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Challenge Based Learning. Project about demand, predictability and safety in air trajectories

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The aim of this paper is to describe the experience of the implementation of an educational project based on the model "challenge-based learning". This collaborative project focuses on the interrelations of demand, predictability and safety in air transport. Specifically, it involves three subjects of the Master's Degree in Air Transport Systems at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. The multidisciplinary development of the project makes students work in a collaborative environment, focusing on operational scenarios of the air transport sector. This article proposes an experience which tries to change the traditional perspective of education through a cooperative project. Students are the main actor of their own learning and they confront different challenges and find the way to solve them. Results concluded that students develop collaborative and multidisciplinary competences and deepen their knowledge about air transport from different insights.
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Challenge Based Learning. Project about demand,
predictability and safety in air trajectories
Javier Alberto Pérez Castán, Álvaro Rodríguez Sanz, Rocío Barragán Montes, Alberto
Quiñones Domínguez, Rosa María Arnaldo Valdés and Víctor Fernando Gómez
Comendador
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
SPAIN
Main author: javier.perez.castan@upm.es; alvaro.rodriguez.sanz@upm.es;
rocio.barragan@upm.es
Abstract: - The aim of this paper is to describe the experience of the implementation of an
educational project based on the model challenge-based learning”. This collaborative project
focuses on the interrelations of demand, predictability and safety in air transport. Specifically, it
involves three subjects of the Master’s Degree in Air Transport Systems at Universidad
Politécnica de Madrid. The multidisciplinary development of the project makes students work in
a collaborative environment, focusing on operational scenarios of the air transport sector. This
article proposes an experience which tries to change the traditional perspective of education
through a cooperative project. Students are the main actor of their own learning and they
confront different challenges and find the way to solve them. Results concluded that students
develop collaborative and multidisciplinary competences and deepen their knowledge about air
transport from different insights.
Key-Words: Educational Innovation Student Project Challenge-based learning
Collaborative Learning Multidisciplinary Learning
1 Introduction
The challenge-based learning is a teaching strategy based on the students’ self-learning,
trying to develop different skills through real challenges where students have to confront some
issues to achieve the project results. In this methodology, the acquisition of knowledge has the
same relevance as the development of skills and attitudes, which will be fundamental to face the
professional life. Based on the achievement of challenges and the resolution of problems from
an interdisciplinary concept, the project aims at three main features: collaboration, compromise
and an entrepreneurial spirit from students. [1-5]
Challenge-based learning is based on the necessity of evolving the current paradigm of
learning processes. It is evolved from a learning without knowledge of the forthcoming
professional career, to a learning that incorporates the work features. This new paradigm gives
the lead to the students, avoiding a passive role and encouraging an active role from their
participation and involvement. [6-7]
The aim of the project is to develop a challenge-based learning model, to provide the
students with a global vision of the processes in the Air Traffic Management industry. It joins in
the management and forecast of flight trajectories, understanding the point of view from the
different agents involved and managing complex, current and future concepts. Moreover,
students develop transversal competencies and skills to solve problems within established
timeframes, attending to the needs of the different agents. Thus, students analyze operative
scenarios of the Spanish airspace and become familiarized with the importance of knowing the
overall perspective of every agent, labor liabilities and assignments.
This project is applied to three subjects of the Masters’ Degree of Air Transport Systems, in
the Technical University of Madrid (UPM), to make students work in a real scenario. It is
carried out by students from three different areas: “Airports and Air Transport”, “Air Traffic
Management (ATM)” and “Safety and Security”. Specifically, the project has been able to
combine three subjects (“Analysis of the air transport demand”, Predictability, optimization
and synchronization of air trajectories” and “Safety and collision risk modeling”) to create a
link between their knowledge and supply a global vision of the process that intervenes in the
management and forecast of the air transport industry.
2 Methodology
The project has been carried out by 58 students, who, in teams, face real challenges taking an
active role in their learning to acquire knowledge about current and future air traffic operations.
It includes the strategic planning, flights tactical performance and the problematic Capacity
Demand Safety in all planning phases of the ATM Service. Additionally, the interaction with
other teams with different roles involves the acquisition of a wide variety of skills.
Firstly, the students of the area of Airports and Air Transportation have worked on the
historical analysis and the estimation of a forecast traffic demand, from the point of view of the
Planner Network Manager of the air transport. This challenge is done through: (a) compiling
historical series of the variables used for forecast, (b) adjusting the series to solve errors or
deviations, (c) defining a representative day type (busy day) which allows establishing an
analysis scenario for the future phases of the project, (d) determining the involved segments
(national, international) to establish partial prognosis, (e) generating the short-term forecast
based on integrated autoregressive models of moving average (ARIMA) or simpler models
(Holt-Winters or simple exponential smoothing), (f) analyzing the explanatory variables of the
traffic evolution to adjust the result of the mathematical model, (g) developing validity intervals
(base, high and low scenarios) to assure and validate the models and (h) adjusting the results by
imposing coherence within the hierarchies of the series and according to the strategy of the
airlines.
On the other hand, the challenge for students of ATM is to establish a strategy for all flight
phases from the point of view of the airlines, accounting for all the factors that affect flight
performance. This consists of (a) understanding the different costs in which airlines incur during
the flight, (b) establishing the strategies of the airline (c) understanding the interactions among
different flight trajectories (d) experiencing the factors that apply to flight trajectories in real
time and (e) evaluate the final costs of flights in terms of trajectory performance. The challenge
has been making the airline profitable for the flights originally planned.
