We’re Planning A Brand New Training System.

Hear us out. It’s not exactly easy to say we plan on changing the way an FIR manages training of students, but yet, here we are. On a mission to do exactly that.

For those of you newer to VATSIM, or those who have been around and just haven’t been paying as much attention to how VATSIM trains their students as we do (don’t worry, it’s probably best for your brain…), there’s always been a relatively standard training procedure across VATCAN, and even VATSIM. A student’s path from brand new to C1-rated typically follows this path:

The Current System


We can’t change the first few steps in this process – VATCAN continues to own the responsibility of S1 rating assignment before students join the FIR. However, what happens after a student completes their S1 exam and joins Winnipeg – we can manage here. And right now (and for some time), that training process is extremely complicated, and often, slow. As a student, there’s nothing worse than sitting around, waiting for your instructor or a mentor to be available, just to teach you the basics on a position – not even controlling, just going through classroom work. We’ve all been there, and now, we’re on a mission to eliminate as much of the waiting as possible.

Our Proposal

If you’re going to change an integral system, you better go all in. That’s exactly our plan. The idea is simple – students should be able to learn on their time – and while instructor-student sessions are still critical to any good training, much of the classroom work that students complete doesn’t need an instructor around to complete. So, we’re excited to announce our plans for a brand new online-based training system. (No, it doesn’t have a name… yet. We’re taking suggestions.)

By moving to an online training system, we don’t just mean forcing students to fly through a PowerPoint, then complete a 50-question exam. Nobody really wants that. Our goal is to make it easy to grasp the basics of all ratings, for all students. Module-based learning, complete with small quizzes along the way to check in on how students are progressing. This, all without needing the help of any instructor to complete. Students can complete all of their basic training for each position whenever it works for them – once a student has completed all their online learning for their position, they should be knowledgeable of the new position, and near ready to log on the scope and start controlling under supervision.

This plan is bold, different, and most importantly – complicated. We’re currently inquiring into what system will work best to get this project off the ground – Moodle is a front-runner, as the platform is extremely versatile, open-source, and already used by a few other places across VATSIM. But, with any project this gigantic, it won’t be complete in a few days – this will take a lot of teamwork, a lot of manpower, and most importantly, time. We’ll also likely need some assistance from our training team’s members (mentors, that includes you!) on making sure the system is fully ready before launching to new students. Keep an eye out for opportunities to help out in that regard as we move forward.

We’ll keep you updated here on the blog about our progress on this project. For now, sit back, relax, and get ready for a whole new way to learn here in Winnipeg.