Pandemic Challenges

Pandemic Challenges

Training Academy

It has been two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant decision for educational institutions globally to transition to distance learning as one of the main ways to combat the spread of COVID 19.

GANS Management was very proactive in planning and implementing the measures for virtual training, resulting in the training courses being moved online.

Virtual platforms such as MS Teams and GoToMeetings were procured, and all the instructors were fully trained to deliver the Virtual Led Instructor Training (VILT). At the same time, a ‘Distance Learning Code of Conduct’, clearly stating the protocols on virtual training, was written, and published to the staff and trainees. Documents and processes continued to be updated and improved throughout the duration of the pandemic.

Since this was a novel experience for all stakeholders, everyone learned a great deal at each step.

Virtual training delivery and assessment rehearsals were conducted by the ATC Instructors, students, and invigilators with the help of the Training Academy Management, IT, Student Services, Scholarship and Compliance support staff. These rehearsals were also witnessed by the GCAA Licensing Inspectors, who officially approved the virtual delivery of the very first Basic ATC ICAO 051 course and its assessments. The GCAA’s swift approval was a result of the constant communication and collaboration between the Training Academy and those concerned in the State Regulatory body.

On the 8th of March 2020, it was decided to suspend all classroom training and testing at the GANS Training Academy.  Six courses had to be indefinitely postponed while a plan of action was put in place for the 16 trainees on the ICAO 051 course. Many large-scale challenges were faced in terms of preparing and converting all courseware materials, assessments etc. to distance learning. A significant hurdle was converting the courseware under time pressure, to avoid delays while maintaining minimal loss of trainee performance.

Although the ICAO 051 trainees graduated 8 weeks later than scheduled, the pandemic has shown us that innovative methods of hybrid learning – combining classroom education and distance education through the smart use of digital technologies, can be successfully utilized.

Furthermore, the lessons learned from the ICAO 051 course paved the way for us to expand and become competent in delivering online training to interested local and international customers. To date, the GANS Training Academy has delivered over 80 online and blended courses, proving that investing in distance learning has been a valuable experience which will persist beyond the pandemic despite the challenges faced due to the benefits it provides by reducing travel related expenses associated with training.


Eida Al Kaabi – Scholarship Officer, Maha Osman – English Instructor, John Jennette – English Instructor, Mohammed Basit – Compliance Monitoring Officer, Pamela Johnson – Chief Instructor, Dennis Chavez – Head of Training

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