The Apple iPad is 5 years old

Happy Birthday!

The Apple iPad is 5 years old today which means that our idea for iPad based ATPL learning is also 5 years old today!

Also 5 years ago today we registered the Padpilot domain which marked our immediate switch from developing PC-based software to creating systems suitable for the iPad. In the following months we also ditched almost all our PCs and converted to Apple hardware.

Back then our PC software (which we were then licensing to Bristol Groundschool) used to be delivered via DVD – remember those?

Whilst we did our best with the tired and clunky Flash format, we knew it could be done better by making use of the exciting possibilities of the iPad. Even 5 years ago we knew that retina resolutions were on the way – though at that time the word ‘retina’ had not yet been adopted by Apple.

We also knew that the old way of doing business was dying. So we turned away from the much discredited computer based training (CBT) model in favour of well laid-out books that properly enable learning and long term retention. In this we were guided by academic research which showed that simple CBT is a recipe for learn and dump.

We thought students deserved better than that. We also thought we could do it better and cheaper than the old establishment schools. And so we did!

Just 11 months after Steve Jobs announced the iPad we had created our own new content and had begun trialling early beta versions of these entirely new books produced electronically and displayed on the iPad. They were fresh, lean and agile but comprehensive, modern and up to date.

And they stay up to date, because e-publishing lets us republish quickly and easily. Gone are the days when you had to suffer the service of the old ‘schools’ who used to content themselves with a book revision every 2 years!

It took a while for the old, fat and complacent establishment schools to wake up to the new world order. Eventually they cobbled together their out-of-date exam notes into more or less readable iPad formats. But they’ve yet to completely understand just how radically things have changed.

They copy and they imitate (which is flattering) but ultimately they just don’t get it. They simply don’t understand that the aviation industry has moved on – as have those of us at the leading edge of training development. Modern training is about delivery any time anywhere in ways that lay down deep foundational structures of understanding.

As a result, Padpilot continues to go from strength to strength. Airlines love the material, students do better with it and all good training organisations now see Padpilot as the provider of choice.

Thank you Steve Jobs and happy birthday to the iPad and Padpilot!