Have you ever been driving with your mother on the passenger's seat identifying all sort of potential threats? Well, this is what I am talking about: to what extent is this a nuisance and to what extent, if used effectively and appropriately, could serve us as a safety net in our safety critical work:
In human factors we best describe the way how we arrive to take decisions through what is called the Human Information Processing Model.
In a nutshell we receive data from outside in the form of stimuli. This 'raw data' is received through our senses. We perceive this data through an internal processing system (something like when a computer processes data to produce information). Internally we process the data through a series of iterations between our short term (or working) memory, which temporarily keeps the data we receive and the longer term memory from which we retrieved learned information (that we acquired through previous experiences). We mish-mash, reiterate, and make sense of the situation (situational awareness). This awareness is kept in the short term memory, and through it we take decisions.
I put a drawing to illustrate the process.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="272"] Human information process model[/caption]
In safety critical operations (but not just) we want to take correct decisions, and using the model above, the correctness depends on a number of factors which include our ability of physically receive the data, to have a will functioning long and short term memory and that the long term memory contains relevant content (skill / knowledge / experience).
But we also depend on perception.
And perception can be tricked. What we perceive depends on context, on the situation, on our long term memory and on a number of other factors that are beyond our control. Beyond our control because we have evolved this way. We need this perception processing to help us make sense of the world, it is just that sometimes, our perception is not adapted to the situation and it tricks us...and we take wrong decisions...
Watch this very interesting TED video on perception if you have any doubts on what I am saying.
Well, then what do we do?
The first step is to be aware of it (as many people unfortunately are not and think that what they perceive is the same as what is physically out there.)
The second is to find methods for mitigation and what can these be in our safety critical operations?
Well here is some advise:
1. If we are designers of systems, procedures, programmes, etc. we should be aware and sensible about perception and how our brain works. In small projects where resources and impact are limited, we should consider whether we could create situations, where without wanting, the minds of those operating could be 'tricked' into wrong decisions. If we are talking about bigger projects, then we should involve Human Factors Experts and have a process like Eurocontrol's Human Factors' Case.
2. If we are those on the hot seat, we will need to find ways to mitigate. Here are some:
Train ourselves to identify patterns where things may start going into a wrong direction: Example of these, is to be aware of the environment and identify feedback received by it, and start noticing and questioning when this feedback seems 'strange'. It is like sharpening our instincts. This can be done through training, but mainly involves experience, power of observation and self criticism.
Another mitigation is team situational awareness. Having a team working we are adding more resources that can identify patterns and we are adding diversity to perception bias. Team situational awareness means that other team members, are aware of what you are doing and are following the same situation but from a slightly different role / angle. The trick is not to do the same tasks, as here we are reducing diversity. It is to have complimentary tasks whilst sharing similar awareness of the situation. How do this? To start with we need to have a minimum degree of competence in the tasks. We also need to be familiar with the team, and with the individuals composing the team, how we all work, procedures, practices, etc. This is a process which is built over time and through meetings, sharing of experiences, etc. We need to have agreed ways of working as a team, not to give each other unnecessary frights (remember your mother on the passengers seat giving you the fright of your life?) Then the person making the decisions (I am thinking short term decisions, such as taking actions whilst controlling aircraft or maintaining a system) should articulate the decision they are about to take. This allows the other team member(s) to follow the process and to be aware of what is going on. Other team members would need to keep to their tasks and not get 100% involved in the task of the team member they are helping out (we're not talking of 2 drivers here). For example, if we have a situation with an executive controller and a coordinator, those who have experienced this would agree that whilst both following the same situation, if the roles are respected, the coordinator is able to keep a view of the broader picture, whilst following what the executive is doing. On the other hand, the executive is focussing on responding and taking an active role in the decisions. As those who have observed someone in the hot seat would tell you, from the back seat you see things that you wonder how come the person acting has not yet seen, yet when the observer switches seats and goes into the hot zone, his / her perspective also changes. This happens in every day life with back seat driving - thus the example which gave the title to this post. In ATC this happens with the instructor role for example.
What we need to do is to make the best of this situation and use it to identify issues that are being missed by the hot seat and assist in this way. This is team situational awareness...
- We experience the environment in a processed manner called perception.
- While what we perceive feeds into the decisions we take, what we perceive is not necessarly what is going on. This is not a weakness, it is a state of us being human and alive.
- In order to mitigate this danger we need to first be aware of this.
