Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Wannabes Forums > Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies)
Reload this Page >

ATPL theory - Classroom versus distance learning

Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies) A forum for those on the steep path to that coveted professional licence. Whether studying for the written exams, training for the flight tests or building experience here's where you can hang out.

ATPL theory - Classroom versus distance learning

Old 22nd Jul 2018, 12:17
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: UK
Posts: 6
ATPL theory - Classroom versus distance learning

Does anyone have any strong recommendations on whether to complete the ATPL theory in the classroom or through distance learning? If I opt for distance learning I still would be doing it full-time.

7 months of full-time study feels like an excessively long time for the 14 exams, so would I be better placed to use the Bristol, PadPilot or CATS distance learning option and build up hours at the same time? If I studied in the classroom it would effectively take up all of my time and limit flying to a small amount on weekends. I also feel that I could complete the theory part much faster than in 7 months. I have seen the 650 hour requirement by CAA and the distance learning providers have 4 weeks of refresher classroom based study, to check that you understand the material and to meet the CAA requirements.

I have a degree and several years work experience in a civil engineering background, so I do not expect the maths and physics portions of the course to be challenging, but the other parts are all completely new and I do not know if they will be a challenge or just require time spent learning.


Also, do your results influence your career? I have seen that passing first time is important, but do the actual percentage marks matter and after finding the first job is it ever looked at? From speaking to a friend of a friend, once you have passed these exams you never really need it again, it is just another stepping stone on getting the licence.
FredDickens is offline  
Old 22nd Jul 2018, 13:38
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 11
It is indeed surprising classroom based ATPL theory training is rarely being written about online. I would personally choose classroom based for sure because I prefer face to face learning and the social aspect is an added benefit. CBT is cheaper but you are usually on your own except for some forums. I believe classroom based training is more efficient and faster than distance learning. Oxford has a 6 month program including exams and I doubt you can do faster with distance learning unless you like to be on your own in front of a computer for at least 7 hours a day.... And yes, first time passes are important for employers.
emilio123 is offline  
Old 23rd Jul 2018, 06:27
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Doha
Age: 8
Posts: 365
All I will say on this is Bristol, Bristol and Bristol wheather you do it full time at home or not.

Bristol I used between 2003 and 2005. They were amazing back then. Until you have used Bristol, you have no idea how good they are. If I had to do it all again, I would use them again at home and if you can do full time studying, great. The comforts of being at home, less cost, days off from study when you're not in the mood or something at home comes up requiring a break from it. Being able to go flying when you want. Perfect.

Bristol also have a Forum that you can use if you're there student. Why not find it and ask there for advice.
Google Bristol Ground School Forum and you will find it.

Maybe a visit down to Bristol for a look around the premises and at the material is a good idea.

good luck in your decision.
Black Pudding is offline  
Old 23rd Jul 2018, 06:55
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Scotia
Age: 74
Posts: 71
Bristol are not the only game in town for distance learning, and I don't believe they do full time in any case - that would require special approval. Pro Pilot used to do something with distance learning with somebody always available on the end of a video conferencing line, although you still had to turn up in the approved classroom for the consolidation. They tend to leave you on your own at Uni anyway, so distance learning with this "new stuff" shouldn't be hard for you - regard it as utilising the self-discipline you will need for being a pilot!

The problem with classroom learning (for the schools that have tried it) is that students tend to think they don't have to do any work - all they have to do is sit there and tap away on their ipad, keep asking to go back to the previous slide, and the knowledge will seep in automatically! That's why so few schools do it - it is frustrating and uneconomic while you wait for the small amount of students who want it to turn up ( I was a GI in a former life).

You missed out CAPT and Pathway in the list above by the way. 4 weeks of consolidation is not required if the notes are good enough and the student motivated enough.

You can do flying training while you study, and hour building would be a good option. The present liveliness in the market won't be around for ever, and while I don't think you need to rush unduly, sooner rather than later would be best.

