Matan Shahak

Matan Shahak, OJT Trainer – Passenger Service Agents, Aerohandling Ltd. 

Mr. Matan Shahak is an OJT trainer for passenger service agents at Aerohandling Ltd., located at Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv (Israel). He is an aviation training professional, with a broad perspective on the industry.

He holds a Master’s degree from the University of Tel Aviv (Science Teaching-Majoring in Technology and Learning). His thesis deals with flight simulation-based training, an online learning community, learning methods, gaming as instructional technology, professionalism, and their combination as a potential environment for real-world aviation training aimed at pilots and ATC.

He graduated form the IATA & University of Geneva (Switzerland) Diploma program of Aviation Management and has been designated as an IATA Aviation Management Professional (AvMP). He is also an affiliate of the Royal Aeronautical Society, United Kingdom.

His professional experience includes the training department of Civil Aviation Authority of Israel, where he developed a unique e-learning product for new-hired and veteran Aviation Safety Inspectors. He has been working closely with various stakeholders and partners from the FAA, EASA (JAA), and ICAO. He completed his military service in the Israeli Air Force with honors, after serving as a multimedia/content producer at a training division. 

Simulate and Play Seriously within the Online Learning Community: Combine Online Serious Gaming Simulation for ATC Training

This research examines the combined usage of PC based simulation platform and online network – VATSIM as a potential training environment for ATC; by a broad view of the network’s serious gaming activity. (

The Mixed method allowed data collection from different participants’ groups:

• 40 members answered an online questionnaire about VATSIM training.
• Course participation examined instructional activities.
• Examining VATSIM as a professional platform, at conferences covering industry collaboration; technical innovations.
• An interview with five professionals presents opinions about the potential of VATSIm as a validated training environment.

VATSIM members are serious, gaining experience before courses. 52% indicate online ATC is the crucial component promoting realism – consequently the training; 90% don’t consider it as a “game”. Collaboration with industry and IT innovations blur gaps between virtual and real. Real-world procedures are being used regularly and hence, this environment enables theoretical learning of topics and skills, which are later being simulated in an ATC simulator. Achieving the goals of the “game” creates a genuine online learning community.

Industry developments feed the video game industry, and at the same time, derives technical components, to be integrated into the official products. Moreover, add-ons developers conduct research before development and use real-world data to validate the fidelity level of their finished products. Sometimes, industry stakeholders take an active part in this process, so the PC software is officially certified by the industry partner. Industry professionals indicate that it is possible to use this environment for official training but limit it to theoretical topics, certain procedures, and phraseology as an introduction before the training session in a certified ATC simulator. 

The network’s features and the industry’s collaboration for promoting realism are the added-value, which enables effective transfer of learning from virtual ATC to real-world and hence, can definitely be used as an efficient and cost-effective training platform.