher cheating tendency than their older colleagues. Thus, the impact of the age variable on the academic standards of the students in question cannot be underestimated, as the academic honesty standards exhibited by the adult students often contribute to their lasting success in the respective curriculum.

Quantitative Differences between Younger and Adult Learners in the AMT Studies: A Summary

Given the aforementioned data presented in Sections 6-7, it is possible to establish certain commonalities and divergences between adult and post-secondary learners within the context of their comparative curriculum performance efficiency. However, one should note that all such possible conclusions are of necessity probabilistic, and cannot be taken at face value without further, statistically significant samplings.

Proceeding from the data provided in the T-Test (see Section 6), one may surmise that both younger and adult learners are characterized by the lack of any statistically significant media differences as to the performance of the kinesthetic-based tasks included in the FAA basic training curriculum. The two-sided P correlation was not found to exceed the standard error associated with random deviations, and thus, one may conclude that either the sample chosen by the author has not been representative of the population under consideration or that the differences between these two categories of learners are predicated upon divergent learning styles that may be equally efficient for their selected populations.

On the other hand, the findings provided by Hobbs & Williamson (2002) with respect to error rates and types across age and work experience groups of the surveyed Australian AMEs may be interpreted as pointing at the significant correlation between the relative lack of both routine and emergency kinesthetic skills among younger AME students, which would later have an adverse impact upon their capacity to deal with the emergency maintenance situations, as well as to eschew some of the most commonplace, yet potentially menacing, errors that would be averted by their older co-workers. Finally, the issue of professional trust should be included in the general analytical framework, as older AMT students would be likely to engage in more teamwork learning structure, as opposed to the less collectivistic learning and interacting style of their post-secondary peers.

Computer-based Education: An AMT Instruction Perspective

The problem of the use of computer-based instructional tools in the AMT curriculum has been consistently posed since at least the 1970s when it became evident that aviation maintenance and management field are likely to undergo a major paradigmatic shift brought about by the introduction of innovative computer technologies (University of California, 1974). However, the FAA appears to have neglected the issue of addressing the curriculum discrepancies brought about by the increasing necessity to include computer-based facilities in the AMT training programs.

On the one hand, this may lead to significant deficiencies with respect to the younger post-secondary student enrollment; on the other hand, the retention of certain superficially outdated curriculum courses may benefit older learners who are more accustomed to the ‘hands-on’ approach in kinesthetic learning than their younger, digital-savvy peers.

The results of the study conducted by Kraus & Gramopadhye (2001) demonstrated that the utilization of computer-based training (CBT) applications has become an important part of the AMT instruction courses in many educational facilities both in the USA and abroad. For instance, the Lufthansa Airlines AMT instruction program included the comprehensive CBT course involving both individual and team training based applications (Reichow, 1994).

Furthermore, outcomes of the representative study conducted by Kraus & Gramopadhye (2001) seem to have indicated that, in terms of task performance accuracy and safety violations, both instructor-based training (IBT) and CBT oriented teams appear to be scoring at the equal level, thus validating the hypothesis on the positive impact of the CBT instruction model on the participants’ performance (Kraus & Gramopadhye, 2001, pp.151-153). Likewise, the completion time data for either group demonstrates that no observable statistical differences therein have been noted by both instructors and the researchers (Kraus & Gramopadhye, 2001, p.154).

Further, Kincaid & Westerlund (2009) suggest that several types of simulation technologies may be available in the industrial vocational training, as it is the case with the AMT studies. Of these, interactive simulation and computer visualization may be found to be most relevant to the development of the students’ kinesthetic skills and proficiencies; the former is connected with the utilization of interactive simulation systems that may involve the simulation of kinesthetic skills (such as weight lifting) and tactile interaction with the VR-simulated objects. The latter, on the other hand, presents a perspective of the users’ total immersion in computer-simulated visual reality, which allows for more comprehensive adjustment to the AMT situations that may arise in real practice.

Thus, it appears that the inclusion of CBT techniques and study methods may actually benefit the Part 147 AMT school students in the development of their kinesthetic skills. However, the FAA-introduced standards appear to be more in touch with the older AMT systems that are tuned to the aircraft that is becoming increasingly outdated (Northwestern University, the Transportation Center, 1999). It is particularly evident from the continuing retaining of the courses relating to wood and dope and fabric structures that are generally falling out of the active use both in the USA and other nations (Northwestern University, the Transportation Center, 1999).

Whereas the curriculum changes instituted after the 1958 Federal Aviation Act generally reflected important changes caused by the worldwide transition from piston engine-based to gas turbine powerplant aviation, the similarly intensive technological revolution brought about by the widespread computerization has been seemingly ignored by the FAA-instituted curriculum. In spite of the appropriate findings included in 1970, 1974 and 1999 reports on the subject matter commissioned by the FAA itself, it is often claimed that next to none changes have been made to the AMT basic training so far (U.S. General Accounting Office, 2003, p.19).

The comprehensive analysis of the present curriculum would reveal that the FAA did make some important changes to its basic learning curriculum in the mid-2000s (Federal Aviation Administration, 2005). In particular, the basic aircraft electronics training course was introduced, with computer testing supplements incorporated into the final AMT examination procedures. Furthermore, relevant courses have been developed for both airframe and powerplant maintenance technicians. However, their phrasing often attests to the lack of due emphasis thereon within the total curriculum structure, showing the need for ongoing modernization in this field (Federal Aviation Administration, 2005).

