Bristol Groundschool (BGS) the leading ATPL fixed wing and helicopter distance learning specialist has made some big changes to the delivery of its ATPL courses in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the start of the coronavirus lockdown almost all ATPL schools switched to some form of online ground school delivery. Few people realise, though, that only the distance learning providers will be able to continue with full online delivery as the crisis abates. “It’s a curiosity of the regulations” says Alex Whittingham of Bristol Groundschool “what EASA call video-conferencing is specifically classed as ‘classroom tuition’ for only distance learning courses. It means the full course can be completed remotely”.
Bristol Groundschool have added to their traditional computer-based training (CBT) software a complete suite of webinars (online classroom presentations) across all the subjects. “We run four or five webinars a week” says Alex, “but we also have recordings of webinars in all topics and in all the subjects, with a library of over 200.” The live webinars which are approximately 90 minutes in length, count towards the required classroom time and the recordings are an asset that can be viewed time and time again alongside the rest of the computer-based training suite.
BGS believe in blended learning, in using a range of training techniques so that individuals can find the pattern that suits them best. “The webinars are revolutionising what we do” says Matt Hayes, a BGS ground instructor, “We really enjoy them, and the student feedback has been phenomenal”.
Alex Whittingham is clear where this is going. “What was acceptable in an emergency in March will no longer be acceptable by September. We are getting better and better at this as the weeks pass. We now have a video suite set up to deliver the webinars from our offices. On top of the webinars we offer high quality online revision courses and the aim is, when classes return, that we will be able to create professional quality live videos of the instructors teaching in the classroom so that our customers can choose whether they want to attend classes or not. Best of all, the course fees are the same as they always were.”
Richard Harper, a BGS student said: “I have watched several live webinars (and an online revision week) as part of my course and have been really impressed by the quality of teaching, it’s fantastic. The system also enables you to view the recorded webinars at your leisure, going over the subject matter to confirm information you want to clarify.”
“There is no difference in the high quality of the BGS classroom tuition by attending the school or
joining the online classes; I have done both. The webinars and the flexible online revision options
have meant I can complete my studies around my job and in my own home environment.”
“I am really enjoying my course, the BGS online classroom teaching combined with the computer-
based training material, ATPdigital, is very effective in helping me learn and understand the subjects
and prepare me for my exams. BGS really have set the standard.”
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