Dr. Douglas Farrow

Douglas R. Farrow, Ph.D.

Senior Partner, Nuovo Advisors

Dr. Farrow served his entire 25-year FAA career with the AQP Program Office at FAA Headquarters. He served as the Instructional Development Specialist during his entire tenure, as well as the national AQP Program Manager for his last 10 years. He also served 15 years as the Research and Development Coordinator for the FAA Air Transportation Division. Since his retirement from the FAA at the end of 2016, he has worked several additional projects for that same office as a contractor and is now a partner in a small aviation consulting firm.

Over the 40-year span of his aviation training career he has seen, and overseen, significant evolution in the instructional approaches, computer technologies, data analysis capabilities and training media choices available to the industry. He was first introduced to the concepts of competency-based training exactly 50 years ago, when he began his graduate studies in Instructional Systems. He has traced, and in some cases directed, its evolution ever since.

Prior to his FAA career, he spent 10 years as a civilian contractor for the US military, which included leading the contractor teams that developed the initial aircrew training programs for the F-16 and C-17 aircraft. As a graduate student at Florida State University in the early 1970’s, he supported the development of the Interservice Procedures for Instructional Systems Development model, which later evolved into the ADDIE framework for Instructional Development. In addition, he represented the FAA at a series of meetings of the Training and Qualification Initiative, the team that produced the IATA and ICAO EBT documents.

Clearing the Confusion About AQP, CBTA and EBT

Competency-Based Training and Assessment (CBTA) has become the new buzzword around the aviation industry, and there is no doubt it provides for more comprehensive and efficient training systems than previous approaches. The challenge then, is what approach is best for each certificate holder and their respective regulator?

AQP has a proven track record for improving aviation safety. There has only been one passenger fatality since 2007 at an airline that trained under AQP (and that accident, for which the crew’s performance was applauded, was caused by a mechanical failure). In recent years we have seen the rise of other approaches to CBTA, the most popular being EBT, which have simplified the CBTA approach for dozens of airlines.

This presentation will examine the ICAO definition of CBTA, along with several others, to demonstrate that current CBTA definitions are historically agnostic to the breadth of the components of the competencies. They all accommodate both the broad competencies of the academic tradition (EBT), and the narrow competencies of the military/industrial tradition (AQP). The overarching goal of all these definitions includes identifying, instructing and assessing all the relevant skills, knowledge and attitudes required for competent job performance.

In addition, the presentation will focus on the practical implications of the most significant differences between EBT and AQP. These include scope, curriculums, data used to validate training system efficacy, balance between training and checking, use of LOS, level of tailoring, flexibility of the regulatory framework, and the role of the regulator. The goal of this final section is to emphasize the positive aspects of each of these approaches, and to enhance the ability of certificate holders and regulators to select the approach that best fits their operational and safety needs.