The general issues of computer-based educational methods in the AMT curriculum should be considered from the perspective of their relevance for adult learners. As it was already noted by Kulik, Kulik, & Shwalb (1986), the use of CBT would usually prove beneficial to the majority of adult learners, generally increasing their median examination scores by 0.42 standard deviations. Johnson & Norton (1991) described an Environment Control System (ECS) simulation training program, which had been specifically designed for use by AMT students in preparing for troubleshooting tasks.

As the ECS trainer had been developed with a view to catering to adult students’ requirements, its most distinguishing feature was to familiarize the students with core elements of the troubleshooting process by providing a generally tactile-based instructional environment, with touchable displays and control panels as its most important features (Johnson & Norton, 1991, pp.310-311). In this way, the key assumption that adult learners study AMT subjects via practical experience may be validated.

The aforementioned findings on the possible positive impact of the CBT methods on the training efficiency of adult learners may be situated within the international perspective of the use of computer-based education in the foreign nations’ AMT/AME schools. The EU curriculum for aviation maintenance students unambiguously presupposes the use of the CBT instructional techniques and tools, including the final examination proceedings (European Union Commission Regulation, 2003). The use of microfilm and computerized presentations is specifically included in the requirements for understanding information involved in the AME training process. Similar provisions are integrated into the Canadian AME training curriculum, leading to greater digital literacy among the AME students.

Neither Canadian nor EU curriculum systems make any distinctions as to the age and educational profile of the respective nations’ AME school applicants. Save for any possible experience requirements, it may be generally assumed that this curriculum is deemed to be mutually applicable to young and older (post-secondary and adult) learners in the same categories of an AME license.

As for the FAA curriculum framework, one may presume that the agency in question has not made a significant effort toward the full-scale integration of the modern electronic simulation and other e-learning instructional systems into the AMT instructional curriculum. This means that the FAA training facilities are still significantly handicapped in comparison with those of the EU and/or Canada.

Question #2

Statement of the Question

The qualitative differences in the learning styles between traditional (post-secondary) and non-traditional (adult) learners have generally been accorded to both different experiential levels of these two students’ categories, with older learners able to make use of their past educational and career development, and the relative lack of excessively theoretical, pedagogical conditioning that is often the case with respect to the younger students. Thus, it is possible to validate the hypothesis on the dramatically different character of the learning styles and perceptions of the AMT/AME adult students, with the appropriate emphasis being laid on the adult learners’ response to learning problems within the nonlinear and unfamiliar learning situations.

The issue of accumulated experience as an important learning tool will be properly analyzed within the present research question. Moreover, a comparative perspective shall be introduced in the research under consideration, with the differences between the U.S. and Canadian approaches to AMT/AME adult learners’ integration being considered.

The Canadian Approach to Training the AME professionals: The Adult Training Perspective

As well as the United States, Canada does not have a separate, adult-oriented program for training the AMEs. Thus, both post-secondary students and adults wishing to follow on their AME career plans have to comply with the uniform curriculum framework. The latter is divided into more than 30 items, comprising varied theoretical and practical fields ranging from metallurgy (materials’ corrosion, treatment, and prevention thereof, item No. 3) to maintain instruments systems (air data systems and instrumentation, such as air-temperature instruments, video displays or data bus systems; item No.32.0).

In comparison with the FAA-approved U.S. curriculum for the AMTs, the Canadian regulatory framework in this field appears to reflect greater concern for familiarizing the students with the newer aviation maintenance technologies and applications, as well as with their underlying theoretical principles (Transport Canada, 2012).

The Canadian system of approved training organizations allows for the possible orientation of the training programs on the nontraditional learners’ groups, such as adults of First Nations learners. For the purposes of this examination, a brief review of one of such programs, namely that of the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) training program for Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME), Category M. The program under consideration includes possible benefits from the Institute’s partnerships with Boeing Aerospace, Rockwell Martin, and other similar aerospace industry corporations; thus, a practical connection between its requirements and those of the potential employers may be rather tangible.

The courses presented by the SIIT to its prospective AME graduates may be divided into the theoretical and practically oriented ones. The former would include such a curriculum field as the theory of flight and aerodynamics; technical operations and documentation (e.g. aircraft maintenance scheduling and the systems of control establishment); and power supply and generation theory.

The practical courses’ category would encompass such course subjects as standard practices (i.e. the use of troubleshooting manuals, drawings, and standard documentation procedures); hydraulic and pneumatic systems maintenance and troubleshooting; and aircraft structural fabrication (SIIT, 2012). Thus, the AME program offered by the SIIT attempts to seamlessly integrate both purely theoretical and practically oriented courses and subject matters, with the apparent focus on the development of the variegated AME taskforce.

The Canadian regulatory framework still does not make necessary arrangements with respect to the differentiated treatment of adult and post-secondary students. Therefore, in this regard, it may be rather similar to the U.S. one. However, one may surmise that the lack of appropriate concern for the special needs of the adult learners is more pronounced in the case of the USA, for the FAA-approved curriculum is more overtly generic in its main directions, making it more difficult to accommodate special needs and proficiencies of the adult students in question.

Technological Standards in Modern Post-secondary School and Generational Gap

As observed by Oblinger & Oblinger (2005), the technological proficiency of the Net Generation (or the Net Gen) students may have been exaggerated by the overtly optimistic assumptions of the latter’s ability to navigate the Worldwide Web and to deal with the variety of the IT devices (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005, p.2.5). However, at the same time, it is obvious that, despite the possible superficiality of this generation’s IT knowledge, it has nonetheless created an advantage for the young learners, as opposed to the older ones, in dealing with the modern technological appliances and software.

