National training


Stemming from a comment I made on another post, I am starting a dedicated post .

I would like to see some sort of national lessons, where CFAVs who have a real passion for a particular area create perhaps a pre recorded lesson or run a couple of live sessions for the Corps. This could be on a syllabus area or just a general interest, like it could be about your slightly related career or hobbies, something to enrich.

What areas do you think realistically could be covered?

As a very rudimentary training needs analysis, what needs to be covered - topics and level and could they realistically be covered virtually?

For considering this need, I think we need to ensure the aims of the organisation are reflected and so some suggestions may not necessarily reflect traditional subjects.

I would suggest that, with this above more firmly fleshed out, we could approach HQ RAF with the suggestion, with their approval, put out expressions of interest for creating, teaching and marketing/attraction. I see these as 3 separate roles potentially as someone may not want to teach but as are happy to create. This can then be created and, for me most importantly and lacking within the organisation - evaluation.

The downside is that this all takes time but I don’t think we’ll be f2f for a while.

It’s an interesting one. Although the classification powerpoints aren’t great, I do use them for online training, simply as I don’t have the time or skill to redo them. What I have done is written notes to accompany them, which I hope helps. Knowing what questions are asked on the exam also helps.
I strongly don’t believe in reinventing the wheel but as the lessons are currently undergoing rewriting I guess there’s already work being done.
What’s the point in having specialised roles at Wing/Region/Corps if they don’t deliver content?
I’ve been impressed with the mental health and LGBT way of having a pool of trainers which squadrons can ask for an evening. This could possibly work for classification subjects.
I’d happily do principles of flight or any IET/Map/Nav subjects.


We all would.
Yet TG seems incapable of delivering this most basic of resource.

I disagree with this approach, it doesn’t help with wider learning as people are just learning enough to pass the test, which works in some settings but not all.

Are there any Wing/Area/Region Training officers on here who would like to tell us more about what they do and if this does fall into their remit? Not a criticism, more to aid understanding.

Having a pool of trainers works but I don’t think the actual content or process of the MH&R is as effective as it could be, but that is another story!

I am still not convinced that pre-recorded lessons, or lessons with no interaction, are actually very effective.

That said; I think some kind of centralised approach to teaching in these times could help massively. I am thinking more at a region/wing level though. So it can still be a live lesson with at least some interaction.

Live would be preferable as you can get some form of interaction with the cadets. Although if I’m honest, the cadets don’t always interact on VPNs and it is excruciating. Pre recorded has benefit of being less resource intensive.


Not advocating teaching to the exams, rather concentrating on the relevant information. In PofF there’s a lot of extras which are not needed for the exam. It’s interesting and relevant for the subject but worth pointing that out to the cadets


Can be used 1000 times.

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I think unfortunately a lot of the cadets only sit through the lessons to be given access to the exam and then google the answers anyway so how can training be improved to add value?

There will always be a few whom the subject will capture the imagination but I have a worrying feeling they are in the minority.

I know when my kids sit the exams at home they do it my office space with me as an ‘invigilator’ to make sure they aren’t just googling but I am from the paper based, 2 opportunities a year era :joy:

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Eh, I kind of like the open book style, even though I had to do mine on paper with another wing member of staff to over see it!

I think it actually allows the teaching to be more dynamic. You don’t have to teach to pass the exam as much as before, you can focus more on making it interesting. Also, I am someone who was never good at school exams as I can’t revise and ram information into my head. I am however damn good at finding out information if I need it.

I think teaching the ability to say “I don’t know the answer to that but I can find out for you” and teaching someone how to find an answer is 10x better than cramming for an exam. I know this is more aimed at schools, but we do open book and I love it! I don’t want an NCO who thinks they know everything. I want an NCO that when asked a hard question knows how to find the answer, and doesn’t just guess based on memory!


Start with evaluating it to see if it is even remotely delivering anything of use.

I remember the paper tests as a cadet and it was normal as it was like school exams doing it quiet etc. With properly invigilated tests you can also look at the statistics behind the questions which contain a wealth of data.

I’ve not seen any questions for a while but they need to vary in their type, are they just looking for recall or application?

I agree cadets shouldn’t be all about passing the test, kids have enough pressure but an appropriate level of knowledge is important which is why I really want to test all our NCOs to make sure they are up to scratch.

Getting off topic a bit now though!

Ah apologies, that makes more sense!

Although publishing a simple syllabus, like for GCSEs etc is one way of cadets knowing what is and isn’t in the test.

They are exactly the same as the paper questions were all those years ago.

My knowledge of the actual aviation stuff isn’t great, but I did have to teach a member of Wing staff some maths for one of the S/M subjects (I can’t remember which one offhand) that they didn’t understand / had been teaching wrong for a number of years :see_no_evil:

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not necessarily a good thing. Books can be used 1000 times, but how often did the original ACPs get updated?

