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Ng Desmond

atc training ATC video lectures

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Ng Desmond

Currently most of the atc training requires the mentor and trainee to find a common free time for training. Students who are busy may not be free during the selectable session time, and students who live in a different time zone may be sleeping during the selectable session time, unless they dont sleep that night. Hence, I strongly suggest vatsim to consider providing video lectures as an alternative way to train trainees. Everything technique is demonstrated through video lectures, so one can learn atc at whatever time he or she wants.  In order to make sure that a trainee has enough skills, vatsim can exam trainees by asking them to record their screen and voice while controlling a given scenario.

One may ask what can trainee use to record the screen? If one cannot find a freeware, one may use the trial version of any payware to complete the exams. If there are technical errors while recording, vatsim should force these trainees to  train by meeting mentors  online.

In the real world, online courses have a problem of cheating. Students may find experts to complete their exams in order to pass them. In current vatsim's training system, in case one finds another person to complete their exams and lessons, mentors may not find it out too. One should realize that the change from having online live sessions to online video lectures is not the cause of cheating problem, but is the fact that one can hide his or her identity in the Internet that causes cheating. The simplest way to find out these cheaters is to wait online pilots to report them.  Some real world course facilitators ask students to show their face when completing exams. vatsim may think about that, but they should also aware that they are just an virtual world non-profiting organisation, so should they be that serious?

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Darren Hill

Hiya,

 

Just some feedback on such an idea. As of the latest revision to the OBS-S1 course, all VATSIM UK ratings are competency ratings; meaning they are giving based on a student's ability, not knowledge. It is very difficult to learn any controlling, albeit S1 or C1 (speaking from S2 and S3 training experience here), without actually doing it. No amount of videos can teach situational awareness, practical vectoring in a live situation, etc. Mentors in sessions give live feedback on what the student does, not just judge them. A student will not learn without constructive criticism given as the mistake happens, otherwise bad habits form.

I do agree that videos can help with theory, but we already have the Moodle courses for this exact purpose. The reason why we have different regions is to combat the very issue of timezone difference, so people can control where and when they like.

Doing exams through a video is just a flat out bad idea. The examiner does not just assess what happens on the live network, but also how the student manages things in the background; such as coordination with other controllers.

The whole concept of "anonymity" on VATSIM has been addressed in the Code of Conduct. We don't have "cheaters" that can magically go through exams and pass if they know nothing. For S3+ exams, 2 examiners are required. The decision of competency is that of the examiners and mentors with the division, not with live pilots. Real life exams would NEVER work in this use case.

 

Regards,

Edited by Darren Hill

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Trevor Hannant

Get your video wrong once, re-record until you get it perfect by running the same scenario over and over and over again.

Non-starter idea - the only way to train and particularly examine is to do this with each other, discussing scenarios, "what if...", "why did/didn't you..." etc.

I find it curious that you question the UK's methods when you're not a member also - was this meant for the UK forums around the UK training scheme or for VATSIM as a whole?  If the latter, then you'd be better posting this on their forums and us having a Moderator lock this topic before it gets silly...

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Ng Desmond

If I am not wrong, I remember I was given several simulated traffic files that can run in euroscope before, these are the files that makes practice perfect. A mentor can just write a feedback on what the student did wrongly based on recorded videos, and ask the student to repeat controlling the same scenario, until everything is working right. Discussion is truly needed, but I think it can go through email or whatever way, so that trainees and mentors can reply each other even when they only have a mobile phone on their hand, or when they are in a place where its inconvenient to talk on the phone. In this case, both trainees and mentors might have more free time possible, so that it is easier to find the common free time where two can discuss together online through email, whatsapp or other communication methods.

Edited by Ng Desmond

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Tom Earl

Hi @Ng Desmond, I'll add my two pence to the discussion:

30 minutes ago, Ng Desmond said:

If I am not wrong, I remember I was given several simulated traffic files that can run in euroscope before, these are the files that makes practice perfect.

It's very difficult to run your own sweatbox sessions as this would require you to both 'steer' planes as a pilot and 'control' them as an ATCO at the same time. This takes practise alone and isn't a skill that is required to control on the network. Also, the 'perfect' scenario isn't always so clean cut as many factors come in to play. As @Trevor Hannant mentions, that  "what if...", "why did/didn't you..." is absolutely crucial when it comes to self-development.

 

31 minutes ago, Ng Desmond said:

based on recorded videos

There would be complications with recorded videos/souond in terms of GDPR.

 

32 minutes ago, Ng Desmond said:

Discussion is truly needed, but I think it can go through email or whatever way, so that trainees and mentors can reply each other even when they only have a mobile phone on their hand, or when they are in a place where its inconvenient to talk on the phone.

What's great about mentoring sessions as we know them is the two-way communication. Currently, this can be achieved through our UK TeamSpeak server. I would not recommend any mentors or trainees exchanging mobile phone numbers for the purpose of training. No amount of emails/texts/whatsapps could ever replace *actually* talking and discussing with live voice communication. The whole process would be dragged out if it was done via an email discussion. On a side-note, taking discussion away from voice communication makes for a rather unsociable experience!

 

33 minutes ago, Ng Desmond said:

so that it is easier to find the common free time where two can discuss together online through email, whatsapp or other communication methods.

Surely if there's common free time, this can just be conducted the usual way through a mentoring session on TeamSpeak? Rather than taking it to unendorsed apps and software such as WhatsApp.

 

Don't get me wrong, video lectures or tutorials would be fantastic, indeed, there are a couple on YouTube that I have used in the past to help me get through my training thus far. However, bear in mind that the current training system in place at the UK isn't the first iteration. It's constantly changing and improving, syllabi is currently evolving, mentors are forever improving and the level of dedication in VATSIM UK is incredible. Taking mentoring sessions away from one-to-one sessions and moving it to solo exam based practice doesn't seem to be a fun idea for me. Again, just my thoughts on the subject!

