module specification

CA5056 - Aviation Psychology and Human Factors (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Aviation Psychology and Human Factors
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
9 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
105 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 30%   Group presentation (with individual elements and assessments) that looks into the application of different causation mod
Coursework 70%   Individual case study analysis of accidents and incidents in aviation using human factors models
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Afternoon
Spring semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

Human factors (HF) and our understanding of its effects on safety performance continues to evolve and develop. The human element is vital to the safe and efficient operations of all aspects of the aviation industry. Recently, a better understanding of human behaviour has resulted in significant safety benefits with human factors discipline forming a cornerstone of every aviation safety management programme. This module looks into how an understanding of operational personnel attitudes, behaviours and mental wellbeing can help reduce HF risks to aviation safety.

Another interesting area which explains some of the reasons why operational personnel make errors is Aviation Psychology. Aviation psychology involves the study of human behaviours, actions, cognitive and emotional processes in the aviation field and also investigates the psychological problems encountered in the work place. In this module psychological principles will also be applied to the aviation industry to look into the effects of sleep patterns, central nervous systems, mental functioning etc. on the behaviour and performance of operational personnel.

The module aims to provide students with:
an understanding of elements of aviation psychology and human factors and their application in the aviation industry
knowledge on some of the issues facing crew interaction within the commercial aviation industry
Knowledge to apply models to identify enabling factors which might lead to aviation incidents and accidents
An understanding of factors which affect the mental stability of operational personnel
The module also aims to develop students' skills, in particular: academic study skills; literacy; applied analysis; critical thinking; interpersonal and team-working; communication, including oral presentation; and problem solving.

Prior learning requirements



Human factor elements

  • Definition, concepts and history - LO1
  • Aviation Human Factors, Management And Organisation - LO1
  • Fatigue And Stress And How to Manage them - LO1/LO2
  • Human Information Processing And Operational Decision-Making - LO2

Managing Human Error

  • Human Error And Threat Management - LO1/LO2
  • Threat And Error Management in Flight Operations, ATC and Cabin Operations - LO1/LO2
  • Crew Resource Management - LO1

Psychology Elements

  • Pilot Mental Health And Wellbeing - LO2
  • Automation In The Work Place - LO2
  • Psychology Principles - LO2

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The formal delivery of the teaching and learning will be based on three contact hours per week spread over 12 weeks. The contact hours will be formed of a two-hour interactive session which draws from teaching and learning strategies such as workshops, lectures, guest speakers, case study discussions, panel discussions and debates, videos on accidents caused by Human Factors, online Weblearn platforms, as well as scenario-based real time activities and simulations.

Peer to peer learning will also feature within the programme as students work together to develop solutions to practically based solutions and assess/ critique the relevant impact.

Groupwork will form a large part of the sessions, with student participating in active learning as they disseminate and discuss relative experience and acquired knowledge.

The remaining hour of contact time will be a seminar-based approach where students will explore current human factors and psychology themes and trends in more detail.

We will also make use of alumni to provide a careers perspective for this section of the industry and make use of guest lecturers to provide contextual learning.

Within the module there is significant opportunity to participate in proactive learning activities via the use of Weblearn facilities which promote inter-active discussions between both peers and lecturers and enables learners to share resources and access links to external journal articles, websites and other sources.

Discussion and debate are actively encouraged both within the classroom context and via Weblearn. Students participating in this degree come from a variety of backgrounds and often have a wealth of industry experience upon which to draw. It is useful to access this via proactive and inter-active classroom management.

Students have a responsibility to prepare for forthcoming lectures so as to ensure that they fully understand the concepts discussed and, so as they can participate fully in debates and discussions. This can be done via accessing the module specifications on-line or via Weblearn, and ascertaining the forthcoming weeks lecture content.

Tutors will provide an indication of forthcoming lecture content at the end of each preceding lecture. The student should then research articles and appropriate readings around these themes so as to contribute fully to discussions and inter-active Question and Answer sessions within the lecture.

Opportunities for reflective learning will be available throughout the module as students are given the opportunity to consider their approach to tasks and discussions whilst simultaneously having the opportunity to reflect upon informal feedback that may be given from lecturers on ideas and concepts spoken of in class and, on assessments submitted.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module, Students will be able to:

LO1 Evaluate the diverse nature of areas for human factors application within
        commercial aviation.
LO2 Apply psychology principles in determining the root causes of aviation
             incidents and accidents.

Assessment strategy

The assessment of this module will take the form of a group presentation. Students will be placed in groups of five. They will be given accident/serous incident scenarios in a particular airline. Each student will be required to use a causation model to ascertain what and why the accident/serious incident happened and then the whole group will come up with recommendations for the airline. The second assignment is a written individual report which looks into how contemporary psychology and human factor issues can be addressed using the models and procedures taught in the module. The module’s assessment is passed on aggregate.


Core text book:
Martinussen,M. and Hunter,D.(2010) Aviation Psychology and Human Factors(2nd Edition), CRC pres
Seedhouse,E.,Brickhouse,A.,K.,& William,D.(2019). Human Factors in Air Transport. Ashgat
CAP 719
Recommended texts:
Salas,E and Maurino,D(2010) Human Factors In Aviation(2nd Edition), Elsevier
Wells, T. (2010) Commercial aviation safety (4th Edition), Mc Graw-Hill
Duffey, R. (2008) Managing Risk: The Human Element. Wiley Blackwell

Online Sources
IATA (International Air Transport Association):
ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organistaion):