First Virtual Course. Four Questions for Instructor Hester Haenraets

Due to recommendations by the Dutch government following developments around COVID-19, the JAA Training Organisation (JAA TO) is temporarily closing its headquarters in Schiphol-Rijk in principle until 7 April.

Eligible training courses scheduled between 18 March and 6 April will be held virtually and move to a digital platform which lets participants experience real-time distance learning. After the first successful trial JAA TO can now comfortably expand its virtual course offers and thus provide aviation professionals globally with high-quality virtual training solutions.

Through this new mode of training, JAA TO offers a flexible alternative to their standard training delivery in times where knowledge and education make for vital skills enabling aviation professionals to do their jobs diligently – which we see as larger contribution to the global health situation.

On 12-13 March, JAA TO instructor Hester Haenraets successfully led the first virtual course with participants joining remotely. As this was a premiere experience for both instructor and participants, we asked her for her impressions. In a short interview we learn about the preparations and expectations that come with such virtual course. JAA TO thanks Hester for leading by example and is looking forward to many future virtual training courses.

JAA TO: Hello Hester. How did you prepare yourself before delivering the first ever virtual class at JAA TO? What were your expectations?

HESTER: As preparation, I had a look at the presentation and made a couple extra slides of material that I would normally draw on the white board. I thought using the actual whiteboard would prove difficult depending on lighting and glare in the classroom. Also, I thought moving around too much would cause issues with the video quality but it turned out that we didn’t experience any of these issues.

JAA TO: How was the learning/teaching experience throughout the course?

HESTER: To everybody’s benefit, all went fine from a technology perspective and the platform worked well. For students I imagine, it also takes a bit of time getting used to the fact that you can actually ask questions easily and talk to the instructor – that it is not a recorded broadcast in which you cannot participate. It might take virtual students some courage to talk in front of virtual people whom you only meet online. I am happy that the students enjoyed the course and the way it was delivered.

JAA TO: How was it to talk in front of a camera?

HESTER: An interesting challenge for me was the absence of students’ facial expression and body language. Normally, this is how I check for understanding and agreement or disagreements from the classroom. Now, I had to gauge the feedback based on questions and trust that the virtual students got it. Virtual classes with video conferencing make the communication more direct and would help the interaction between instructor and students that way. As it was a blended class, it was nice to have some real students present in the classroom as well because they could give direct feedback and that made it feel like a normal classroom environment for all.

JAA TO: What potential do you see for virtual courses in the future?

HESTER: Going forward, I think this is a good option to have, especially during these times. It offers flexibility to the instructor and to students as they might be unable to travel and attend physically. Staying connected through training, and if it is virtually, is important in exercising our jobs.

Over the next weeks, JAA TO is expanding its virtual course delivery portfolio. Please check the website and social media regularly to find latest updates on training courses eligible for virtual delivery.

JAA TO staff do their utmost to accommodate all registered participants and provide them with alternatives to the originally scheduled in-house courses. If eligible, you will be contact by JAA TO representatives as soon as possible with more information on how to register.

JAA TO thanks all of its stakeholders for their continued support and understanding. Our doors might be closed for now, but our spirit and commitment to enabling aviation professionals globally has no limit. We hope you stay safe and healthy. 


Contact Info

Joint Aviation Authorities Training Organisation (JAA TO)

Beechavenue 1 – 19, 1119 Schiphol-Rijk, The Netherlands

Phone +31 (0) 23 567 990

Karl Schreiber, Marketing Communications Officer,