In this section, the analysis of the possible advantageous impact exerted by the technological standards commonplace in the modern post-secondary school will be provided, in order to address the issue of the plausible ways to ameliorate the generational gap between younger and adult learners in this respect.

The results of the surveys systematized and presented by Oblinger & Oblinger (2005) demonstrate that the members of the Net Gen are distinguished by the more critical and elevated expectations with respect to the particular fields they are training in. While it has often been assumed that the Net Gen students are more oriented towards the specifically technologically based instructional styles, with no regard for the personal attachment to their learning instructor, the observations collected by Roberts (2005) may have proved this claim wrong. Roberts surveyed the opinions of several junior students, presented in the form of the comments, and found that for these students, the issue of their professor’s ‘passion’ for his/her subject was one of the most important ones to consider (Roberts, 2005, p.3.3).

At the same time, the results of the survey of 25 post-secondary students enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown indicated that these students valued their instructors’ experience and expertise just as high as his/her capacity to customize the classroom work with the use of the latest technology and to convey lecture content through the software-using presentations (Roberts, 2005, p.3.4). However, when asked on the desirable interrelationship between traditional lecturing and educational interactivity, all 25 survey’s participants opted for the balanced, 50-50%, educational curriculum, which would equally combine e-learning and instructional-based training (Roberts, 2005, p.3.7).

Therefore, one may surmise that the position of the younger learners with regard to e-learning’s implementation is far from the uniform enthusiasm for electronic and virtual instruction one may be expected to bear in mind here.

At the same time, Tyler-Smith (2006) focuses on the use of Cognitive Load Theory to explain the apparent lack of readiness to cope with digital learning models that may be often observed among the adult learners undertaking the e-learning courses. In the researcher’s opinion, the long-term nature of the humans’ operating memory which is responsible for learning and adapting for the new skills and proficiencies, as well as the lack of the corresponding long-term memory schema to supplement the former, may lead to the adult learners experiencing a cognitive overload situation (Tyler-Smith, 2006).

This would preclude these learners from efficiently grasping the basics of the e-learning curriculum until the necessary long-term schemas are developed by their experience. Within this interpretation, the problem lays not so much with biological differences between the younger and adult learners, but with the different socially conditioned meta-cognitive practices these generations have been subject to.

Therefore, the solution to the intergenerational gap problem would be connected with addressing the socially based concerns of both types of learners. This, in turn, would require the consideration of the social aspects of intergenerational differences in the learning/teaching styles.

Generational Changes in Teaching Styles: An Intergenerational Perspective

Following Debard (2004), it is possible to conceptualize significant differences in the perceptions of education and career among three main generations of the students, which include the Boomers (1943-1960 generation), Gen Xers (1961-1981), and Millennials (1982-2000). The following table may be used to visualize the value and perception divergences between these generational groups.

As it becomes evident that the change from the more cynical and individualistic Gen Xers to the community-oriented and trusting Millennials, the changes in teaching styles should be considered to be an important part of the curriculum’s optimization to the needs of the new generation. As suggested by Jonas-Dwyer & Pospisil (2004), the changes in teaching styles that would be most beneficial to the needs of the Millennials as the new college students would include the gradual introduction of the Web-based and generally electronic communications and presentation software in both classroom work and lecture activities, with the academic staff being in need of additional preparation for the e-learning-oriented instructional schedule (Jonas-Dwyer & Pospisil, 2004, pp.202-203). In the authors’ opinion, the tertiary education curriculum may be in need of the radical overhaul, given the changes brought about by the 1990s to 2000s technological revolution(s).

However, the comparative examination of the FAA and Transport Canada’s regulations on the basic training course curricula demonstrates that the U.S. aviation authorities do not pay enough attention to the issues of tuning their AMT curriculum to the needs of the new generation learners. As it was already mentioned in the previous sections (Section 2 to 4), the FAA has retained the post-1958 curriculum and training/teaching manual styles in place, either refusing or ignoring the requests and recommendations of the relevant think-tank bodies on their modification.

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It is especially peculiar given the progressive introduction of the new aircraft technologies that would require the AMT professionals to focus more on their implementation in their practical experience. In this sense, the FAA curriculum strategy appears to be particularly unsuitable to the needs of the Millennial Generation students.

On the contrary, the Transport Canada regulations with respect to the AME training and certification requirements exhibit far greater attention to the issues of the new electronic technologies’ integration. In particular, an emphasis is placed on the AME students’ familiarizing themselves with the automatic braking and indicating systems; cabin pressure and functional testing environmental control systems; emergency lighting and Underwater Locating Devices (ULDs); fire detection and suppression systems.

Furthermore, Transport Canada’s AME curriculum includes a special section devoted to the issues of digital theory principles. Of these, such aspects as integrated circuits theory, digital electronics techniques, basic microcomputer technology, and microprocessors’ data transfer appear to be the most relevant to the students’ coherent understanding of the modern technologies’ principles (Transport Canada, 2012).

