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New Learning Objectives

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  • New Learning Objectives

    A Rulemaking Committee was recently assembled at EASA, the purpose of which was to review the current Learning Objectives for the EASA exams and, by extension, the questions. Aside from various Authorities, also present were representatives from the training industry, ranging from major airline schools to independent theoretical knowledge providers (i.e. us!)

    Feedback from various interested parties indicated that the present rote learning system was not suitable for modern circumstances, especially in the light of recent accidents that could only be put down to lack of in-depth knowledge. Having said that, it was also acknowledged that knowing the colour of the gas in a ring laser gyro (for example) was also less than beneficial. The main problem appears to be that, while pilots come out of the exams knowing many facts, there seems to be an inability to understand the subject, and later apply the knowledge gained. This especially showed up in simulator training.

    After two days, the conclusion was that the new questions being added to the ECQB would be written in a way that would test the application of knowledge. Given that many authorities are now using electronic exam systems, the technology now exists to use different forms of questions, such as requiring the insertion of a word or a number in response to a question, as is already done in Germany (on another note, the intention is, at some stage, to reduce the number of multi-choice responses to three).
    However, the questions are secondary to the Learning Objectives, and it is these that will be getting a major overhaul, starting with a "quick fix" so that new questions are not written in areas that will later be redundant (due to the rulemaking process within Europe, there is a small window of opportunity to change legislation in the very near future, but the total process is expected to take around 18 months to 2 years).

    So, there is going to be a major overhaul of the Learning Objectives, this time by the end users and those who are going to be doing the teaching. The main subject areas will likely remain as they are, with the possible combination of VFR & IFR communications, and the addition of a mental maths exam, as the modern education system seems to leave major gaps in the abilities of new cadets (such questions may also be included in an exam that currently does not require a calculator).