Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The aviation community recognizes a need for at least one order of magnitude improvement in general aviation safety. This improvement would virtually eliminate the primary cause of today’s accidents—human factor errors. This study examined a method of teaching higher order thinking skills and compared it to the traditional method of instruction used in flight education. It used a pretest-posttest control-group experimental research design to compare an example of a blended problem-based learning (PBL) and non-PBL methods of instruction. The results of the experiment showed improvements in all measures and significant improvements in several measures of (a) pilot performance, (b) situational awareness, and (c) aeronautical decision- making for pilots transitioning to technically advanced aircraft (TAA). Additional research is needed to determine the value of this method for other aviation training.