Furthermore, unlike the FAA math curriculum, the Transport Canada’s one includes an emphasis on such specialized chapters of high mathematics as Boolean algebra, as well as the discussion of various numbering systems (binary, hexadecimal, octal, etc.), with the subsequent transition to the subject of binary computation (Transport Canada, 2012). Given the manifest absence of these subjects and themes from the American curriculum, one may infer that the Canadian aviation authorities have exerted more tangible efforts toward the establishment of the modernized AME curriculum framework. This would point to the greater comparative efficiency of the Canadian AME curriculum in adapting the industry to the needs of the digitally oriented aviation framework.

The FAA and Transport Canada: Different Policy Approaches

From the purely political perspective, the FAA seems to be following a more traditionalist and rigorist approach, precluding significant trespassing of its own curriculum standards. The Part 147 AMT training schools, whether they may be either public or private ones, are effectively required to follow the selfsame standardized curriculum model that may significantly limit the instructors’ ability to respond to the individual and group needs of their students. The FAA conservatism and lack of differentiated approaches may be considered to be instrumental in the U.S. AMT training system being in the state of relative lagging with regard to its major competitors from among the other developed nations’ aviation maintenance professionals.

In contrast, the Canadian AME curriculum system is apparently oriented toward allowing the approved training organizations the greater internal autonomy in deciding on exact features of their training curriculum as long as the latter complies with the general certification and examination guidelines specified by Transport Canada (2012). This greater curriculum flexibility would contribute to improved responsiveness on behalf of the educational authorities to the important changes in modern aircraft maintenance and troubleshooting systems, further enhancing the respective educational system’s efficiency. In total, the Canadian AME policy framework appears to be more modernized and streamlined than the American AMT one.

Requirements to Students and Educational Environment: The FAA versus Transport Canada

As it was already mentioned in the previous sections, the FAA focuses on the students’ compliance with the basic training curriculum, as prescribed by FAR Part 147, as well as on the obtaining of the required amount of the practical knowledge and experience, as related to the specified number of months spent in the AMT working teams. Hence, a combination of theoretical and practically oriented requirements to the AMT applicants is maintained.

The Transport Canada has similar AME licensing standards, with the particular emphasis on the applicant’s age (21 for all the AME categories), minimum basic training (e.g. 1,000 hours AM theory for the M1 Category AMEs), 36 to 48 months of operating experience, and the progressive passing of the respective examinations (airframe, powerplant, maintenance practices, etc.). Thus, the general principle of the combination of theoretical and practical education is preserved in this interpretation as well. In general, this means that the learning environment’s demands levied both by the Transport Canada and the FAA are actually identical, with the resulting emphasis on the practically oriented instruction.

Experience as the Learning Tool: The Case of Nontraditional Adult Learners

Having reviewed the literature pertaining to the adult e-learning education models, it is possible to suppose that the adult learners are strongly dependent on their prior working and/or instructional experience, as it was already underlined by Tyler-Smith (2006). The lack of proficiency to communicate in both synchronous and asynchronous working environments through the digital media can, thus, be conceived as derived from the absence of previous communicative experience in these milieus (Tyler-Smith, 2006). Therefore, the experience-based side of adult education should not, and cannot, be neglected here.

As explained by Brookfield (1995), adult learners are distinguished from their post-secondary colleagues by a number of unique features. Their learning process is self-directed as the adult learners establish their own learning goals and outcomes, critical, as the adults are capable of critical reasoning and reflection, and experiential, for the adult learners are dependent on their prior working experiences in adopting and evaluating the new data and/or skills (Brookfield, 1995). Thus, the experience-based nature of adult learning differentiates it from the post-secondary one, where the students rely primarily on their instructor’s inputs.

Caffarella & Barnett (1994) focus on the functional experiential learning model as the theoretical foundation of their concept of adult education. In the authors’ opinion, the main element of any efficient adult learning process lies in the learning in actual practice (Caffarella & Barnett, 1994). The researchers present five main reasons for the experience-based nature of adult learning.

  1. Firstly, the past life experiences serve as core building blocks for constructing and relating the new meanings received from adult education.
  2. Secondly, the exact meaning constructed is dependent upon the particular subject’s previous life experience, signifying the correlation between these two factors.
  3. Thirdly, the adult education process involves interactive, not merely passive, educational practices, which explained by the need for group interaction in these proceedings (fourth factor).
  4. Lastly, the adults’ learning context is comprised of their past life processes, and any successful instructional strategy should take this fact into consideration.

Hence, the instructional strategy oriented toward the adult learners, irrespective of the curriculum under consideration, should make ample use of the references to the participants’ past life facts and strategies, in order to convey the meanings that would be both accessible and understandable to these latter. In particular, the AMT/AME and similar applied technologies learning fields should become inclusive of the past experiences with applied technologies demonstrated by the adult applicants to these programs, so that the greatest efficiency of instructional training may be attained.

Question #3

Statement of the Question

The FAA's refusal to modify its curriculum so as to include a greater emphasis on the CBT instruction has been characterized as holding the AMT training programs back in comparison with its EU and Canadian counterparts and competitors. However, given the necessarily limited character of the FAR Part 147 general curriculum, it may be relatively difficult to evaluate the possible impact of the CBT introduction in the respective curriculum areas.

To address these concerns, and operational hypothesis shall be offered that the utilization of computer-based methods and techniques, such as VR simulations, may be feasible and desirable in such three general curriculum fields as aircraft drawings (Teaching Levels 2 to 3), weight and balance (Teaching Levels 2 to 3), and materials and processes (Teaching Levels 1 to 3). Given the inherently kinesthetic-based nature of training in each of these study areas, one may infer that the possible validation of the hypothesis on the positive impact of the CBT instruction in these curriculum areas would point to the desirability of such an outcome.

