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A Maintenance Simulator for Air Force Engineers:

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Kai Yuan Thng

on 13 March 2014

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Transcript of A Maintenance Simulator for Air Force Engineers:

A Maintenance Simulator for Air Force Engineers:
The RSAF Experience

The Impetus for a Virtual Hangar Trainer (VHT)
Introduction to the VHT
Aligning New Instructional Strategies & Assessment with VHT
VHT’s Value Proposition
VHT Training Validation
Mindset Change
Way Ahead
Aligning New Instructional Strategies & Assessment with VHT
To fulfil its desired purpose and intent, the acquired learning technology must be matched with relevant instructional strategies and assessment methods.
VHT Training Validation
An experiment was carried out to evaluate:

1. Learning effectiveness outcomes in Knowledge (K), Skills (S), and Safety Awareness (A)

2. Trainees’ performance efficiency on maintenance tasks

3. Resource efficiency outcome assessed through instructor man-hours savings
The Impetus for a VHT
The VHT arose out of
limitations in the traditional conduct of maintenance training
Introduction to the VHT
Immersive & realistic maintenance hangar simulator
3-Dimensional virtual reality environment
Modelled after operational workplaces & aircraft
Comprises of three stations:
Mindset Change
Thoughtless use of technology for training is a liability, not an asset

To achieve desired learning outcomes, technology must be aligned with the right mindset and suitable instructional strategies and assessment
Instructor-Led Teaching
Limited engagement
Limited retention of knowledge
Reliance on Physical Assets
Limited realism
Limited training resources
Training Gap Analysis
3 Domains of Learning:
Trainee Station
Work individually or in teams to complete realistic missions
Multi-user platform (up to 3 pax)
Interact via Wii controller
Instructor Station
Allows an instructor to:
Select the desired mission
Oversee the mission execution
Inject emergency scenarios
Assess trainees' performance
Record trainees' attempts
Observer Station
Allows the rest of the class to watch the current attempt

They will act as peer critics, identifying good practices and areas of improvement which will be shared in the Post-Action Sharing

This promotes collaborative learning
Military Expert 5 Ryan Ng, Chief Instructor, AETI

Air Engineering Training Institute (AETI), Republic of Singapore Air Force

Domain of Learning:
Learning Outcome:
Training Gap
Inadequate training realism.

Under the previous training mode, it was not possible to set up real work environment to test trainees’ application of safety knowledge such as aircraft emergency responses.
The VHT simulates operational environment and platforms and the capability to inject emergency scenarios, henceforth achieving greater training realism.
Domain of Learning:
Learning Outcome:
Training Gap
Former hangar hands-on practical relies heavily on limited physical assets & equipment resulting in time spent waiting and setting up. This implies less time available for real hands-on practice to achieve a high level of precision.
Through more procedural training in the VHT, trainees would have had a strong foundation of maintenance procedures which would allow them to spend more time perfecting their degree of precision in real hangars.
Domain of Learning:
Learning Outcome:
Training Gap
Previously, due to resource constraints, safety topics were taught in a didactic manner. While safety awareness was inculcated, understanding the cause & consequences of unsafe actions could be better internalised.
Through practising the various emergency scenarios, trainees learn the cause and consequences of any unsafe actions, in a safe training environment.
Level 3 (Application)
Level 3 (Precision)
Internalising Safety Attitudes: Understanding the Causes & Consequences of Unsafe Actions
Learning Technology
Instructional Strategies
Assessment Methods
Former Strategy
New Strategy
1. Classroom Lessons
Didactic learning
Mostly through PowerPoint presentations
2. Real Hangar Training
Practice on retired and inert aircraft & equipment
Acquiring procedural and safety knowledge
3. Real Hangar Practice
2. VHT Sessions
Blended learning approach
Active learning pedagogies
1. Theory Lessons
Active & Independent Learning
1. Enhanced Learning Space (ELS)
2. Wikis
3. Interactive Coursewares (ICW)
Targeted Teaching
A pre-lesson quiz, used in tandem with diagnostic tools, will be used to identify areas of difficulty and weaker students

Instructors will then be able spend time productively - clarifying doubts, tackling areas of difficulty, and assisting weaker trainees

As teaching becomes more targeted, learning becomes more effective and efficient
Pre-Lesson Brief
Playback and recollect lessons learnt from former attempts

Mission briefing
Experiential Learning
2 VHT attempts per trainee
Up to three trainees can work together on a single mission
Realistic environment & platforms
Learn through mistakes & good practices
Imbues a safety attitude
Simulated emergency responses
Attempts can be recorded and played-back
Post-Lesson Debrief
Collectively reflect, analyse, and learn from mistakes and good practices
Procedural familiarisation
Internalising safety attitudes
Honing maintenance skills
Internalising safety attitudes
1. Instructor's brief
Safety precautions
Verbal explanation
2. Supervised practice
3. Assessed performance
Former Assessment Methods
Summative approach
New Assessment Methods
Formative approach
1. Theory
Pen and paper examinations
Reactive approach

2. Practical
"Observe and follow" the instructor
1. Theory
Proactive approach
Pre-lesson quiz
Post-lesson quiz

2. VHT Sessions
Graded attempt
Graded post-action sharing

3. Practical
Evaluated on safety awareness, procedural proficiency, communication skills, and timeliness
VHT's Value Proposition
Improved Training Efficiency
Enhanced Training Effectiveness
Higher level of involvement and engagement in using VHT to teach hangar safety and emergency responses

According to Edgar Dale's Cone of Learning, active involvement improves retention of knowledge