G

PS - the people who say they never need the stuff again tend to be people who haven't started flying yet. Certainly ops is the one subject that you will need because most companies write their ops manuals by cutting and pasting the regulations. it will all be distressingly familiar......
Gordon Bennet is offline  
Old 23rd Jul 2018, 10:59
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 218
I would agree with Gordon Bennet, full time ground school is probably less effective than distance learning

Students tend to opt for the full time ground school if they are not confident with their studies but it's not as easy as watching slides all day what you need is repetition of the material over and over and over again until your brain can't fit anymore information in

That is mostly done at home in front of the computer screen

Bristol are good but no matter how good the school is it all comes down to the individual, I would say a distance learning school will be good for an extra 10/20% knowledge in total and the other 80% is up to the student

I know people at full time schools who say their lectures sort of miss the mark and focus on stuff that is really not so important, one guy told me on Radio Nav his whole Rnav was just talking about aerials, you can learn that yourself at home much quicker and easier so the full time schools may have a big name but it doesn't mean they are doing things optimally

They didn't really dive in deep to the important stuff until later on and by then it was too late so in my opinion don't be put off by distance learning as the ATPL is 90% of the individual and the work you put in
Negan is offline  
Old 23rd Jul 2018, 11:52
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Calgary
Posts: 54
If you decide on DL, then make sure you go with a quality provider. It may cost slightly more (not by much though), but it will cause you a lot less hassle in the long run. Bristol GS are excellent, as is Phil Croucher at CAPT.
mftx7jrn is offline  
Old 25th Jul 2018, 00:11
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Event Horizon
Posts: 48
Time for a spanner in the works.
I also like yourself have a degree and an MSc in a technical subject and thought the ATPLs would be a breeze, they weren't. The amount of learning in such a short amount of time was a little shocking despite months of prep.
I couldn't have done my ATPLs DL due to my lack of motivation to study after a 12hr shift, it wouldn't have happened. I needed that 1-2-1 face to face interaction to ask questions and gain as much knowledge as possible before moving onto the next subject. The instructors at my school were all current or ex-airline pilots, so they can help give you the reality and practicality behind the theory. Some don't need or want that, I did.
It was also a great excuse for me to quit my job which I hated. The problem was finding another 6 months later :P
TryingToAvoidCBs is offline  
Old 4th Sep 2018, 21:09
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: UK
Posts: 21
I'm also torn between the two. I'm leaning more towards full time as i'd prefer to just set aside 6 months to get it done and focus solely on that. I am however open to doing Bristol GS on a full time study at home kinda thing. Is it possible to self study with Bristol and complete it all within 6-8 months?
Field Required is offline  
Old 5th Sep 2018, 12:58
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Nice
Posts: 7
When planning on a Distance Learning ATPL, would you guys say that the choice of the school is really important in the end ? I mean, as it was mentioned, most of the work is going to come down to the individual so is it really important to go for a "better" and more expensive school when one can probably achieve the same thing with a school that would be closer to home and more convinient for the exams sittings ?
Kaillou is offline  
Old 5th Sep 2018, 18:05
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 218
Originally Posted by Kaillou View Post
When planning on a Distance Learning ATPL, would you guys say that the choice of the school is really important in the end ? I mean, as it was mentioned, most of the work is going to come down to the individual so is it really important to go for a "better" and more expensive school when one can probably achieve the same thing with a school that would be closer to home and more convinient for the exams sittings ?
Convenience and comfort wins out Everytime for me, if I was starting again I would opt to to do exams in Poland if I had to make a choice again

When I look back the classroom certainly helped but I felt like I was still missing something for most of my lectures and it didn't quite tick the box I was looking for

Maybe it was my ATPL provider and maybe a different school might have ticked that box I was looking for but I would hazard a guess that the distance learning providers are all similar in a way

I would look for a smaller establishment in the UK if you are going to do it there, they can be a bit more personal and 1 to 1 with you where as the big providers you probably won't get the same treatment there

The smaller schools because they have less students coming in will probably be able to accommodate you better
Negan is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2018, 06:20
  #11 (permalink)  

 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: White Waltham, Prestwick & Calgary
Age: 66
Posts: 3,666
"distance learning providers are all similar in a way"

No they are not!
paco is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2018, 11:57
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Nice
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by Negan View Post
Convenience and comfort wins out Everytime for me, if I was starting again I would opt to to do exams in Poland if I had to make a choice again

When I look back the classroom certainly helped but I felt like I was still missing something for most of my lectures and it didn't quite tick the box I was looking for