However, one should keep in mind that the suppositions included in this analysis are of purely hypothetical character, as the widespread implementation of the possible CBT training methods in the U.S. AMT schools has not yet exceeded a statistically significant level. Therefore, the suggestions presented herein may be regarded as only preliminary ones.

The CBT as the Possible Substitute for Traditional Training Methods

Following Barnett et al (2000), one may surmise that it is entirely possible to utilize either 3D solid-model Virtual Environment (VE) trainers or 3D line drawings-based computer-based displays (CBDs) in place of hardware mockup trainers that are generally made use of within the context of the conventional Part 147 curriculum. While the authors used the relevant VE instruction procedures to measure the trainees’ ability to conduct several simple remove-and-replace maintenance operations, it is still apparent that the participants’ performance in these tasks was equal to that in the more conventional maintenance training procedures (Barnett et al., 2000).

Similarly, Kraus & Gramopadhye (2001) reported that the participants involved in an experimental weight and balance measurements within the CBT-based framework had demonstrated approximately similar efficiency in dealing with the task as their IBT-guided peers. These studies’ results may be taken as evidence to the equal efficiency of the CBT learning methods in dealing with the kinesthetic-based training tasks.

Therefore, the CBT introduction in the kinesthetic-based AMT training may be regarded as a possible substitute for the traditional learning methods in these areas. Hence, a hypothetical comparative analysis is warranted in order to conceive the possible efficiency increases inherent in the CBT-oriented programs.

The CBT and IBT in AMT Training: A Comparative Analysis

The computer-based (simulation, etc.) instruction techniques in the selected curriculum areas may be regarded as hypothetical substitutes for the already established classroom and instructor-based kinesthetic educational environments. In this section, a hypothetical comparative analysis shall be carried out in order to investigate the possible advantages and drawbacks of their introduction.

The aircraft drawings section of the AMT general curriculum encompasses such learning program outcomes as the use of aircraft drawings, symbols, and system schematics; repairs and alterations’ sketch drawings; blueprint information usage; and graphs and charts use (Federal Aviation Regulations, 2005, 14 CFR Part 147, §45, app. B). Given the graphics-oriented nature of this research area, it is fairly simple to envisage the implementation of the 3D-based VE software for the purposes of presenting and interpreting the respective aircraft and related drawings and sketches.

In comparison with the conventional pencil-based drawings and other manual methods, the 3D-based multi-touch applications may allow the trainees to develop greater flexibility and nimbleness in dealing with the kinesthetic tasks at hand. For instance, the 3D-based graph and chart simulation may be better perceived by the younger learners that are accustomed to digital modes of the data presentation than by their older colleagues who may still need tangible examples of the relevant paperwork. To address the latter’s concerns, a tablet-based tactile simulation platform may be used in order to integrate the CBT and IBT paradigms for both categories of the learners.

Weight and balance measurement training may likewise benefit from the more computer-based approach. As it was already noted by Kraus & Gramopadhye (2001), some of the AMT workers enrolled in the IBT-based participants’ group have complained that the manual weight and balance measuring procedures is relatively unfamiliar to them, given the fact that their company management has usually required them to implement computer-based, or even fully automatic procedures thereof (Kraus & Gramopadhye, 2001, pp.149-150).

Therefore, this response testifies to the growing proliferation of computer-based weighing and balance calculating techniques in daily aircraft maintenance and management. The task of both the regulators and the faculty community in this field would be to provide the most accessible tools and instruments for connecting the practical demands of the aviation industry with the necessary virtual tools used in AMT training.

Following Lee’s (2005) flight simulation guidelines, it may be inferred that the simulation of weight and balance attributes in a VE framework would proceed along the line of establishing a comprehensive virtual reality environment that would orient its users towards gaining a kinesthetic-based understanding of the weighing procedures. The exact programming patterns of this software should be developed with a view to integrating the potential of the 3D-based hardware platforms so that the end-users may have a full mastery of the modern simulation systems.

Finally, the materials and processes curriculum parts should be addressed by the integration of the 3D solid models' systems in the AMT basic training curriculum. By this means, the greater development of the tactile perception-based understanding of the various materials’ tangible qualities may be attained without the complications usually associated with the in-site testing and the respective instructions.

Kim et al (2001) describe the range of virtual reality physics simulation (VRPS) tools and techniques that may be used to design and develop the user-oriented VE software which would enable the trainees to practice their kinesthetic skills in dealing with 3D solid material and processes simulations. Given the importance of the latter procedures for AMT training, it is entirely feasible that the introduction and/or development of these software instruments would of great help to the younger students dissatisfied with the traditional forms of presenting the respective curriculum subjects.

Therefore, the development of VE simulation software in the relevant fields of the AMT curriculum may benefit the pedagogical innovators in this area, greatly improving the efficiency and flexibility of the younger learners from the post-1980 generations that are fundamentally more accustomed to the use of computer-based presentations and simulations in their learning curricula.

Simultaneously, the older learners may likewise draw advantages from the usage of the VE-based instruction methods, due to the latter’s facilitating the operational qualities of their already acquired kinesthetic skills. The comparison with the EU-approved learning curriculum demonstrates that the USA is lagging behind these nations in introducing the CBT-aligned elements into the AMT learning courses. Thus, this latter problem should be addressed in due time, as well.