- Then we can do a number of things to mitigate further. Two of these are:
- Train ourselves in identifying feedback patterns from the environment where things seem to be wrong, a sort of sharpening our instincts. This comes with training but mostly with experience
- Build team situational awareness. For this we need a team. We need to share tasks in a complimentary manner to allow things to be perceived through at least slightly different contexts. We need to articulate our decisions, and we should not be afraid of having situations where one of us is on the hot seat and the other on the back seat. Both are complimentary functions.
These are the kind of things we at AriaTM teach and facilitate during our Team Resources Management sessions.
I have developed the training plans and training material for
- Team Resources Management
- On the Job Instructor Training
- ATS Supervisor Management
- Competence Assessors and Evaluators
- Classroom Instruction Techniques
- Simulator Instructor Training (and all the refresher training for the courses above)
The courses can be delivered to different Air Traffic Management personnel including ATCOs, ATSEPs, Apron Controllers, Airport airside related personnel, etc. The material is developed based on guidelines and specifications when these are available and on best practice and personal experience, either giving the courses, listening to attendants or from direct experience.
I normally collaborate with other professionals both in the design and in the delivery of these courses, which, I believe, makes the content even richer. I have a 2d portable simulator that I use to enable role play in courses like OJTI, Sim Instructor or Competence Assessor.
My principal model is to go to the client and deliver the training reducing to a maximum the administrative overhead and concentrating on the quality.
I am also open to deliver these courses to individuals if so requested.
Presently I am also working on support to improve English language proficiency.
Should you want more information, please do not hesitate to drop me a line at email@example.com
It was a very interesting day which had the main objective of introducing Air Traffic Control to the public. The day was divided into different parts ranging from presentations about air traffic control, to demonstrations about controllong aircraft in a simulator to finally a hands on for those who wanted to try ATC. The presentations and the demonstration were given by air traffic controllers but the event was organised by a non profit organisation made up of non professionals who are enthusiastic and passionate about air traffic control. This event led me essentially to two thoughts; the first being, how beneficial it is to organise similar open days or awareness days for the public of a profession which otherwise stays in the shadows most of the time (and one normally hears about it negatively: either because of an incident, a delay (the pilot saying it is due to air traffic control) or because of a strike. The second thought was: had it to be a group of non professionals to have this great idea and organise this day? Where are the professionals? Should we not do more of this in every corner of the world? Perhaps finally there will be more who will understand what the work is about, a few more who wish to become air traffic controllers, a few more who move away from the cliche of "oh it must be a stressful job" and closer to understanding a bit more what this stress is about, what safety is about, what controllers worry about... I think it would very much benefit the profession, who needs to keep in contact with the public. So if you are part of a professional guild of Air Traffic Controllers, I encourage you to organise a similar yearly event in your community to preach about your profession. Also coincidentally last week the IFATCA general conference took place. (I hope it was a great success!) I suggest to IFATCA to consider to run an ATC open day to the public in parallel with the general conference and with the regional conferences. When the conference goes to a place, apart from lobbying the local authorities, we could reach the public there and educate them about our profession. Finally, if you are in Spain and are enthousiastic about air traffic control I suggest you join the non profit organisation who organised this. They are called OECAV (www.oecav.org). (not linked to IVAO) They are very proactive and doing a good job in our name. Supporting them is the least we can do!
2 years and a half ago I wrote a post on games developed by the German DFS to introduce potential candidate student controllers to the skills necessary to carry out the functions of an air traffic control. You can refer to that post by clicking here.
I have recently discovered a similar pack of games produced by the British NATS designed so that potential candidates could self test (and have some fun, I hope) whether they have the skills NATS will be looking for should they apply for pre selection on an initial course.
The idea is similar to the one presented by the DFS, the skill-set sought overlaps to the German one but in some aspects it is also complimentary.
The NATS pack looks at the ability of:
- Tracking elements on a screen
- Spacial Awareness
- The ability to Sequence and to Separate elements in motion over a 2 dimensional plane
They are good fun and for free, you should try them if you are an aspirant candidate, if you´re looking for a little challenge, or, if you are a controller, to finally see whether you have what it takes! ;)Here it the link. Well done NATS!
