Training Instructors, Calibration and Inter-Rater Reliability

Training the Non-Technical Skills Instructor and Assessor

Much has been written elsewhere with respect to the training required for being an effective instructor and assessor in competency- based training environments, and all of this translates directly to non-technical skills training programs. In general, the core skills that need to be developed by the instructor and assessor include the basic principles of how adults learn and effective facilitation techniques for the classroom, simulator and on-the-job forms of non-technical skills training.14

Worldwide, there are many vocational training programs that can be taken to develop effective instructional techniques, and these should all provide a solid foundation for non-technical skills trainers and assessors. Over and above these general training programs for instructional skills, the specific knowledge and skill requirements for non-technical skills instructors and assessors are highly dependent on the training context. However, a number of general principles can guide the appropriate selection of non-technical skills instructors and assessors.

First, the requirement for technical expertise in the work domain is important. As has been discussed previously in this chapter, the very best non-technical skills training programs integrate the training of both technical and non-technical competencies. However, there are also many exceptions to this rule of thumb, especially when a team with both technical and non-technical expertise can undertake instruction and assessment. In many work environments, a Human Factors specialist may work with a technical expert and provide enhanced levels of non-technical instruction and assessment.

The critical requirement is that the instructor and assessor has extensive knowledge of the non-technical skills being trained, has a detailed understanding of how these skills contribute to enhanced or sub-optimal performance in real-world operations, and has at least a good enough working knowledge of the technical operation to be able to contextualise the non-technical skills being trained in the context of normal and non-normal operations. Similarly, acceptance by trainees that the trainer has valid expertise and sufficient knowledge and skill is extremely important. In some domains, such as medicine and aviation, the culture is such that non-operational staff and junior staff might not be seen as sufficiently skilled to undertake non-technical skill training and assessment. Beyond an acceptable level of knowledge and skill and an appropriate level of gravitas, non-technical skills instructors and assessors need to have their competencies developed in terms of training, assessment and facilitation techniques.

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