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Trevor Hannant
1 hour ago, Ng Desmond said:

A mentor can just write a feedback on what the student did wrongly based on recorded videos, and ask the student to repeat controlling the same scenario, until everything is working right..

And who in their right kind of going to keep submitting videos of incorrect controlling?  

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Darren Hill
1 hour ago, Ng Desmond said:

If I am not wrong, I remember I was given several simulated traffic files that can run in euroscope before, these are the files that makes practice perfect. A mentor can just write a feedback on what the student did wrongly based on recorded videos, and ask the student to repeat controlling the same scenario, until everything is working right.

Repeating a scenario will obviously make you better at it. Will it improve your controlling, most likely no.

 

33 minutes ago, Tom Earl said:

Taking mentoring sessions away from one-to-one sessions and moving it to solo exam based practice doesn't seem to be a fun idea for me. Again, just my thoughts on the subject!

100% agree with you here Tom!

 

10 minutes ago, Trevor Hannant said:

And who in their right kind of going to keep submitting videos of incorrect controlling?  

Very good point here Trevor. If anything, this makes "cheating" worse as it adds a point of failure/dishonesty.

 

1 hour ago, Ng Desmond said:

In this case, both trainees and mentors might have more free time possible, so that it is easier to find the common free time where two can discuss together online through email, whatsapp or other communication methods.

Slack is used for more person-to-person communications. Allows for calls (not for mentoring but it's there), instant messaging, is free, and is officially supported by the Web team (Please do not bring up the Slack vs Discord as this has been handled already).

Edited by Darren Hill

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Simon Kelsey
1 hour ago, Ng Desmond said:

If I am not wrong, I remember I was given several simulated traffic files that can run in euroscope before, these are the files that makes practice perfect. A mentor can just write a feedback on what the student did wrongly based on recorded videos, and ask the student to repeat controlling the same scenario, until everything is working right

What you are suggesting is simply learning a pre-defined scenario by rote. This is not an effective way to train someone to handle a dynamic situation!

ATC and pilot training is not simply about learning which button to press or what phraseology to use. It is about understanding principles and learning how to make decisions to adapt and apply your knowledge in dynamic situations and in reality there are never going to be two identical situations. You might be able to learn two or three sweatbox scenarios by rote and execute them perfectly but what will you do when you go on the live network and something different happens?

It's generally not about what you do, it is about why you have done it and that sort of training can only really be done effectively in a live situation. The problem with students practicing practical skills like flying or controlling unsupervised is that it is very easy for the student to get in to bad habits which then take a serious amount of effort for an instructor to un-teach, whereas under supervision the instructor can immediately correct the error and ensure that the student only practices the correct way, before it becomes a long-term problem. (As an aside, this is easier, I daresay, for ATC trainers as most VATSIM OBS-S1 students are coming at it completely fresh, whereas on the pilot side it is often VERY hard to get people out of whatever habits they have built up over however long they have been simming!).

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Darren Hill
3 minutes ago, Simon Kelsey said:

What you are suggesting is simply learning a pre-defined scenario by rote. This is not an effective way to train someone to handle a dynamic situation!

ATC and pilot training is not simply about learning which button to press or what phraseology to use. It is about understanding principles and learning how to make decisions to adapt and apply your knowledge in dynamic situations and in reality there are never going to be two identical situations. You might be able to learn two or three sweatbox scenarios by rote and execute them perfectly but what will you do when you go on the live network and something different happens?

It's generally not about what you do, it is about why you have done it and that sort of training can only really be done effectively in a live situation. The problem with students practicing practical skills like flying or controlling unsupervised is that it is very easy for the student to get in to bad habits which then take a serious amount of effort for an instructor to un-teach, whereas under supervision the instructor can immediately correct the error and ensure that the student only practices the correct way, before it becomes a long-term problem. (As an aside, this is easier, I daresay, for ATC trainers as most VATSIM OBS-S1 students are coming at it completely fresh, whereas on the pilot side it is often VERY hard to get people out of whatever habits they have built up over however long they have been simming!).

Well put!

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Trevor Hannant

On the subject of  R/T, how do you assess it when you’re not speaking to anyone?   It’s all well and good perhaps having a phraseology cheat sheet in front of you but what happens when someone gives an incorrect readback, misinterprets a readback as something else and does something you don’t want/expect?

THAT Is why this is a non-starter - you will have NO experience of dealing with what happens on the network. Instead you’ll come out with “experience” of handling perfect scenarios, perfect pilots (I.e. your own piloting!) with no experience of how it actually is!

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Stuart Duncan

Mods/Admins,

Kindly place this thread firmly in the recycle bin. How dare a non-member come here and question our methods. 

That's our job!

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Adam Arkley

Sorry, Trevor, I firmly disagree with your stance that it's a non-starter. I think some of what is being proposed has merit whilst others promote concern, but I think it's dangerous to suggest it's a non-starter.

There are a number of skills involved in the control of air traffic as I'm sure you're aware. Providing a mechanism for student controllers to practice certain skills and techniques, carefully managed and controlled, will surely produce a situation whereby less effort is required from a mentor? I remember as a student controller being given a number of scenarios that required me to vector aircraft through holes in circles to understand the effect of speed on vectoring - something i cannot easily do with live traffic, but an incredible benefit with respect to improve skills. Are we to be so narrow minded as to suggest that only a mentor's nurturing guidance can improve skills? I'm not at all thinking that this suggestion is being made as a replacement to training, rather as a supplement. 

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Trevor Hannant

The original proposal to do assessments via videos is, for me, a non-starter. 

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