 

Question #4

Statement of the Question

The development of the FAA curriculum has been apparently ill-fitted to the needs of the Millennial Generation that has begun entering the AMT training schools since the end of the 1990s. As it was already emphasized by Oblinger & Oblinger (2005), the Millennials are characterized by a high degree of self-confidence and trust toward innovative digital technologies, enabling them to master these latter with the relative ease. However, the FAA-approved curriculum is predicated on the outdated approaches basing themselves on the manual and face-to-face educational instruction, with no appropriate credit given to the electronic and specifically online software applications. Thus, the focus of this research question shall be placed on the challenges faced by the Millennials in the modern FAR Part 147 training schools and the possible use of the new technologies to overcome these challenges.

The Millennials and Part 147 Curriculum

As attested in Tab.1 (see p.21 of this research), the younger learners overwhelmingly representative of the Millennial Generation, or Net Gen did not manage to outperform their adult counterparts in the comparative kinesthetic tasks’ performance efficiency, as the differences between these two groups were not statistically significant to denote the Millennials’ or adult learners’ superiority in performing these tasks.

Given the conservative character of the present FAA curriculum, one may surmise that the Millennials were checked by the absence of the e-learning applications they have become accustomed to; while the adult learners were bolstered by the presence of previous kinesthetic tasks models they have operating memory schemas for (Tyler-Smith, 2006). Therefore, the lackluster performance of the Millennial students may be explained by the manual orientation of the present kinesthetic tasks’ curriculum.

White, Kroes, & Watson (2000) present the statistical data for the late 1990s AMT school enrollment, with a particular focus on the post-secondary students. According to their data, the enrollment levels as of the late 1990s fell significantly in comparison with the same data for the late 1980s (White, Kroes, & Watson, 2000, p.5). The authors refer to the 1998 study conducted by the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC), which collected quantitative data from 143 member schools representing 11,699 enrolled students. All these schools in total produced 3,388 graduates in 1998 (White, Kroes, & Watson, 2000, p.5). Thus, the data presented by this study may be considered a statistically significant one.

Therefore, of 75 respondents, the majority attributed their complications in the course of training and subsequent certification procedures to the arbitrary interpretation of the FAR Part 147 regulation by the FAA examination inspector, attendance policies, and curriculum modifications (White, Kroes, & Watson, 2000, p.8). Proceeding from the inference that the same trends would be likely to continue in the course of the following decade, it is possible to surmise that the Millennials entering the Part 147 training schools in the 2000s would have to deal with the same complicating factor that befell their 1990s predecessors. Thus, the issue of the lack of appropriate curriculum policies and the possible means of overcoming this problem should be examined, so as to identify the most prominent parts of the plausible curriculum changes.

The Curriculum Modernization and the VE Simulation Technologies

The plausible areas of curriculum modernization would include the development of computer-based training, with particular emphasis on the electronic simulation facilities. Thus, the development of the virtual reality simulation-oriented curriculum shall be considered, with the results of the modern electronic simulation applications in the applied technologies and aviation training reviewed.

Following Haritos & Macchiarella (2005), it is possible to consider the potential impact of the introduction of augmented reality (AR) instructional techniques in the AMT Part 147 curriculum. While previously on-the-job training (OTJ) has been widely considered to be an integral part of the AMT curriculum, the AR enables to create an almost identical simulation of the aircraft being under maintenance procedures, without the need to leave it to consult the external maintenance and troubleshooting manuals, as it would be the case with the makeshift hardware prototype of the actual plane used in the OTJ instruction and training. In this sense, the AR-based training applications may have a significant impact on the methodological structure of the Part 147 curriculum.

The example of the other nations in this respect may be utilized to conceive of the possible benefits derived from the introduction of e-learning techniques in the FAR Part 147 curriculum. For instance, the EU and in particular German and UK aviation training schools have long incorporated the standards oriented towards the greater use of the CBT approach. Scholz & Thorbeck (2000) discuss several important examples of the fairly recent development of the AME-oriented CBT courses.

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For instance, the British TRO Learning has invested 20 man-years in the development of the jet aircraft maintenance fundamentals (JAMF) training course for Lufthansa Technical Training (LTT), which was in 1998 picked upon by the VEGA Group PLCS after the latter acquired the TRO Learning’s major share. In total, 150-course hours were covered with the initial TRO course, with real-world examples from the operational activities of the Boeing and Airbus corporations (Scholz & Thorbeck, 2000, p.173.4).

The VEGA-induced development of the same program included the further research and development into a PC-based aircraft systems concepts (ASC) trainer, which is built on the principle of using multimedia elements to assist the instructors in conveying the main concepts and operational principles of the aircraft systems in several typical passenger jet aircraft models. At the same time, the use of log software has enabled the self-learning by the students, with subsequent control over their performance exerted by the instructors (Scholz & Thorbeck, 2000, p.173.4).

Finally, Airbus and Boeing have made similar investments into the development of the CBT systems for training their own AME/AMT personnel. The 2000 Boeing aviation maintenance course, e.g., encompassed both instructor-led and student-paced CBT lessons and training exercises, with interactive tutorials, diagrams, and schematics presented to the students as the case may be (Scholz & Thorbeck, 2000, p.173.5). Both Boeing and Airbus CBT courses have focused on the authoritative simulation of the aircraft technician’s working environment, presenting a connection between the practical requirements of the industry and the innovative e-learning education in this field.

