Darren Smith, Flight Instructor
  Home | Login | Schedule | Pilot Store | 7-Day IFR | IFR Adventure | Trip Reports | Blog | Fun | Reviews | Weather | Articles | Links | Helicopter | Download | Bio

Site Map


Private Pilot
  Learn to Fly

Instrument Pilot
  7 day IFR Rating
  IFR Adventure

Commercial Pilot

Multi-Engine Pilot

Human Factors/CRM

Recurrent Training

Ground Schools


Privacy Policy
About Me


Support this Website

Teaching Adults

FAA Aviation Instructor's Handbook
CFI Navigation:  Human Factors Inhibiting Learning | Teaching Adults | The Fifth Element | Owner Aircraft | Tips for Technical Presentations | General Info CFI Certificate | CFI Ground School SyllabusTactics for the Professional CFI Sample Budget while in Training | Things Flight Instructors Worry About | CFI Liability | What it takes to become a CFI | Advice to the New CFI | Learning Modality

While aviation instructors teach students of all ages, the average aviation student age is 30 years old. This means the aviation instructor needs to be versed in the needs of adult students. The field of adult education is relatively young, having been established in the late twentieth century by Dr. Malcolm Knowles. His research revealed certain traits that need to be recognized when teaching adult students as well as ways instructors can use these traits to teach older students.

Adults as learners possess the following characteristics:
  • Adults who are motivated to seek out a learning experience do so primarily because they have a use for the knowledge or skill being sought. Learning is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
  • Adults seek out learning experiences in order to cope with specific life-changing events—marriage, divorce, a new job. They are ready to learn when they assume new roles.
  • Adults are autonomous and self-directed; they need to be independent and exercise control.
  • Adults have accumulated a foundation of life experiences and knowledge and draw upon this reservoir of experience for learning.
  • Adults are goal oriented.
  • Adults are relevancy oriented. Their time perspective changes from one of postponed knowledge application to immediate application.
  • Adults are practical, focusing on the aspects of a lesson most useful to them in their work.
  • As do all learners, adults need to be shown respect.
  • The need to increase or maintain a sense of self-esteem is a strong secondary motivator for adult learners.
  • Adults want to solve problems and apply new knowledge immediately.
Instructors should:
  • Provide a training syllabus that is organized with clearly defined course objectives to show the student how the training helps him or her attain specific goals.
  • Help students integrate new ideas with what they already know to ensure they keep and use the new information.
  • Assume responsibility only for his or her own expectations, not for those of students. It is important to clarify and articulate all student expectations early on.
  • Recognize the student’s need to control pace and start/stop time.
  • Take advantage of the adult preference to self-direct and self-design learning projects by giving the student frequent scenario based training (SBT) opportunities.
  • Remember that self-direction does not mean isolation. Studies of self-directed learning indicate self-directed projects involve other people as resources, guides, etc.
  • Use books, programmed instruction, and computers which are popular with adult learners.
  • Refrain from “spoon-feeding” the student.
  • Set a cooperative learning climate.
  • Create opportunities for mutual planning.
Whatever the personal circumstances of the student, he or she wants the learning experience to be problem-oriented, personalized, and the instructor to be accepting of the student’s need for self-direction and personal responsibility.

"Flying alone! Nothing gives such a sense of mastery over time, over mechanism,
mastery, indeed over space, time, and life itself, as this."
— Cecil Day Lewis   

Your Thoughts...

Name: (Anonymous posts deleted)

E-mail: (if you want a reply)

How did you hear
of this website?
Message:  (What should I write?)
Business Card
News Group
Safety Seminar
Word of Mouth
(Required) Enter number from image to send:


Check this out...
   Home | Login | Schedule | Pilot Store | 7-Day IFR | IFR Adventure | Trip Reports | Blog | Fun | Reviews | Weather | Articles | Links | Helicopter | Download | Bio
All content is Copyright 2002-2010 by Darren Smith. All rights reserved. Subject to change without notice. This website is not a substitute for competent flight instruction. There are no representations or warranties of any kind made pertaining to this service/information and any warranty, express or implied, is excluded and disclaimed including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose. Under no circumstances or theories of liability, including without limitation the negligence of any party, contract, warranty or strict liability in tort, shall the website creator/author or any of its affiliated or related organizations be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential or punitive damages as a result of the use of, or the inability to use, any information provided through this service even if advised of the possibility of such damages. For more information about this website, including the privacy policy, see about this website.