Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Debra Beebe


In 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) highlighted to the U.S. Senate the need to focus on air traffic control (ATC) training to meet job qualification and attrition rates within the career field. One U.S. Department of Defense military service assists the FAA in providing worldwide ATC services. This service is referred to as the agency throughout this paper to ensure confidentiality. The agency's ATC career field manager echoed the FAA's call for action in his 2014 Strategic/Action Plan. In August 2013, the agency's ATC trainer program was published. As of December 2015, the program had not been evaluated. The purpose of this study was to ascertain if the program facilitated the learning of critical ATC on-the-job training skills. An ad hoc expertise-oriented evaluation was conducted using the lenses of andragogy, experiential learning, and instructional system design (ISD). Purposeful sampling procedures were used to select 20 participants across the subgroups of supervisors, trainers, managers, and training developers from 7 focus sites. The semi-structured interviews queried 4 topical areas derived from Kirkpatrick's 4 levels of evaluation model. Data collected via documents and interviews were analyzed using descriptive, emotion, eclectic, and pattern coding. Key findings indicated that the program was not developed compliant with ISD principles and did not promote adult learning as endorsed by andragogy and experiential learning theory. The implications for positive social change include providing stakeholders with data needed to make evidence-based decisions regarding the current and future state of the program. The evaluation report project can be shared with the FAA, an agency partner, and has the potential to create a platform for improved training practices focusing on optimum and successful adult learning transactions.