The other area-specific simulation systems have been developed to address the issues of aviation pilot and/or flight engineer training. In particular, Baker et al (1993) describe the introduction of aviation games as a part of the crew resource management (CRM) training. The tabletop aircrew coordination simulators, such as Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0B, were introduced for the first time in the 1990s to address the issue of discrepancy in flight attitude between the pilots that felt ‘superior’ and their less prominent peers. The net result was to register the extremely positive feedback of the aircrews involved in the high level of realism produced in this simulator software (Baker et al., 1993, p.152). Thus, already the early simulation programs may have played an important role in aircrew training.

The introduction of the online and distance electronic learning strategies into aviation training may serve as a further enhancement of the training’s efficiency. For instance, Artino (2008) showed how the use of online-based flight physiology and aviation survival training course introduced in the U.S. The Navy service academy contributed to greater interest and academic performance among the participants, as their motivational beliefs concerning the online training were apparently higher than those for the traditional, face-to-face one (Artino, 2008, p.267). Given that the mean age of the survey participants was 20.4 (SD = 1.0, range – 18-24), with 780 students being included in the sample, it may be evident that online courses will be rather conducive of increased academic performance among the Millennial students in aviation training (Artino, 2008, p.263).

Nevertheless, adult learners may benefit from the greater focus on e-learning and online learning as well. As explained by Kulik, Kulik, & Shwalb (1986), the use of CBT training methods had a better impact upon older learners than it might have been expected; both instruction time and median examination scores of the adult students involved demonstrated the tendency for positive development, with the latter attaining the median level of 0.42 (C. Kulik, J. Kulik, & Shwalb, 1986).

The results of the more recent studies in the field seem to have validated this 1986 research outcome; as observed by Cercone (2008), adult learners involved in distant e-learning education are better motivated to engage in such an educational activity if the relevance of the latter to their internal motivation (i.e. the promise of the increased income or job performance) is properly demonstrated. Given the tangible connection between the adults’ experiential learning style and the accumulation of new practical knowledge, one may expect that more adults enrolling in AMT training schools would engage in e-learning and training, as the importance of digital technologies in aviation maintenance may become more apparent.

Question #5

Statement of the Question

The FAR Part 147 curriculum is characterized by the high level of generality and complexity, encompassing both engine type-specific and general training subjects that relate to diverse complexity levels. When viewed from the lens of the limited timeframe of the AMT basic training course (1,900 hours for the total curriculum), it becomes apparent that an average AMT license applicant may be at odds to comply with the stringent curriculum demands that he/she has to fulfill before applying for the AMT license.

This research question will deal with the problems of the FAR Part 147 curriculum simplification and standardization. To this end, the FAA curriculum comparison with the Transport Canada and the EASA curriculum regulations and student requirements shall be carried out, in order to specify the exact guidelines for the FAA curriculum and certification system’s streamlining.

The U.S. and International Aviation Community’s AME/AMT Training Standards: A Comparison

The FAA certification standards may be compared and contrasted to those of the Canadian, European and Australian agencies dealing with the relevant issues. While the latter appears to be following a uniform certification system based on the differentiated AME categories (see Question #1, Section 2 for the relevant information), the FAA curriculum standards are prone to generalizing tendencies, with all the categories of the AMTs (i.e. airframe and/or powerplant professionals) required to follow the same model of the curriculum proceedings.

The dismal lack of the CBT instruction that has been already highlighted in the previous sections is especially indicative here; while the Australian and Canadian aviation maintenance instruction standards place special emphasis on the digital education of their prospective specialists, the FAR Part 147 curriculum includes next to none of the relevant provisions in this field, limiting itself to the vague phrases on the desirability of the availability of microfilms and computer tutorials to the specific courses, as well as the possibility of the implementation of general computer test upon the latter’s completion (Federal Aviation Administration, 2000). This stands in the stark contrast with the respective provisions of the Transport Canada’s curriculum providing for the whole courses dedicated to computer-based maintenance facilities and appliances (Transport Canada, 2012).

Thus, the problem of connecting the FAA standards with those of the rest of the developed countries’ aviation maintenance community may be generally seen as dependent on the development of the uniform technological standards for the community in question. Thus, the issue of the technological assumptions used in both models of the curriculum should be addressed.

The U.S. and Canadian Technological Standards in the AMT/AME Training

The comparison between the Canadian and U.S. technological standards in the AMT/AME professionals’ training may indicate that the Canadian side puts greater emphasis on the distinct technological systems, such as Underwater Locating Devices, microprocessors used in data transfer or the similar technological systems. On the contrary, the American AMT examination and certification system rests on the principle of the domination of the general technological curriculum over the specific technical applications, as it is evident from the FAR Part 147 course subject lists. The American AMTs have to face the larger numbers of the general and multitasking challenges when fulfilling the recommendations of their curriculum, as opposed to the Canadian AMEs, who depend on the more narrowed-down curriculum list.

The Canadian certification system is characteristically oriented towards the more job-specific tasks and proficiencies. For instance, upon graduation, the AME students specializing in large aircraft are obliged to be able to explain such facts and phenomena as the “the procedures used to inspect and test the operation of avionics and auto-flight systems representative of those installed in large aircraft” or to troubleshoot the appliances ranging from the large aircraft’s propeller and flight systems to airframe structures and dynamic components (Transport Canada, 2012, 566.15). In this sense, the Canadian certification system is adapted to the needs of specific aviation sectors.

