The aviation industry is reliant on exceptional skills development, training and ongoing professional development to ensure that all employees remain compliant with regulations and legislator requirements. A high-risk, high-powered sector, it demands that employees become accredited in their specialist fields to ensure that safety and service remain a priority.
Over the past three years, however, training programmes have been severely impacted by the pandemic, limiting access to training tools and platforms and inhibiting employee accreditation and compliance. Companies have had to find innovative ways of implementing training without putting people at risk.
Early into the pandemic, Cranfield Aviation Training, a company accredited by the South African Civil Aviation Authority, had to find a unique way of adapting to the new normal so that it could provide the continuous training that the aviation sector relied on.
This had to align with stringent compliance mandates to ensure it was relevant as the regulations stipulated by the aviation industry call for strict attention to approved content and factual adherence without interpretation by course designers. It also had to provide the trainees with accessible education by seamlessly transitioning from classroom-style training to online and doing more than just transferring content onto a platform and having people access it, the materials had to be personalised properly.
“Aviation staff are a varied group across age, experience, responsibility levels and IT competency,” says Rick Bosman, Marketing and Logistics, Cranfield Aviation. “We had to find an instruction or learning methodology that would fit our market and that could be accessed from all over the world. After all, aviation staff are often contracted globally and the pandemic only served to underscore the need for an accredited, reliable and supportive system that could deliver approved training courses on an international scale.”
The company built a training platform that could accommodate its often-restrictive requirements and that was aligned with regulatory authority expectations, and that provided its customers with an understandable and simple system that met their individual needs. Developed in collaboration with the aNewSpring Learning Management System (LMS) from New Leaf Technologies, the platform offers a comprehensive mix of theory, blended learning and facilitator-led instruction for learners that adapts according to subject matter and Aviation Authority guidelines.
“It was this instruction-led learning methodology, as well as the fact that New Leaf Technologies is accredited with proven competencies, that ensured we satisfied the regulator authority requirements for online training,” says Bosman. “It has resulted in a solution that’s accredited, reliable and supportive, as well as globally relevant. Our long-standing international aviation customers no longer have to send staff to South Africa to attend in-class away training, they can access this at the click of a button. It saves them time and money, plus it limits operational time-off.”
The platform also neatly overcame another significant issue for the company – certification. Learners were required to physically attend training to receive their certification and show competency to continue with their responsibilities.
Now, personalised certification is embedded within the system and provides immediate confirmation and allocation for those needing urgent certification. In addition, the platform has made Cranfield Aviation Training one of the few training companies that can offer a proctoring function that physically films and records the user during the assessment, thereby ensuring that certain courses regulated within aviation have the physical proof they need to confirm that the person doing the final course assessment is the right one.
As a result of the transition to this LMS that offers online, blended or instructor-led facilitation, we have increased our international footprint, the number of courses we can offer in an online format, and given our users improved access to training on demand,” says Bosman. “The customer experience from logging on, transitioning through the course, completing the assessment and receiving their certification is seamless. We can be more efficient in servicing our customer’s need and we now offer an expanded range at a competitive rate.”
New Leaf Technologies collaborated closely with Cranfield Aviation Training to implement the LMS and overcome an initially very steep learning curve to ensure that the final product was easy to use, interactive and compliant. For Bosman, aNewSpring LMS was instrumental in enabling the company to compete even more effectively on the global stage and in attracting new markets and discovering smarter ways of improving the materials it had on offer.
Using the variety of training programmes, learning activities and practical training solutions on offer from aNewSpring and its eLearning content authoring tool that allows for the organisation to build its own programmes using templates and custom functionality, Cranfield Aviation was able to expand its course offering to up 80 unique courses as of 2022, digitise its course content, and gain global traction.