In aviation maintenance training, hands-on experience is essential to proper education! Hands-on training (also referred to as experiential learning or kinesthetic learning) allows students to put theory into practice and apply their knowledge into real-world settings and perform tasks that would be relevant to future jobs.

While traditional classroom lecture settings are effective at conveying information through presentations, hands-on classroom experiences allow students to put their knowledge into action. Hands-on training provides many unique benefits that other forms of teaching cannot, such as:

1) Provides Practice Opportunity

It’s common knowledge that many tasks are better learned through trial-and-error and regular practice. For example, when people learn to ride a bike, it is never enough to have the process verbally explained – they must physically get on the bike and practice the motions. Aviation maintenance is a process of numerous mechanical tasks that require practice to master.

Hands-on training is also beneficial to the future safety of A&P students. A&P technicians can very reasonably find themselves in situations with dangerous tools and/or high stakes. Without experience, mistakes and bad habits formed during self-focused training may not reveal themselves until these high-stakes scenarios. Many workplace accidents are caused by a lack of equipment experience. Sufficient hands-on training bypasses this safety risk and provides students an outlet to safely recognize and correct their own mistakes.

2) Encourages Instructor Engagement

In traditional classroom settings students may feel uncompelled to seek guidance from an instructor. In a hands-on learning environment, instructors can quickly provide real-world knowledge can provide better and more tangible examples for students to work on. This connection is valuable and allows instructors to accurate adapt to a given student’s learning style.

Advice and guidance are also able to be given in real-time during exercises. For example, if a student is working on a sheet metal project, an instructor is readily available to help correct a mistake they may make while riveting

3) Improves Critical Thinking

Many common tasks in the aviation maintenance profession are best learned through hands-on training as it allows students to continuously dissect and re-assess their work. Through practical assignments, students are encouraged to work through the root of problems. Enthusiasm for learning and problem solving can also be achieved much easier if a practical task or assignment is at arm’s reach.

Recent studies have also found links between physical activity and creativity. The movement that a hands-on classroom provides may spur innovation in students that struggle in traditional classroom settings.

4) Promotes Student Socialization and Empowerment

Hands-on learning exercises often involve group work and encourage students to problem solve together. The collaboration and social aspect that hands-on training offers is invaluable and may resonate with students with different learning style inclinations. Additionally, team problem solving student camaraderie and enthusiasm.

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NAA students working together during a composites lab exercise.

5) Eases Transition into Workplace

Thanks to these unique benefits, hands-on training environments simulate a real-life workplace scenario much closer than a traditional lecture classroom. Without personal experience with tools, the transition from an educational institute to an industry workplace can be physically and mentally jarring. Additionally, as previously mentioned, accidents in the workplace often occur due to tool misuse. Through sufficient hands-on exercises, students can overcome the initial learning curve of working with tools and entering a new work environment.

At National Aviation Academy, hands-on training is prioritized. Students are given the opportunity to get hands-on with tools and receive direction from industry-experienced instructors. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in aviation maintenance, fill out the form below and learn how you can get started!