Blooming the Classroom Instructor

CTI provides classroom facilitator training for active duty military and CTI Crew Resource Management training instructors.  Our trainees come to us as experienced flight instructors in performance-based training environments like the simulator or aircraft.  They are expert briefers and skills-based trainers.

Our job is to build upon their skills-based training talents and develop knowledge-based training skills required to be effective in the classroom.

Blooming the classroom instructor

During a recent class, we took a different approach that enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of our training that is being shared here.


Our course begins with an introduction to adult learning principles and strategies to engage learners in a classroom setting.  Some of these concepts are new to them and can be difficult to understand and apply.   Their initial practice presentations typically reflect briefing the material with little or no attempt to promote understanding, show application of the material, or engage the audience in collaborative learning.

At this point, we decided to introduce them to Bloom’s taxonomy of learning; a topic reserved for instructional system design (ISD) training.  We explained what, why, and how instructor tools, instructional aids, and instructional methods are used to achieve each level-of-learning.  After a few minutes, they understood the concepts and what we wanted them to do.  The following is the content of that discussion.

bloom 3

This pyramid reflects Bloom’s taxonomy that shows the different levels-of-learning.  As you move up the pyramid, learning becomes increasingly more complex.

At the remembering level, raw data and information are presented on instructional aids like PowerPoint slides, dry erase/black/white boards, handouts, or reading material.  The common instructional methods used to deliver this type of information are the formal and informal lectures.  Both methods transfer information in a passive learning environment where students simply absorb what is presented, similar to briefing.  However, the informal lecture has the added advantage of engaging learners with questions promoting student feedback and understanding that brings us to the second level of learning …… Comprehending.  Your value as an instructor lies in your ability to promote understanding of the material and to engage them in the learning process.  Stories, examples, analogies, and metaphors promote understanding by providing context and showing application of the information.  Questions actively engage the students in the learning process and allow the instructor to assess their understanding of the material.  The primary instructional methods used at this level are the informal lecture and guided discussion; both use questions and engage learners.  Once they know and understand the material, they are ready to apply the information.

From the applying to creating levels-of-learning, students are given the opportunity to practice using the information learned earlier.  We engage them in experiential learning through exercises, case studies, and scenarios, via white boarding, videos, and audios.  (White boarding is a learning process engaging students to work as a team solving problems using a white board, flip chart, black board, etc.)   We use facilitation as our instructional method at these levels because it engages them to apply what they’ve learned to arrive at solutions reflecting “their” community procedures and practices of which we are no longer a part.  Facilitation is very much like an instructor controlled debriefing and provides our second opportunity to assess their grasp of the concepts.

The goal of ISD is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of education and training and this approach reflects that goal.  Our trainees were able to achieve a level of understanding in a few minutes that days of instruction sometimes fail to achieve.  The lessons learned are that simpler is better, training is dynamic, and the instructor must be able to assess student needs and be prepared to deliver information differently based on those needs.


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Crew Training International
9198 Crestwyn Hills Drive
Memphis, TN 38125
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