Maybe it was my ATPL provider and maybe a different school might have ticked that box I was looking for but I would hazard a guess that the distance learning providers are all similar in a way

I would look for a smaller establishment in the UK if you are going to do it there, they can be a bit more personal and 1 to 1 with you where as the big providers you probably won't get the same treatment there

The smaller schools because they have less students coming in will probably be able to accommodate you better
Well i was actually planning on going to a UK school but, being French, i may have some schools around me that are cheaper and offer the same benefits ...
Can anyone confirm that airlines don't give a damn about where you took your ATPL ? Can we attend sittings outside the UK even if we enroll for a school in the UK ?
Kaillou is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2018, 15:17
  #13 (permalink)  

 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: White Waltham, Prestwick & Calgary
Age: 66
Posts: 3,666
They are probably more concerned about which country issued your licence. I'm not sure that French schools would necessarily be less expensive.
paco is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2018, 15:32
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Nice
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by paco View Post
They are probably more concerned about which country issued your licence.
What do you mean by that ? Less appreciated countries than others ? Or just licence conversion issues ?

Originally Posted by paco View Post
I'm not sure that French schools would necessarily be less expensive.
They're not but they might be more convenient for me for the revisions weeks ... although I have to admit that getting a low cost plane ticket to Luton or Bristol might by the same price as driving to the closest school.
Kaillou is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2018, 16:24
  #15 (permalink)  

 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: White Waltham, Prestwick & Calgary
Age: 66
Posts: 3,666
But there's always accommodation...

I just meant that certain countries' licences are better regarded than others - and others are not terribly good at admin
paco is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2018, 18:03
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: UK
Posts: 18
Originally Posted by paco View Post
I just meant that certain countries' licences are better regarded than others - and others are not terribly good at admin
Do you mean that paperwork or whatever can be easier/quicker to do in some countries while others take forever-and-a-day? So the issue is more of how quickly paperwork is processed as opposed to one country's license is better than others?
Nurse2Pilot is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2018, 18:18
  #17 (permalink)  

 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: White Waltham, Prestwick & Calgary
Age: 66
Posts: 3,666
A combination - it is well known that the UK version is one of the most highly regarded, and there are some countries that skimp on the rules.
paco is offline  
Old 10th Sep 2018, 03:01
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Madeira
Age: 17
Posts: 2
Ground School and CBT to use

Hello all

I am looking to start my ATPL theory in a near future because I am planning to go through the modular way, however, I'm confused about which one of these CBT's is the best one to choose...
Basically, my biggest indecision is related to which school to choose and since the main difference between the schools I'm into is the CBT to use I would like to know your pros and cons related to Bristol Ground School and Aviation Exam for the ATPL theory!

Best regards
augusto271 is offline  
Old 10th Sep 2018, 13:42
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Madeira
Age: 17
Posts: 2
Originally Posted by Black Pudding View Post
All I will say on this is Bristol, Bristol and Bristol wheather you do it full time at home or not.

Bristol I used between 2003 and 2005. They were amazing back then. Until you have used Bristol, you have no idea how good they are. If I had to do it all again, I would use them again at home and if you can do full time studying, great. The comforts of being at home, less cost, days off from study when you're not in the mood or something at home comes up requiring a break from it. Being able to go flying when you want. Perfect.

Bristol also have a Forum that you can use if you're there student. Why not find it and ask there for advice.
Google Bristol Ground School Forum and you will find it.

Maybe a visit down to Bristol for a look around the premises and at the material is a good idea.

good luck in your decision.
Thanks I really do appreciate your help on this! I am doing it via modular way because of those things you mentioned and also because it is less expensive. The point about choosing one is because some of my friends recommend Bristol and others recommend Aviation exam...
augusto271 is offline  
Old 10th Sep 2018, 15:24
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 218
Originally Posted by augusto271 View Post
Thanks I really do appreciate your help on this! I am doing it via modular way because of those things you mentioned and also because it is less expensive. The point about choosing one is because some of my friends recommend Bristol and others recommend Aviation exam...
Bristol is a groundschool and Aviation Exam is a question bank

I did my ATPL at Bristol and used both the Bristol question bank and Aviation Exam but Aviation Exam don't have a groundschool although I wish they did as i'm sure they would do a good job of it
Negan is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.