The demonstration-performance training delivery method was discussed briefly in The Teaching Process, but the following in-depth discussion is geared to the flight instructor. This training method has been in use for a long time and is very effective in teaching kinesthetic skills so flight instructors find it valuable in teaching procedures and maneuvers. The demonstration-performance method is divided into four phases: explanation, demonstration, learner performance with instructor supervision, and evaluation. [Figure 1]

Demonstration-Performance Training Delivery Method
Figure 1. The demonstration-performance method of teaching has four essential phases

Explanation Phase

The flight instructor needs to be well prepared and highly organized to teach complex maneuvers and procedures effectively. The learner should be intellectually and psychologically ready for the learning activity. The explanation phase is accomplished prior to the flight lesson with a discussion of lesson objectives and completion standards, as well as a thorough preflight briefing. The instructor presents clear and pertinent objectives of the particular lesson to be presented, based on the known experience and knowledge of the learner. Instructors need to provide details on the lesson content, performance expectations and evaluation measures. When teaching a skill, the instructor conveys the precise actions the learner will perform. In addition to the necessary steps, the instructor should describe the end result of these efforts. The explanation phase also should include coverage of appropriate safety procedures. Before leaving this phase, the instructor should encourage learners to ask questions about any step of the procedure that they do not understand.

Demonstration Phase

The instructor demonstrates the actions necessary to perform a skill and may describe the actions simultaneously. The instructor avoids extraneous activity as much as possible so that learners get a clear understanding of the task. If, due to some unanticipated circumstances, the demonstration does not closely conform to the explanation, this deviation should be immediately acknowledged and explained.

Learner Performance and Instruction Supervision Phases

As discussed in The Teaching Process, these two phases involve separate actions that are performed concurrently. The first of these phases is the learner’s performance of the physical or mental skills that have been explained and demonstrated. The second activity is the instructor’s supervision.

Learner performance requires learners to act and do. To gain skills, learners must practice. The instructor must, therefore, allot enough time for meaningful activity. Through doing, learners can follow correct procedures and reach established standards. It is important that learners be given an opportunity to perform the skill as soon as possible after a demonstration.

Then, the instructor reviews what has been covered during the instructional flight and determines to what extent the learner has met the objectives outlined during the preflight discussion. The instructor should be satisfied that the learner is well prepared and understands the task before starting. The instructor observes as the learner performs, and then makes appropriate comments.

Evaluation Phase

In this phase, the instructor traditionally evaluates learner performance, records the learner’s performance, and verbally advises the learner of the progress made toward the objectives. Regardless of how well a skill is taught, there may still be performance deficiencies. When pointing out areas that need improvement, offer concrete suggestions that help. If possible, avoid ending the evaluation on a negative note.

As discussed in Assessment, collaborative assessment (or learner centered grading (LCG)) is a form of authentic assessment currently used in aviation training with problem-based learning (PBL). PBL structures the lessons to confront learners with problems that are encountered in real life and forces them to reach real-world solutions. Scenario-based training (SBT), a type of PBL, uses a highly structured script of real-world experiences to address aviation training objectives in an operational environment. Collaborative assessment is used to evaluate whether certain learning criteria were met during the SBT.

Collaborative assessment includes two parts—learner self-assessment and a detailed assessment by the flight instructor. The purpose of the self-assessment is to stimulate growth in the learner’s thought processes and, in turn, behaviors. The self-assessment is followed by an in-depth discussion between the instructor and the learner which compares the instructor’s assessment to the learner’s self-assessment.

The Telling-and-Doing Technique

The demonstration-performance method can be applied to the telling-and-doing technique of flight instruction in three steps. However, the telling-and-doing technique includes specific variations for flight instruction. [Figure 2]

Demonstration-Performance Training Delivery Method
Figure 2. This comparison of steps in the teaching process, the demonstration-performance method, and the telling-and-doing technique highlights similarities as well as differences. The main difference in the telling-and-doing technique is the important transition, learner tells—instructor does, which occurs between the second and third step

Instructor Tells—Instructor Does

First, the flight instructor gives a carefully planned demonstration of the procedure or maneuver with accompanying verbal explanation. While demonstrating inflight maneuvers, the instructor should explain the required power settings, aircraft attitudes, and describe any other pertinent factors that may apply. This is the only step in which the learner plays a passive role. It is important for the demonstration to conform to the explanation as closely as possible. In addition, it should be demonstrated in the same sequence in which it was explained so as to avoid confusion and provide reinforcement. Since learners generally imitate the instructor’s performance, the instructor needs to demonstrate the skill exactly the way the learners are expected to practice it, including all safety procedures that should be followed. As previously explained, if the demonstration does not closely conform to the explanation, this deviation should be immediately acknowledged and explained.

