Ian Mitchell

Keeping it Fresh – Re-Inventing Annual Training Annually


Ian Mitchell, Lead Cabin Crew Training Designer, Air Canada
Ian began his aviation career as a flight attendant with Wardair Canada in 1988. In 1990 Canadian Airlines International bought and merged with Wardair. In 1994 he joined Air Crew Training at Canadian Airlines as an Instructor/Developer. After a few years in this position he discovered his real passion was for training design. When Air Canada bought Canadian Airlines in 2000, the training department was reorganized and Ian became a training designer. Since that time he has served as lead training designer for numerous training programs and other training initiatives.

Keeping It Fresh – Re-inventing Annual Training Annually
In Canada, regulations require that we cover much of the same content year after year. The challenge for training designers is to cover the same content annually and still make it fresh. How do we keep our trainees engaged and interested? How do we do the same thing that we did last year, but do it differently?

At Air Canada, our annual training has evolved considerably over the years, despite the regulations remaining largely unchanged. Each year as we start the design process for annual training we challenge ourselves to find new ways to cover the required content. This has been particularly evident in our e-Learning component, but also in other areas of the program as well. The tone of the entire annual training has evolved over the years, to create a more welcoming, encouraging, learner-centred environment. Because they are being tested and evaluated, we know that many of our crew members will always find the prospect of annual training a little daunting. To help alleviate their fears and anxieties, we have striven to create a more positive training experience.

The feedback we get from our trainees on our annual training program is overwhelmingly positive. They frequently tell us that they really enjoyed their e-Learning, that they learned a lot in their CRM Workshop, or that they feel better prepared to handle emergency situations.