Four and a half years ago, I had written an article on this blog about the use of simulators during pre-ojt. Recently, I started pondering again about this, and, having forgotten that I had written that article, I now see that on the fundamentals my opinion has not changed, however it has evolved in a substantial manner.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="351" caption="Tower Simulator Picture embedded from: http://www.airport-technology.com/"][/caption] To put it in a nutshell, I still believe that there is a clear benefit of using (hi fidelity) simulators during unit training, but whereas then I linked the use to solely pre-OJT, that is preparation for the on the job training, I now see that simulators have the potential to add value in terms of better and more efficient training, not only before OJT but also during this final phase of unit training. I will explain more a bit later but before I just want to note that I have the impression that since I wrote the first article back in 2007, not only the use of simulators in unit training has not increased, but the very term of pre-ojt (and therefore the only link that has existed so far between unit training and simulators) has been disappearing from the radar screen. A proof of this is that neither the EC directive 2006/23/EC nor the more recent EU regulation 805/11 mention pre-ojt or the use of simulators in unit training any more, whereas Eurocontrol's licensing manual used to. I find this a real pity, especially because with time passing and with technology and automation supposedly (and in many ways is) becoming more accessible, in terms of training we seem to be going in the opposite direction. Unit training. The EU regulation defines unit training as the phase composed of transitional training preparing the student for on the job training and the on the job training itself. It could almost call unit training `On the job training and anything needed to prepare you for it` Unit training, in my opinion should be better defined as phase of training before the validation of a ratings and rating endorsements and or new unit endorsements which consists of:
- Learning and practicing local procedures and interaction with the system* in use at the unit
- Consolidation and more practice time of the skills acquired during the initial phase of training
Amoxicillin For Sale, In this article I will look at learning the ATC culture during initial training and the corresponding role of the instructor. But before I begin, a short preface:
Of knowledge and culture.
We could say that to be successful in a particular field one would need a combination of ingredients, rather like a good balanced recipe. These ingredients are:
knowledge of what needs to be done, Amoxicillin dosage,
knowledge and application of how to behave in the environment and
good doses of luck, Buy Amoxicillin online cod, audacity and timing.
(this article appeared in the latest issue of the Hindisght magazine)
It would be very interesting to have a look at how luck, audacity and timing play their role in successful ATC, but that would need a separate article with a focus on ¨The other factors¨ (maybe in a future edition of Hindsight?). In this one I will focus on the first two points on the list which, no prescription Amoxicillin online, for the sake of brevity, we could call:
Knowledge the one I referred to as ‘knowledge of what needs to be done’ and
Culture (short for: ¨understanding and thriving in the culture¨) the I referred to as ‘knowledge and application of how to behave….’
Whereas knowledge could be considered as a ´hard´ component - you know it and apply it or you don´t, culture is softer, Amoxicillin results, and the subtleties of behaviour are harder to teach and/or learn.
In any learning activity there is both formal and informal learning. Amoxicillin natural, We could say that formal learning is what is contained in a training syllabus and therefore what will be formally taught in a training establishment. Informal learning, on the other hand, is what a person learns that will help them in the tasks they are to carry out, but which is not itself part of the syllabus.
To illustrate the four items above, if we consider a student learning how to drive, then:
Knowledge is what the student knows in terms of traffic signs, right of way and of handling of the car.
Culture is how to stay calm (or lose it), how to behave in traffic jams or in busy parking lots, when to use or not the horn, etc.
Formal learning would be what the student learns on the books and during the practice hours with their instructor.
Informal learning would be what they learn (or shouldn´t learn) by observing their father drive through the years.
If we apply all the above to initial ATC training, we see that in terms of formal training, we have many hard objectives focusing on the knowledge component – e.g, Amoxicillin For Sale. all the basic subjects like Navigation, Meteorology, ATM, .., Amoxicillin australia, uk, us, usa. (with the exclusion of Human Factors) and all the procedures in the Rating part including most of the practice in the simulator. At the end of this, the student who passes will ¨know what needs to be done¨, Amoxicillin online cod, will obtain a student licence and will be eligible to start unit training.
Formal learning in terms of culture is mainly covered in the Human Factors modules and in others dealing with the professional environment. These modules teach how to ¨behave in the environment¨ and include some application through role play and familiarisation visits.
Amoxicillin For Sale, This is already a very good start, however since the ATC culture is very rich, in my opinion one can do more – and in many schools actually more is done. In the definition of ATC culture, I would include amongst other aspects how to behave in an operations room, where can i buy cheapest Amoxicillin online, how to work in a team, safety culture*, and the concept of service in terms of efficiency and order.