I’ve slept since then! :joy:

That is an issue in itself though. Questions should be refreshed regularly.

as worthwhile the idea and concept is…

On the assumption it goes ahead I fear the quality will vary massively which will ruin the vision.

Given we’re in lockdown we are limited to our homes to record such a lesson, on the assumption this is with a camera on so you can see the instructor/lecturer it will vary between CFAVs (in uniform where relevant) either sat down or stood up at a desk with laptop/webcam and hit record and if based on some of my work calls, won’t consider looking down the camera lens but wherever they choose around the monitor but rarely at the camera and thus at the audience.
There will be some who will take a very professional approach and set up a “studio” with a camera set up on a tripod to record with, standing in front of a white board/flip chart (or similar house hold alternative) and present to the camera as if presenting in a classroom.

There is then the editing required, moving between views, be it ppt slides, a white board or virtual board…most are able to record a video in selfie mode, but how many able to take snippets of footage and cut it around slides in a ppt with commetry?

Knowing some Wings I have been on some will offer complete support, others will take over control. Have all the kit to make it happen, yet insist it must be done at WHQ, but only will available be open on the days the WExO’s golf score is better than 10 over, and the sun isn’t shining as the lack of curtain in the “studio” causes glare, and other Wings will not care until they see it’s a success and 2-3 CFAVs in the Wing have already done their own thing by which time any chance of a “wing” standard is lost.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the concept and the idea is sound and is basically a Youtube channel with a dozen or so CFAV presenters as the hosts who offer their expert teachings on RAFAC topics.
Why not tap into the expertise of the 10K CFAVs? There is bound to be some excellent presenters out there on specific topics and subjects but the logistics and the roll out I fear would be such a pick and mix of quality and variability that it would be off putting for the audience moving from Flt Lt Jones’s home office with white board, to WO Smiths video in his conservatory with grainy footage to CI McCarthy who sets up a “green screen” at home and presents something likes it’s the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World!

it would also require someone to oversee the process and avoid any doubling up, else you’ll get a catalogue of 200 videos available to view, with 110 of them all about PoF, 50 on map and Compass, 20 on the History of the RAF, 5 on radio, 5 on History of ATC, 6 on Airmanship1, 2 on Air Nav and 2 on Air Power, when in reality you only want one or maybe two maximum on the same subject…

Which begs the question out of 10k CFAVs how to choose the best one (or two) to teach subjects that 70% of CFAVs teach anyway – what makes that one (or two) CFAVs better than anyone else…?
This would either requires CFAVs to go to the effort of making a video, submitting it and someone choosing the one (or two) to be released to the national audience (which would be a waste of time for those not selected) or requires an application process from which CFAVs are selected who then are shortlisted to present the material from a national pool of interested CFAVs. However for relatively straightforward subjects how can we choose who is best CFAV in the country to teach History of Flight or Basic Navigation when there are 900+ Squadrons who area already capable of teaching these topics, so at least 900 potential instructors per topic.

of those 900 how many would be willing to get involved, maybe only a dozen for each subject but for each subject still requires some form of selection while also maintaining a consistent standard in the presentation, the visual appeal of the lessons and some form of standardisation in the format…

I like the idea to teach/lecture around a subject rather than specifically for classification subjects, but in that case, if the Cadets can’t see the benefit (ie is there a badge at the end of it) will they sit through a 60 minute lecture by a CFAV they don’t know and “talks funny” (has a different accent) to them?

I also feel it was to be a national catalogue of videos which was made available, HQAC would HAVE to be involved and by doing so take control by offering a script, set out learning objectives and manner in which the teaching needs to take place, either by insisting existing material is used – running the instructors creativity and reason they are the chosen “expert” or by reviewing new material proposed by the chosen presenter which would take far too long and no doubt either reject or want to make changes too

another reason to give live lessons, rather than prerecord

Having worked with professional educators in the last year in my day job (who have found the transition difficult), my preferred teaching method would be Wing or Region level live lessons. From the experiences I’ve seen in the Corps, this would give about the right instructor:student ratio to make a lesson interactive enough without it becoming too overwhelming

I’ll take “chroma key” for 500, Alex.

But that probably means nothing to 99% of CFAV.

Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against open book, but from several conversations I have overheard from cadets where they brazenly admit they just typed the question into google verbatim to get the answer that really is no good.

Maybe the assessments should close if the user navigates away from the browser window but allowing them to take notes into the exam would encourage some learning of the subject?

This would allow the instructor also to highlight the more important subject matter?

I think in the current climate there does need to be some effort into resources nationally that could cater for different leaning styles also so rather than just having the powerpoints could something be done with, or cadets directed to an interactive web page or podcasts maybe in addition to recorded videos? There may well be resources already available that squadrons are pointing their cadets to that support the existing materials maybe some sharing of that knowledge could help.