Hi, I’m Mike an instructional designer and web developer running a helicopter training center 🚁

I’m an instructional designer and web developer. I’ve been running a helicopter training center for a while but I’ve been in and around web development since the mid 90s.

I listen on Twitter @myquite


I started my career working at Flight Safety as a graphic designer building training applications in Authorware.

What sort of instructional design do you work on? I’ve been fascinated by ID as a learning topic this year. Here’s a podcast episode I recorded with Janelle Allen.

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Welcome Mike!

We def need an Egghead helo training course. My goal is to have my PPL(H) one day.

I listened to that episode as soon as it went live. I picked up a few more books as a result.

I work for a large helicopter operator in Louisiana. I started with illustration and Flash but it’s grown into full blown program and curriculum development. Aviation training is a pretty entrenched culture but we are slowly bringing it around bit by bit.

That’s awesome!

No doubt, I’d say it’s generally slow to change for a good reason. I was reading The Checklist Manifesto recently and there are large sections about pilots and their checklists.

They have a lot of them :flushed:

I worked for a lawyer that was a Navy helo pilot and he told me that if flying a plane is riding a bike then a helicopter is a unicycle.

The Checklist Manifesto is such a great book.

As an example, in most helicopters there is something called an emergency checklist and if the pilot gets an indication on their screen they can reference the indication on the checklist and take the appropriate action. Exactly what checklists are for right?

Typically when someone is learning a new aircraft (we don’t teach people how to fly, they are all commercial pilots with thousands of hours) the method of instruction that’s been a standard in aviation forever is to dive really deep into each individual system. The are expected to learn every possible component and function for the hydraulic system as an example. During evaluations they are asked to draw a schematic of the system and describe in detail how the system works, usually from the perspective of a drop of hydraulic fluid starting in the reservoir. This kind of information is super dense and takes a while to teach and evaluate.

The problem is, the aircraft may have only two emergency indicators for the hydraulic system. This means the pilot can only do one of two things and they are using the checklist as their guide. Where does the comprehensive deep systems knowledge come into play? It doesn’t. The pilot can’t affect the system beyond reacting to the indications using the inputs they have available to them. So why spend an entire day learning the system in excruciating detail? Because that’s the way it’s always been done.

Not only is it unnecessary, but it’s actually problematic. It frequently leads to cognitive overload, at which point any additional instruction is a waste of time.