«NASA CONTRACTOR REPORT 177459 ^^2MMVN1CATION TRAINING FOR AIRCREWSA A REVIEW OF THEORETICAL AND PRAGMATIcTsPECTS OF TRAINING PROGAM DESIGN Charlotte ...»
126.96.36.199 Methods Used In general, seminar sales personnel were extremely unwilling to provide information on the training methods used, viewing them as company secrets. However the following
companies did provide some information:
• Padgett-Thompson: Lecture style with some workbook material. Some exercises.
• Center for Professional Development: Experiential program which reviews current skills, gives general exercises, and then applies them to the real-life situation of concern.
• Associated Management Institute - Team Building: Role-playing.
• Associated Management Institute — Assertiveness Training for Managers: Speaker plus cassettes and workbooks.
188.8.131.52 Validation None of the seminars surveyed offer any form of validation other than testimonials from previous customers.
3.3.2 Evaluation Criteria Applied to Commercial Assertiveness Training Seminar In order to gain first hand experience in the techniques used to teach assertiveness training, one of the researchers attended a one-day public seminar entitled • Assertiveness Training for Women* offered by the Women's Resource Center of Palo Alto. This seminar was selected because it appeared to be typical in its use of teaching techniques, and because it consisted of a single day of training. This design appeared to be the most appropriate and convenient for a NASA training project.
We now apply the evaluation criteria of Section 3.2 to this program.
184.108.40.206 Theoretical Basis This seminar is based on assertiveness training, whose theoretical foundations are given in Section 2.2.
220.127.116.11 Domain Specificity The seminar is extremely general, and does not focus on any specific professional domain.
(This is necessarily true for all commercially available seminars, except those which can be tailored to a specific domain requested by the client organization.) There is somewhat more attention paid to work situations rather than home situations, but both are discussed.
18.104.22.168 Identity of Trainer The trainer has a master's degree in counseling psychology, and is employed as a trainer.
Given the lack of domain specificity of the seminar, she is not (and could not be a member) of the professional communities of the students in the seminar.
22.214.171.124 Identity of Students The class consisted of eleven students (all women) who had chosen to take the class.
They were all employed outside the home, although this was not required for enrollment in the class. In two cases, the participants' employers had suggested that they enroll.
Note that this seminar is aimed at people who have chosen to attend because they have have some awareness that they have communication problems. In contrast, the United Airlines program, and indeed many company sponsored programs, is obligatory for all personnel. Thus many participants may indeed not have communication problems, or may believe that they do not, even if they do. Duration of Training The seminar was given from 0 am to 3 pm, with a half hour break for lunch. No specific;
followup training was offered, although other seminars at the center were suggested.
126.96.36.199 Training Method
The training methods include:
• Discussion of the material presented in the lecture.
• Imagining alternate scenarios for one's communication problems, using communication models presented in the lecture. This was done both orally and using pencil and paper.
• Role playing possible scenarios with other participants.
• Suggested further reading.
188.8.131.52 Validation As discussed in Section 2.2.2, there have been no studies which attempt to validate the seminar training model.
4. Conclusions and Recommendations This report has found that, although several forms of communication training are potentially relevant for training in aviation, there are still many open questions about their effectiveness and about the transfer of techniques and results from one population to another. Despite these general difficulties, we believe that the aviation setting actually offers some particular advantages for rigorous and effective research on communications
training for the following reasons:
• The specificity of the problem, and the possibility of quantifying the effectiveness of outcome behaviors for aviation safety, using the description of communication patterns given in (Goguen and Linde, 1083).
• The widespread utilization and acceptance of flight simulators as part of ongoing aircrew training, so that an artificial laboratory setting need not be used for the research or training.
• The relative homogeneity of the subject population, in terms of the tasks which they must perform, and the training which they have received.
• The fact that training and evaluation is already an ongoing part of professional life, in both the military and private sectors of the aviation community.
These factors should facilitate research in communications training which is both scientifically rigorous and relatively cost-effective.