VHT's game-based design arouses greater interest among Gen-Y learners

Our experimental results showed:
An increase in Level 3 (Application) learning
An improvement of 29.7% in AFE ab-initio skills development
An improvement of 22.2% in safety awareness
Improved Training Safety
The VHT provides a safe virtual environment for trainees to make mistakes and learn experientially

Experiential learning imbues greater safety awareness and attitude in trainees, making it safer for trainees to participate subsequent real hangar trainings
Strengthened Instructor Competency
Through the use of the VHT, our instructors have gained competence in instructional design using simulation and virtual technologies

This in-house expertise gives us confidence in inducting more learning technologies
Operational Benefits
The VHT features multiple operational aircraft and realistic simulation

This equips trainees with transferrable and directly applicable skills and knowledge

The new instructional strategy improves trainees' precision and accuracy in completing maintenance tasks, reducing maintenance errors and improving flight-worthiness of operational aircraft

The new training method also improves trainees' task efficiency, leading to faster generation of aircraft in operation
VHT overcomes resource constraints in traditional hangar training

This reduces waiting time, saving close to 10% of instructor-hours used for hangar training

These savings have been ploughed back for:
Further curriculum improvement
Supporting new training demands
Learning Effectiveness Outcomes
Resource Efficiency
The control group underwent:
3 hangar sessions of 4 man-hours each
Total man-hours = 3 x 4 man-hours = 12 man-hours

The experiment group underwent:
2 VHT sessions of 2 man-hours each, and 1 hangar session of 4 man-hours
Total man-hours = (2 x 2) + (1 x 4) man-hours
= 8 man-hours

Savings = 12 - 8 man-hours = 4 man-hours (33%)

The experiment group achieved better learning outcomes with an increased 33% in resource efficiency.
Trainees' Performance Efficiency
The experiment group took 5 minutes less than the control group to complete a 45-minute standard maintenance task

This translates to an improvement of 11.6% in work efficiency
60 Trainees
Control Group
Experiment Group
30 Trainees taught through the new method of instruction.

A pre-post test is conducted
30 Trainees taught through the former method of instruction.

A pre-post test is conducted
Safety Awareness
Experiential learning through VHT enhanced the effectiveness of AFE ab-initio skills development by 29.7%

This implies that trainees who learn through the VHT would make less maintenance errors
Safety awareness is better internalised through experiential learning

Greater safety awareness translates to less safety errors in aircraft maintenance and higher levels of flight worthiness
Experiment group outperformed control group by an average difference of 24%

44.4% more trainees in the experimental group demonstrated a higher level of psychomotor ability (precision)

29.7% more trainees in the experimental group performed the maintenance task accurately with limited guidance
The experiment group outperformed the control group by an average of 22.2% in the safety awareness test
Majority of our instructors are from Gen-X:
They are brought up under traditional modes of learning
Conventional approaches had worked for them and they are comfortable with the status-quo
They may lack technical skills to operate new technologies
They may also lack the know-how to devise new instructional strategies to be used in tandem with new learning technologies

Majority of our trainees are from Gen-Y:
They are commonly described as 'digital natives'

Therefore, there exists differences in how Gen-Y trainees prefer to learn and how Gen-X instructors were taught
To allay instructors' apprehension, their challenges on using learning technology must be addressed. A two-pronged approach was adopted to tackle these challenges:

1. Strengthening Instructors' Competency
This was easily improved through training provided by the vendor.

2. Change Management
We adopted change management guru Prof John P. Kotter's change management strategy.
Kotter's Change Strategy
Kotter's Change Strategy comprises of eight steps:
Managing Generational Change
1. Establishing a Sense of Urgency
We engaged credible speakers, including professors from the National Institute of Education (NIE), to share:
The profile of new generation learners
Why conventional teaching approaches need to change to effectively engage new generation learners or clinch major opportunities in learning technology from the education industry such as the Ministry of Education (MOE)
2. Forming a Powerful Guiding Coalition
We assembled an empowered and cohesive group to lead the change effort.
3. Creating a Vision
We clearly defined the desired learning outcomes from the onset.
4. Communicating the Vision
Regular sharing of project vision and progress through workshops

This ensured that efforts are constantly aligned to the desired end-state, in a progressive manner
5. Empowering Others to Act on the Vision
We partnered our instructors with the vendor in the design & development of the VHT to co-create contents
6. Planning for and Creating Short-Term Wins
We recognised and rewarded staff involved in the project and those who created improvements

We also planned for visible improvements at regular intervals
7. Consolidating Improvements and Producing Still More Change
We used increased credibility to encourage and introduce more technology in the learning environment
8. Institutionalising New Approaches
We developed and adapted new instructional strategies and assessment methods in line with the VHT to establish a new culture of teaching and learning

These were incorporated into the newly developed VHT curriculum
Steps 1 through 6 helped to ensure initial success
Steps 7 & 8 ensured that our desired results were built to last
At step 7, we rode on the momentum of positive confidence of our initial success to introduce projects of larger scale, even applying lessons learnt from our initial project
This made our process more efficient, creating a more positive experience to achieve great new heights
AETI School implemented the new instructional strategies and assessments into the newly developed VHT curriculum in step 8
Results show that learning through VHT is more effective

VHT triggers higher cognitive learning (Level 3: Application)

Experiential learning reinforces knowledge retention, thereby strengthening learners’ ability to apply their theory knowledge
Way Ahead
Expanding our library of training scenarios in the VHT

Re-investing resources saved into further curriculum design and improvement
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