A new method of deploying training material to the aviation industry is being launched by Air Service Training Limited (AST). This will enable students to download training resources online for use on tablet devices, including the iPad and Android systems (Samsung, Sony, Motorola etc.), Microsoft Windows-based devices (both tablets and PCs) and Apple Macintosh computers. Once downloaded, students will be able to access the material any time they want, whether connected to the internet or not. Content used in this new online strategy includes the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) ‘Part 66, Module 9 Human Factors’ training notes, a key module that applicants must pass an examination on to obtain a commercial aircraft maintenance engineer’s license. Using cutting edge technology the system was developed by Bristol-based (UK) company, Koala Publishing Limited, who specialise in the aerospace and aviation industries. For the AST solution, Koala utilised products from their KDS (Koala Documentation Suite). The student user interface is the latest version of Koala’s KDS Mobile4docs viewer. Mobile4docs displays the text and graphics in a vertically scrollable window (horizontal scrolling is deliberately disabled for ease of use). A variety of navigational tools include next and previous page controls, next and previous topics selection, a hierarchical contents list, inter topic links, a breadcrumb trail, and a ‘search’ facility. The intuitive interface is designed for use on both touch screens and devices fitted with a mouse or touch pad. Koala converted AST’s source material to XML, complying with the international DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) standard, using KDS tools. This means that AST will be able to maintain and update the content easily and efficiently. The conversion process breaks the content into a highly structured collection of ‘topics’, enabling content sharing, re-use and re-purposing to meet different requirements. AST have also taken the opportunity to update all the graphics, drawings and charts. New high resolution colour graphics and illustrations were specially created by Koala. Peter Farrow, AST Chief Executive, based in Perth, Scotland, said: “We are really pleased with the results and the attention to detail we received from Koala. This initiative allows us to provide training support for students around the world who wish to seek EASA Part 66 licensing, but are unable to attend our taught courses here in Perth, or at one of our many Worldwide second-site locations.” Koala’s Gordon Dennis added “This is one of the first eLearning applications in aviation based on DITA. Single source publishing of eLearning material like this means real savings for the content owner and also ensures that quality is maintained across all the supported devices – once the source is correct, it’s automatically correct everywhere with no additional effort.” “The fact that the application is available on so many different devices was a key aspect in our decision to go ahead with the project,” continued Farrow. “It gives our students such a wide choice. And the great thing for us is that we have achieved this all from one set of source material so we didn’t have to make separate versions for each type of environment. ”
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