This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Training the Emerging Pilot Workforce: Does Generation and Gender Influence Curriculum Development?




Reesman, Kurt

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


This study investigated the learning styles of pilots and non-pilots and then focused on the gender and generational differences among the pilots surveyed. Invitations to participate in an anonymous online Qualtrics survey were extended to three institutions of higher education, and published on three LinkedIn pages, one widely circulated aviation newsletter, one well-known aviation blog, and four Facebook pages. Total participants were 706 consisting of approximately three-quarters males. Approximately 75% of the participants were pilots comprised of 80% males and 20% females where 88% of them were white. The Baby Boomer, Generation X, Y, and Z generation participants were nearly equal in distribution. The mean age of participants was 42 years old. The Felder and Soloman Index of Learning Styles questionnaire was used to measure individual learning styles on four continuums: Active-Reflective, Sensing-Intuitive, Visual-Verbal, and Sequential-Global. Survey data indicate a statistically significant difference in learning styles of non-pilots and pilots, males and females, and different generations of pilots. Among all participants, pilots scored higher than non-pilots on the Sensing and Visual side of those two scales, males scored higher on the Visual aspect of that scale, and generation variation occurred between Generation X and Y where Generation Y favored the Sensing learning style more than Generation X. For pilots, males scored higher than females on the Visual preference, Generations Y and Z preferred the Sensing learning style and Generation Z favored the Sequential learning style more than Generation X. Curriculum design, instructional methodologies used, and technologies selected to deliver course content should focus on active, sensing, visual, and sequential learning styles while balancing the other styles in the design to produce learners who can thrive in any educational setting.