4.1 Review of Findings As discussed in Sections 2.2 and 2.4, assertiveness and grid management appear to be the most immediately relevant to aviation training: assertiveness training because it has been suggested both by NASA researchers and by the National Transportation Safety Board, and grid management because it already forms the basis of United Airlines'.cockpit management training program. Both approaches appear to provide an array of potentially useful training methods. However, neither one has been subjected to rigorous scientific validation. Although some tests have been performed, the design and duration of the training programs that were tested and the desired behavioral goals were quite different from those relevant for aviation training. Since there is no evidence that the effects of these training methods transfer to aviation, these attempts at at validation remain interesting but not conclusive.
Both theories contain specific training methods that are at least partly atheoretical. Both make use of lectures, role-playing, videotaped examples of good and bad communication, discussion, etc., methods that can convey a wide array of content. However, it should be noted that these methods have not been tested, so that simply devising a training program using them would not obviate the problem that the theories themselves have not been tested.
In attempting to decide which of the two theories should be tested first, there are a number of factors to consider.
1. Focus of training. Training may focus either on individual or group communication. Assertiveness training focuses on the individual as the locus of possible change: an individual is trained to overcome his neurotic fears of speaking out in order to communicate his concerns clearly and professionally. Grid management training also focuses on the individual in its account of five different management styles. However, it also attempts to give an account of different ways that teams function. This is important, since it appears that the most likely source of communication problems in the cockpit is not individual neurotic malfunctioning, but rather poor crew coordination and communication.
2. Scope of the training. Here again, the scope of the training may differ: a single individual may be trained or an entire group may take the training together.
Assertiveness training focuses on the individual. Grid management training includes all members of a group. However, in the commercial aviation context, the crews that are trained together do not then fly together as a team.
3. Duration of the training. We may also ask how long a given type of training takes, and whether the training is given once or recurrently. Assertiveness training is delivered in packages as short as a single six hour session, or may last as long as six months to a year. Grid management requires a minimum of five full days, although these need not all be consecutive, and includes followup training.
4. Nature of the metalanguage. One function of any type of training is to provide a metalanguage which trainees can use for reflection and discussion of their own behavior and that of their associates. We may then ask whether a given training program teaches a metalanguage which is sufficient to describe both actual and desired behavior, and whether trainees actually use this metalanguage. Both assertiveness training and grid management appear to include training in a metalanguage, but grid management's metalanguage permits ; a more extensive description of the process of group decision making.
These criteria suggest that both approaches have advantages and disadvantages as candidates for further research. Grid management has the advantage of a group focus and scope, but has the disadvantage of requiring a more extensive training period. We suggest that grid management is a good first candidate for testing, if either some shorter training testbed could be arranged, or if it became possible to use United Airlines1 already existing training program for research.
4.2 Further Research As this report has attempted to show, further research b necessary; there is no current training program which is in turn-key condition for aviation applications. Furthermore, we can not expect such research to be performed either by commercial training firms, or by the companies which hire such firms, since the demands of scientific research and the demands of marketing a program are different and perhaps contradictory. Therefore scientifically valid research on training can only be expected to come from either university researchers or a neutral government agency such as NASA.
Although such research is necessary, the full-mission simulations which are required to do the research properly are expensive and the research is difficult and time-consuming to perform. However, there are a number of preliminary research strategies, which could be initiated immediately. The results could determine whether it was worth continuing the research with full-mission simulations.
1. Test the results of training in a part-task screen simulation. It would be possible to use the linguistic measures developed in (Goguen and Linde, 1083) to.determine how close the communication patterns before and after training are to actual aviation and full mission simulation communication.
2. Use an existing training program. It might be possible to use existing commercial or military training programs as a site for testing. Although union regulations have prevented testing in commercial programs, a study sponsored by NASA rather than by an airline might be acceptable. Such a study could use already existing research techniques for having some acceptable third party de-identify the data before it is given to researchers for examination. One study which could be done without altering the content of an existing training program would be a • before-and-after • study of the use of the metalanguage taught by the training program. Although use of the metalangauge does not itself indicate the effect of the training on communication problems, absence of any use of it would suggest that the program had no impact on the crew members trained.
3. Use existing training programs with some modification. It might also be possible to insert a segment on communication training into existing military training programs which would test the findings of NASA studies on effective communication.
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