In terms of a training organisation, it is never too early to introduce as much ATC culture to students as possible. It is true that initial training is detached from the operations room and that there are still training phases later on, such as the on the job training, low dose Amoxicillin, when the student will have the opportunity to learn culture. However from experience, on the one hand students are eager for information on how it will feel to work as a controller and are sponges for behaviours and attitudes (good and bad ones) in the ATC world and on the other hand having the students already assimilating part of the culture as early as possible is of great benefit for their understanding of what the ATC world is about.
Culture can be transmitted during training in a number of ways, a couple of which are:
imitating the real environment whenever it benefits training and
raising awareness amongst the instructional team, especially the simulator instructors, Amoxicillin images, about their function as role models for the profession.
In the rest of this article I will develop on these two aspects which in the end are intrinsically linked with one another.
Imitating the environment
When imitating the life environment during training, it is important to keep the balance between two things:
On the one hand that students are still learning and therefore that it is normal to do, and learn from, after Amoxicillin, mistakes, and
On the other hand that even though they are working in a simulated environment, Amoxicillin dose, there is a certain degree of seriousness and responsibility and that everyone needs to do their best to ensure safe services.
* how a controller behaves professionally to ensure that while he or she is working, safety is facilitated at all times and that the system within which he or she works maintains an adequate level of safety or improves it), Amoxicillin from canada,
On other aspects, the same should apply: If it is forbidden to use mobile or smart phones in an operational room, Order Amoxicillin online overnight delivery no prescription, the same should be applied in a simulator. If it is a good practice to be at least five minutes early for a hand over in the operational world, then it is also positive to teach the student punctuality, the time a good handover needs, and the need to be there a little early so that their colleagues can have a full and well deserved break, Amoxicillin For Sale. Students should be taught not only the hard and fast procedures (knowledge) but also how to address and talk to colleagues, adjacent centres, pilots and others. They should not only be taught how to execute a procedure, purchase Amoxicillin for sale, but also that they are part of a safety chain and that there are defensive ways of controlling that will strengthen that chain. They should learn that procedures are there for a reason and that the justifications for bending or omitting them are very rare if not nonexistent....Teaching the culture, improves safety awareness and safety.
And who needs to transmit all these softer elements of behaviour and attitude. Well, the instructor.
The instructor as a role model
As mentioned in the example above, Amoxicillin brand name, a lot of what a new driver has learned is what he or she has observed their parents, senior siblings, or significant others doing. Amoxicillin For Sale, It is like that in all aspects of life; our children do what we as parents, what society at large, what elder siblings, what TV and what cinema do. Amoxicillin treatment, Our culture is taught informally through observation, trial and error. There are some who learn quickly, some who learn even more to the extent of manipulating others or of challenging the status quo, and others still who never learn and end up in trouble.
Now ATC being quite a closed environment, all that parenting, sibling, Amoxicillin forum, cinema and TV, especially in the early (but many times super intensive) days of initial training is condensed in the few instructors who have lived in and are part of the ATC culture that the students can interact with, observe and scrutinise.
So it is very important that we instructors are aware of our role and that while walking on the catwalk we need to act as positively and as naturally as possible.
What follows are a number of areas where we instructors, cheap Amoxicillin, apart from teaching hard and fast procedures, need to be aware of our role in passing on ATC culture in the knowledge that we are ourselves being observed for such behaviour.
It is very important that we instructors set limits to what is and is not allowed in a simulator, both in terms of controlling traffic and in attitude and behaviour off the mike. We also need to be aware that we are under observation as we interact with our colleagues, on how we treat diverging opinions with respect, on how we correct mistakes, where to buy Amoxicillin, on how we follow rules.....
In terms of safety, for example, About Amoxicillin, it is of benefit, as I commented above, to allow the student to try out new things and to push his or her limit, however this should never go to the extent as to the impression that everything could be tried out and that everything is allowed, after all ATC training is not a videogame, kjøpe Amoxicillin på nett, köpa Amoxicillin online, even if it may look like one to someone who knows nothing about its culture and goals. I am a firm believer that safety, and its paramount priority, Amoxicillin pharmacy, that in our job we cannotbring aircraft too close together, shall be transmitted at all times to students.
On the same theme but outside of the immediate operational environment, we as instructors are being observed for our attitude in the simulation room: arriving late, excessive talking or laughing during an exercise should be stopped both for students and for us, Amoxicillin over the counter. ATC culture does not allow that.