Most physical skills lend themselves to a sequential pattern where the skill is explained in the same step-by-step order normally used to perform it. When the skill being taught relates to previously learned procedures or maneuvers, the known to unknown strategy may be effective. When teaching more than one skill at the same time, the simple-to-complex strategy works well. By starting with the simplest skill, a learner gains confidence and is less likely to become frustrated when building skills that are more complex.

Another consideration in this phase is the language used. Instructors should attempt to avoid unnecessary jargon and technical terms that their learners do not know. Instructors should also take care to clearly describe the actions learners are expected to perform. Communication is the key. It is neither appropriate nor effective for instructors to try to impress learners with their expertise by using language that is unnecessarily complicated.

As an example, a level turn might be demonstrated and described by the instructor in the following way:
Use outside visual references and monitor the flight instruments.

  • After clearing the airspace around the aircraft, add power slightly, turn the aircraft in the desired direction, and apply a slight amount of back pressure on the yoke to maintain altitude. Maintain coordinated flight by applying rudder in the direction of the turn.
  • Remember, the ailerons control the roll rate, as well as the angle of bank. The rate at which the aircraft rolls depends on how much aileron deflection is used. How far the aircraft rolls (steepness of the bank) depends on how long the ailerons are deflected, since the aircraft continues to roll as long as the ailerons are deflected. When the desired angle of bank is reached, neutralize the ailerons, and trim as appropriate.
  • Lead the roll-out by approximately one-half the number of degrees of the angle of bank. Use coordinated aileron and rudder control pressures. Simultaneously begin releasing the back pressure so aileron, rudder, and elevator pressures are neutralized when the aircraft reaches the wings-level position.
  • Leading the roll-out heading by one-half the bank angle is a good rule of thumb for initial training. However, keep in mind that the required amount of lead really depends on the type of turn, turn rate, and roll-out rate. As a pilot gains experience, he or she will develop a consistent roll-in and roll-out technique for various types of turns. Upon reaching a wings-level attitude, reduce power and trim to remove control pressures.

Learner Tells—Instructor Does

Second, the learner tells as the instructor does. In this step, the learner actually plays the role of instructor, telling the instructor what to do and how to do it. Two benefits accrue from this step: the learner, being freed from the need to concentrate on performance of the maneuver and from concern about its outcome, is able to organize his or her thoughts regarding the steps involved and the techniques to be used. In the process of explaining the maneuver as the instructor performs it, perceptions begin to develop into insights. Mental habits begin to form with repetition of the instructions previously received. Plus, the instructor is able to evaluate the learner’s understanding of the factors involved in performance of the maneuver.

According to the principle of primacy, it is important for the instructor to make sure the learner gets it right the first time. The learner should also understand the correct sequence and be aware of safety precautions for each procedure or maneuver. If a misunderstanding exists, it can be corrected before the learner becomes absorbed in controlling the aircraft.

Learner Tells—Learner Does

Application is the third step in this method. This is where learning takes place and where performance habits are formed. If the learner has been adequately prepared and the procedure or maneuver fully explained and demonstrated, meaningful learning occurs. The instructor should be alert during the learner’s practice to detect any errors in technique and to prevent the formation of faulty.

At the same time, the learner should be encouraged to think about what to do during the performance of a maneuver, until it becomes habitual. In this step, the thinking is done verbally. This focuses concentration on the task to be accomplished, so that total involvement in the maneuver is fostered. All of the learner’s physical and mental faculties are brought into play. The instructor should be aware of the learner’s thought processes. It is easy to determine whether an error is induced by a misconception or by a simple lack of motor skills. Therefore, in addition to forcing total concentration on the part of the learner, this method provides a means for keeping the instructor aware of what the learner is thinking. The learner is not only learning to do something, but he or she is also learning a self-teaching process that is highly desirable in development of a skill.

The exact procedures that the instructor should use during learner practice depend on factors such as the learner’s proficiency level, the type of maneuver, and the stage of training. The instructor should exercise good judgment to decide how much control to use. With potentially hazardous or difficult maneuvers, the instructor should be alert and ready to take control at any time. This is especially true during a learner’s first attempt at a particular maneuver. On the other hand, if a learner is progressing normally, the instructor should avoid unnecessary interruptions or too much assistance.

A typical test of how much control is needed often occurs during a learner’s first few attempts to land an aircraft. The instructor must quickly evaluate the learner’s need for help, and not hesitate to take control, if required. At the same time, the learner should be allowed to practice the entire maneuver often enough to achieve the level of proficiency established in the lesson objectives. Since this is a learning phase rather than an evaluation phase of the training, errors or unsafe practices should be identified and corrected in a positive and timely way. In some cases, the learner is not able to meet the proficiency level specified in the lesson objectives within the allotted time. When this occurs, the instructor should be prepared to schedule additional training.