A time-honored training delivery method, drill and practice is based on the learning principle of exercise discussed in the category on The Learning Process, which holds that connections are strengthened with practice. It promotes learning through repetition because those things most often repeated are best remembered. The human mind rarely retains, evaluates, and applies new concepts or practices after a single exposure. Students do not learn to weld during one shop period or to perform crosswind landings during one instructional flight. They learn by applying what they have been told and shown. Every time practice occurs, learning continues. Effective use of drill and practice revolves around knowing what skill is being developed. The instructor must provide opportunities for students to practice and, at the same time, make sure that this process is directed toward a learning objective.
A successful instructor needs to be familiar with as many teaching methods as possible. Although lecture and demonstration-performance may be the methods used most often, being aware of other methods and teaching tools such as guided discussion, cooperative learning, and computer-assisted learning better prepares an instructor for a wide variety of teaching situations.
Obviously, the aviation instructor is the key to effective teaching. An experienced instructor’s knowledge and skill regarding methods of instruction may be compared to a maintenance technician’s toolbox. The instructor’s tools are teaching methods. Just as the technician uses some tools more than others, the instructor uses some methods more often than others. As is the case with the technician, there are times when a less used tool is the exact tool needed for a particular situation. The instructor’s success is determined to a large degree by the ability to organize material and to select and utilize a teaching method appropriate to a particular lesson.