Interactive Presentation Tools Aid Technical Training

By Robert Lane

Herb Romer, an avionics instructor, uses interactive presentation teaching aids developed in PowerPoint 2003 to help students at the Canadian Forces Base troubleshoot electrical systems in military aircraft—what are known as Automatic Flight Control Systems (AFCS).

“The challenge,”  Romer explains, “is that my apprentices must learn how to troubleshoot and repair all aspects of an AFCS, yet at this stage of their learning, they are not ready to work on an actual aircraft. Therefore we simulate the real experience with interactive PowerPoint presentations instead.”

Students ‘measure’ voltages and connectivity values and work through fault-finding exercises by selecting test points within various simulation tools and interactive wiring diagrams.

Romer believes strongly that  these methods must be instructor led, to maximize the learning benefit. “Otherwise students tend to treat these simulations like a game and not as an educational tool,” he says. “We start by giving them paperwork explaining the problem and then ask them to formulate a plan of attack. Eventually they must explain reasons for their actions.”

Students start with a problem situation: for example, some piece of equipment isn’t working properly.

Figure 1, below,  shows a typical problem they might encounter while testing, with additional detail explained in accompanying paperwork.

Figure 1

Figure 2 shows the available interactive elements:

1. Wiring diagram sheet selection (upper left corner)
2. Sheet section selection (upper right corner)
3. Test points
4. Wire continuation (gray box with red line)

Figure 2

Says Romer: “Clicking a small yellow check point displays a simulated voltmeter with the voltage at that point. The meter in Figure 3 displays 28 Volts DC — the correct voltage that should be present if no problems exist. Therefore, this test point is OK.

Clicking return button on this slide takes the user back to the previously viewed slide, in this case Figure 2.

Figure 3

Figure 4 shows a selected test point having a value of 0 VAC rather than the expected 26 VAC. “That’s a problem and it gives learners an important clue,” Romer says. ” Ultimately, they must hypothesize what combination of variables might cause such a failure.”

Figure 4

If you would like more information on how this interactive training system works, Herb Romer has graciously agreed to answer questions or provide details. Contact him at:
About the Author:

Robert Lane is a U.S.-based presentation consultant specializing in visually interactive communication theory and is the author of Relational Presentation, a Visually Interactive Approach, techniques that are featured in this article.  Lane’s Web site,, features free demonstration video clips, tutorials, guides, and other resources that further explain the concepts discussed in this article. Contact him at:

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