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Last modified: 11 Aug 2020 11:30

Course Overview

Non-technical skills are the social, cognitive and personal management skills that, alongside technical knowledge, enable safe and effective work performance.  These skills are vital in all industries, with a particular emphasis on high risk industries such as aviation, healthcare, shipping, agriculture and offshore drilling.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Amy L Irwin

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Postgraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course will discuss the history of non-technical skills, from crew resource management in aviation to more recent developments in farming and healthcare.  The development of behavioural markers will be described, and each of the non-technical skills will be discussed in detail, with examples from a range of industries.

By covering the most up to date research in this area, alongside evaluating real life case studies to discover what went wrong, this course will equip professionals from every industry with the tools they need to consider non-technical skills in their own workplaces, along with assessing and improving those skills.

This course will consider the social (teamwork, leadership, communication), cognitive (situation awareness, decision-making, task management) and personal management (stress and fatigue management) skills necessary for safety at work.  These skills will be discussed both together, and separately, to enable detailed understanding of the development and maintenance of these skills.  Factors that could adversely impact these skills will also be described.

Crew resource management, the aviation-based training programme for enhancing non-technical sills, was first introduced to aviation over 20 years ago.  This was following a series of aviation catastrophes where no obvious technical malfunction was identified, or where crew behaviours exacerbated, rather than reduced, the likelihood of the incident occurring.  Following a series of investigations failures in non-technical skills were identified in the lead-up to each incident.  By examining the development of crew resource management, and then charting the evolution of this programme to encompass other industries, this course will enable students to understand the importance of these skills, and the consequences of non-technical skill failures.  This understanding will enable students to consider those skills in their own industry and give them the tools to assess, and enhance, those skills in practice.

Topics in detail:

  1. A detailed overview of the history and development of crew resource management in aviation.
  2. Learn more about the development of non-technical skill behavioural markers across a range of industries.
  3. Find out about the use of behavioural markers as part of non-technical skills training programmes.
  4. Discuss the factors that could adversely impact non-technical skills, and how those factors could be mitigated (including cultural variation, wellbeing, illness, design features and more).
  5. Find out more about the social skills (teamwork, leadership, communication) that are required for safe work practice, and evaluate the research discussing these skills in a range of industries.
  6. Learn about the cognitive skills (situation awareness, decision-making, task management) considered important for safety at work and investigate the potential impact of failures of these skills in practice.
  7. Assess the management of stress and fatigue at work.
  8. Discuss strategies to develop and enhance non-technical skills at work.

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for courses may be subject to change. All updates for first-half session courses will be actioned no later than 1700 (GMT) on 18 September 2020. All updates for second half-session courses will be actioned in advance of second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

No Formal Assessment on this course

Assessment Type Summative Weighting 100
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Learning Outcomes
Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
Sorry, we don't have this information available just now. Please check the course guide on MyAberdeen or with the Course Coordinator

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ProceduralEvaluateEvaluate the impact of non-technical skill failures across a range of industries.
FactualUnderstandDemonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key social, cognitive and personal management non-technical skills.
FactualEvaluateEvaluate the impact of a range of factors on non-technical skill development and performance.
FactualUnderstandDemonstrate understanding of the development process for behavioural marker systems in order to assess non-technical skills.

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