Training air traffic controllers through digital mobile applications versus traditional methods

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Safety-critical industries, such as air traffic control, are highly regulated, with rigorous processes and procedures to ensure that safety remains of paramount importance despite the business environment. Training personnel in safety-critical industries is therefore typically a lengthy and expensive process. Gamification and the emphasis on fun, entertainment, progression and retention of concepts has been shown to deliver strong engagement amongst learners but remains at odds with training for safety-critical industries. This paper explores the impact of gamified digital applications versus more traditional training methods for the training of air traffic controllers (ATCs) and other roles relating to air traffic services. We explore the impact of the user experience on engagement and learning retention through the testing of two digital mobile applications, Location Indicators (LI) and The Aircraft Control Positions Operator (ACPO) Starter Pack. These prototypes examine how air traffic control training could be improved by digital applications. In an industry where the rate at which trainees can be trained is projected to fall short of the demand for staff to work in the air traffic industry (BBC, 2018) this project examines potential opportunities for changing established training methods. Each application presented key learning areas for trainees in the air traffic control industry and offers an alternative to the equivalent training currently used. The prototypes were designed to provide a succinct user experience that sat alongside gamified elements to improve engagement. These were then evaluated to determine whether they were effective in potential trainee learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th International Conference on Game Based Learning, ECGBL 2020
EditorsPanagiotis Fotaris
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Ltd. (ACPI)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781912764709
ISBN (Print)9781912764716
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2020
Event14th European Conference on Games Based Learning - University of Brighton, Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Sep 202025 Sep 2020
Conference number: 14th

Publication series

NameEuropean Conference on Games Based Learning
ISSN (Print)2049-0992
ISSN (Electronic)2049-100X


Conference14th European Conference on Games Based Learning
Abbreviated titleECGBL 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • User experience
  • Games-based learning
  • Digital training
  • M-learning
  • E-learning


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