What Is the Right Method of Training for an Aircraft Mechanic

Is there a right or wrong way to learn?  Most of us grow up with our formal education in the classroom.  Some people get a lot out of that environment while others struggle to stay involved in the conversation.  Online training has become more formalized in recent years and certainly has its advantages, while on-the-job training has advantages and disadvantages.  The way each individual learns best is their right method of training, but through years of mechanic training evolution, has one method stood out as the best?

Let’s explore the main three training methods that are used to teach future and present mechanics.  As instructors, we’re trained and take the task very seriously, to find out what the best learning style is for each student and tailor their training regimen to them.  It’s important that the student understands how he or she learns best, too.

There are three main ways that adults learn, which all stem from how they learned as children.  People learn visually, auditorily or kinesthetically.   


Auditory learners receive information best by listening.  They get a lot out of lectures and audio-based instruction. Auditory learners are often able to interpret the underlying meanings of speech through listening to the tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances.  Classroom settings are a great place for an auditory person to absorb a lot of information. 

Some tips on how auditory learners can get the most out of any learning situation are:

  • To have them read out loud
  • Discussing with a classmate how they will apply what they just learned
  • Having them describe aloud, what they’re doing as they practice a skill


Visual learners tend to learn best from visual displays.   By including diagrams, illustrated text books, overhead transparencies, videos, flipcharts, and hand-outs, your lesson will resonate with them. They often use imagery to learn complex subjects. Visual learners often prefer to take detailed notes to absorb the information.

Cues to help visual learners absorb information include:

  • Using vivid presentation graphics
  • Utilizing mental imagery exercises
  • Telling stories that actually happened by using a lot of details


 Kinesthetic learners enjoy using their hands and sense of touch to learn new information and apply new skills.  They may benefit from all types of physical movement while learning.  In other words, they learn by doing. 

 Kinesthetic learners will get the most of a lesson if they’re able to:

  • Physically manipulate components of a process or system
  • Complete a project that requires physical activity.
  • Do an active learning exercise (simulation, game etc)

How do these correlate with the learning that we offer or any institution that teaches adults offers?  None of them are exclusive to one kind of learning.  Imagine if classroom learning was only beneficial for auditory learners?  How could people who are better visual learners make it through grade school if that were the case?

While people learn better one way or the other, most people are omni-learners, they can adapt to any learning situation if they want to learn badly enough.  It’s as much the students responsibility to adapt as it is the schools responsibility to create a well-rounded curriculum that caters to all students and includes all three forms of learning.   

In aviation maintenance you might think the most common form of learning is kinesthetic or hands-on. But the majority learn best through visual techniques with reinforcement from the hands-on and auditory styles.  So the best method of training is actually to use multiple forms and incorporate auditory, visual and kinesthetic techniques to strengthen the learning process.

Northrop Rice is in the business of teaching people to maintain and fix aircraft.  We consider our jobs as important as any job out there.  With our high standards that come from years of experience, you can expect to come out of any of our programs as the best mechanic you can be, no matter your learning style.   

Northrop Rice has over 40 years of aviation training experience and expertise in the classroom.  We provide strong theory and practical learning techniques.  Click here to contact us to find out how we can help you with efficient and effective training that both strengthens your workforce and qualifies them to FAA standards.