Particularly, these students have been provided with information regarding the costs that
flight incur and the possible strategies that airlines follow. The students, working in teams, have
defined their own airline’s strategy. Once all costs are identified, they have defined their routes
to fly including their optimal vertical and horizontal profiles. These flight plans have been
shared with the students from the other areas, as an input for their prognosis and safety
preliminary calculations.
For this educational project, the students had the opportunity to work on a real Air Traffic
Control (ATC) simulation platform developed by SkySoft. It is the software used by the Swiss
Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), Sky Guide. The ATM students have used this
platform to create their flight plans in a common scenario, including their preferred vertical and
horizontal profiles, and checked whether their flights are conflict-free.
Then, a simulation exercise was run with the collaboration of an air traffic controller from
Enaire, the Spanish ANSP, along with students from UPM’s Air Traffic Controllers Bachelors’
Degree. Students from all areas had the chance to learn how ATC works. Particularly, ATM
students could follow up the modifications that their flights suffered due to weather (heavy east
wind), the activation of Dangerous Areas during the exercise and the downstream consequences
of tactical trajectory changes.
Finally, the 4-Dimensional Trajectory (4DT) information latitude, longitude, altitude and
time - was scrutinized and compared with the planned trajectory. The ATM students considered
the information related to the extra-costs to evaluate the profitability of their airline.
Students of Air Safety and Security adopted the role of the European Air Traffic Manager
(EUROCONTROL) and, in particular, of the Safety Network Manager. Students try to: (a)
implement a methodology to obtain the conflict probability between air traffic flows, based on
data of airspace design, flow analysis of air traffic demand, flow trajectories, safety indicators
(geometry of conflict, probability of conflict, risk, etc.) and (b) analyze flight plans provided by
ATM students to detect and solve potential conflicts over current planning. The challenge for
Safety students where to ensure a safe operation in the Spanish airspace. Specifically, they had
to provide conflict-free flight plans for ATM students and to provide airspace and air traffic
information to airport students.
Fig 1. Flow chart of the different interrelations between stakeholders.
3 Evaluation
The evaluation of the project was carried out with different valuation techniques, being the
most critical a presentation of the student’s work. Selected students presented their work to their
fellow students and selected air transport experts. In response to teacher observations, although
the activities carried out by the students match the content of each subject, the exchange of
information between the different areas would provide a complete vision of the project. The
definition of inter-subject groups would facilitate the exchange, along with common timetables
for the three subjects, which would ease the team working. From the student point of view,
satisfaction and evaluation surveys have reflected positive opinions about this method and
students have expressed their interest for the work of the demand planification, trajectory
prediction and safety management services of air transport. This multidisciplinary project has
developed a motivating learning method and projected a real scenario for airport and air traffic
management services. Besides, they have improved the initial knowledge they had regarding the
operation of air traffic services. However, being the first time these contents are worked in this
way, it is needed a better coordination between the three subjects, something that students have
reflected in their surveys.
4 Conclusion
The project seeks a dynamic and thorough learning method where students make decisions,
argue, investigate and evaluate; acquiring their knowledge through their commitment with the
project and involving in all the stages. Definitely, through challenge-based learning, it is gotten
an easy and deep learning where students acquire lost-lasting knowledge and can work with the
air business scenario, in a new and different way in relation to most university centers.
References:
[1] Rosa María Arnaldo Valdés, Visión Holística de la Gestión del Tráfico Aéreo Basada en
Retos: Análisis de la Demanda, Predictibilidad y Seguridad de Trayectorias, Proyecto de
Innovación Educativa (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)
[2] Apple Inc., Apple Classrooms of TomorrowToday. Learning in the 21st Century, Apple
Inc. 2009
[3] Apple Inc., Challenge Based Learning. A Classroom Guide, Apple Inc. 2010
[4] Nichols, M., Cator, K., and Torres, M., Challenge Based Learner User Guide. Redwood
City, CA: Digital Promise 2016
[5] Elaine H.J. Yew, Karen Goh, Problem-Based Learning: An Overview of its Process and
Impact on Learning, Health Professions Education 2016
[6] Johnson, Laurence F.; Smith, Rachel S.; Smythe, J. Troy; Varon, Rachel K., Challenge-
Based Learning an Approach for Our Time, The New Media Consortium 2009
[7] Antti Piironen, Anssi Ikonen, Kimmo Saurén, Pasi Lankinen, Challenge Based Learning in
Engineering Education, 5th International CDIO Conference (Singapore Polytechnic) 2009
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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Visión Holística de la Gestión del Tráfico Aéreo Basada en Retos: Análisis de la Demanda
  • Rosa María
  • Arnaldo Valdés
Rosa María Arnaldo Valdés, Visión Holística de la Gestión del Tráfico Aéreo Basada en Retos: Análisis de la Demanda, Predictibilidad y Seguridad de Trayectorias, Proyecto de Innovación Educativa (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)
Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow-Today. Learning in the 21st Century
  • Apple Inc
Apple Inc., Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow-Today. Learning in the 21st Century, Apple Inc. 2009
Challenge Based Learning. A Classroom Guide
  • Apple Inc
Apple Inc., Challenge Based Learning. A Classroom Guide, Apple Inc. 2010
Challenge-Based Learning an Approach for Our Time
  • Rachel K Varon
Varon, Rachel K., Challenge-Based Learning an Approach for Our Time, The New Media Consortium 2009
Challenge Based Learning in Engineering Education
  • Antti Piironen
  • Anssi Ikonen
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  • Pasi Lankinen
Antti Piironen, Anssi Ikonen, Kimmo Saurén, Pasi Lankinen, Challenge Based Learning in Engineering Education, 5th International CDIO Conference (Singapore Polytechnic) 2009