Teamwork is another area where the instructor is being observed, Amoxicillin For Sale. In training theory we insist a lot on the necessity of good teamwork, both between controllers in a unit and between all those involved in the chain. Not all students come to training with an innate disposition to working in a team and that a team will help them and will improve safety. Buy Amoxicillin online no prescription, Some have individualistic traits that need to be curbed. In addition to teaching procedures, we should observe and correct students’ attitude towards one another and with other people in the environment such as pilots or assistants. Amoxicillin For Sale, Also, charity begins at home and we are part of that chain and we also work within a team. We should not forget that how we relate professionally with others, such as pseudo pilots or administrative members of the team is being observed by our future controllers, Amoxicillin pictures, who are registering: ¨This is how a real controller behaves¨.
The ¨In the real world we do it differently¨ syndrome
Students look for guidance in instructors on how to apply the procedures there are being taught. Order Amoxicillin from United States pharmacy,
Some instructors feel the need to go further than simply teach procedures and it is of great benefit for a student to work with an instructor who explains the background as to why a procedure exists and to explain the links and rationale between procedures and how we used these with real traffic. I remember to this day an instructor on my initial ATC course who would take time to explain to my colleagues and I how he had used a certain procedure on a given day and why it came in very convenient for him to know it. He was patient and a good story teller. He used to make us feel like we were already working with him in the ops room.
On the other hand, there are only very few things which are worse than an instructor telling a student that ´in the real world´ things are done differently and that a procedure is only being used for ´school purposes´, Amoxicillin For Sale. The contextual difference between the application of a procedure in an academy and in operations is considerable, Amoxicillin used for, but instructors need to understand that a student who has only a few months’ experience in an academy and has not yet worked in operations cannot fully understand this context. Running before learning to walk is as illogical as trying to teach complex operational contexts to students who do not have the experience yet to appreciate them.
Boredom is an Instructor´s worst enemy
Students are still learning things instructors (should) already know. Students are still pushing their traffic threshold; ours should have already been pushed up. Amoxicillin For Sale, Students are seeing an exercise for the first time: for us it is maybe the tenth or twentieth time we are seeing the same exercise. The student is performing; we are observing.
All the elements above mean that our mental activity rate is many times slower than that of the student, Amoxicillin interactions. This is part of training and part of our job. We should never try to make things interesting for our benefit. We should not, Amoxicillin without a prescription, for example, ask the students to try new things that they have not covered. We should not, as mentioned in the part just above, oblige the student to do something in a different way to that which they have been taught already if the main reason for doing this is not for their benefit but for us to moderate our boredom, Amoxicillin For Sale. We need to remember that students have a very limited set of tools in their bag and they are still learning how these tools fit together. Adding more new tools to it will not make them better or quicker, it will just overwhelm them, online buying Amoxicillin. It will give them the impression that you are teaching them a completely different thing to that taught on the course and we risk creating an impression of conflict between our team of instructors. It reflects badly on us as a team and on our message of teamwork.
We should neither fall into the trap of showing disinterest nor fall asleep during an exercise (like one of my instructors used to do sixteen years ago when I was a student - I still remember it!). Amoxicillin For Sale, Before we arrive at that point, it is time to move on in our career and do something else!
In conclusion, in this article I have tried to highlight the fact that ATC culture is something that ATC training professionals should be aware of as something to actively teach because it helps students to make sense of the working world and of its modus operandi. Teaching culture is not achieved mostly through formal training, since knowledge about a culture only goes some way, so the main way is by being immersed in it. Culture is soft and informal. We instructors are the ones who are best placed, in the first days of a controller’s career, to begin developing awareness of this culture. This needs to be done by being clear on the behaviour expected from the students and by being prepared to correct and comment upon this and by being aware that instructors are role models and that our behaviour in the simulation is being scrutinised by our future colleagues, who would like to look a bit like us!
Before I close I would like to make a point on one final cultural trait - Professionalism. ATC is a profession which we should be proud of it, Amoxicillin For Sale. As instructors we are the initiators (I intentionally did not write bouncers!) to the profession for all the students who eventually will become our colleagues. We need to carry the banner of our profession high. We should never talk down our profession, and when we need to criticise things (since the right sort of as criticism is healthy) we should do it constructively and in a way which can be understood by students with only a few months of experience. The analogy might be like talking about feelings to a six year old. We also need to implicitly pass on the message to our students that they made the right choice, that they are in a great professional environment and that it is good to be in ATC. The best way we can communicate this is with the message which is written all over our body..
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