On the other hand, the FAA-approved certification procedures demand compliance with the general curriculum and the fulfillment of the required experience period goals. Due to the lack of their specificity, the FAA technological standards do not conform to the detailed framework elaborated by Transport Canada.

The overcoming of the technological standards’ discrepancies that is evident in the case of the U.S. and Canadian AMT/AME certification frameworks requires the implementation of the more uniform and aircraft-specific approach on behalf of the FAA. This would be made possible by the introduction of the unified North American AMT/AME training standards, which would require the concerted action on behalf of both agencies.

Social Aspects

The aforementioned differences in technical standards and requirements may be construed as having an impact upon the social conditions both the American AMTs and Canadian AMEs find themselves in. These specialists are confronted with the labor market that is built on the premises of significant specialization in the employees’ work activities. However, it may be inferred that Canadian AMEs have a relatively greater competitive advantage than their American counterparts, due to the former being trained in accordance with the probable demand of varied industries under consideration, e.g. large passenger aircraft companies, such as Boeing or Lockheed.

The American AMTs, on the other hand, receive primarily generalist training that did not enable them to face the full challenges of the individual employer’s requirements. Together with the lack of digitally-oriented instructional methods, this might have an adverse impact on the U.S. AMTs’ competitiveness.

Environmental Aspects

As it was already noted in Questions #1 and #2, the American system of the AMT training is built on the principle of generic curriculum requirements that do not differentiate between various categories of the students. While some professional profiles are delimited by the FAA (i.e. airframe and/or powerplant technicians), in total, the AMT curriculum is characterized by the lack of the necessary specificity. The generalist approach toward the students’ knowledge may lead to significant discrepancies between the market’s demands and the Part 147 school performance (see above).

On the other hand, the Canadian certification system is generally oriented toward the diversified labor market milieu, with specific fields and sub-fields treated separately in their curricular demands. Such a situation would enable the learners to take account of the shifting labor market situation.

Political Aspects

The policy aspects of the FAA and Transport Canada attitude to the development of the AMT/AME curricula may be conceptualized as the reflection of these agencies’ differing strategic perspectives. On the one hand, the FAA appears to be still entrenched into older conceptions of the aviation maintenance development as the one dominated by the hands-on, manual approaches to the technical problems’ troubleshooting. In contrast, Transport Canada seems to be following on the track of the other developed countries’ regulating agencies, in focusing on the development of the workforce capable to deal with the challenges inherent in modern digitalized labor market conditions.

The FAA and EASA aviation maintenance incident rates: Possible causes and implications

The initial hypothesis in this respect has been that there was no observable differentiation in statistical occurrences of the maintenance-related incidents between the EU and American AMT/AME services. However, the data obtained from the statistical reports by the respective institutions seem to be showing that the USA has seemingly avoided the damages incurred by the European airlines due to the maintenance-related incidents.

For instance, according to the data supplied by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, to be later transmitted to the EASA, 3,983 Mandatory Occurrence Reports (MORs) were registered for the period between January 1, 1996, and December 31, 2006 (CAA, 2009, p.1). The reports were collected from the different specimens of larger fixed jet-wing aircraft, including large passenger aircraft. At the same time, Goldman, Fielder & King (2002) demonstrated that the occurrences of the FAA-reported maintenance-related incidents for the statistically similar period of 1988-1997 were much rarer, with 1,503 reports produced overall (2002, p.i). Thus, paradoxically enough, the 1990s FAA model has been more efficient in precluding aviation maintenance incidents than the 2000s EASA-based one.

Conclusions

Having reviewed and examined 5 main research questions that have formed the basis for this examination, it is possible to reach certain conclusions on the relative merits and deficiencies of the FAA-approved curriculum, and, in particular, its relevance for both adult and post-secondary learners. However, it should be borne in mind that such conclusions may be of generally relative character.

  1. First, the research in question demonstrated that the FAA curriculum and certification system may seem outdated in comparison with its EU, Canadian and Australian counterparts. The key dimensions to be considered here is the lack of the students’ specialization, which may lead to the greater dependence on the ultimately generic curriculum to the detriment of the specialist knowledge; the absence of the relevant emphasis on e-learning and online instruction; the use of the outdated models inherited from the post-1958 era. Thus, the amelioration of all of these issues necessitates the development of the modernized curriculum as has already been the case in the EU aviation maintenance engineer training.
  2. Second, the FAA has been lacking in the development of a particular focus on the needs and specific potential of adult learners. However, it should be cautioned that the same situation may be observable in the case of the other regulatory agencies, including the European and Canadian ones. One may suggest that the lack of concern for the needs of adult learners appear to be the problem common to all major aviation authorities.
  3. Finally, the subject of e-learning and the adaptation of the respective curriculum to the needs of the Millennial Generation should be mentioned here. From the information presented in the respective publications and research studies, one may surmise that the issues of digital learning have been simultaneously considered and neglected by the regulators, depending on different contexts. In general, though, it might appear as if the American and foreign regulator bodies are still unsure whether it is possible to fully integrate e-learning into the traditional AMT/AME curriculum, thus leading to greater concerns with the facilitation of the new generation of AMT/AME professionals into the industry.

In general, though, the aforementioned research showed that the problems of educational and technological standards are ultimately predicated upon the intergenerational conflicts and preferences. Thus, one may expect that these issues may be swiftly addressed, as the Millennials increase their participation in the aviation industry.

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