Online Climbers Avalanche Course

Module 7 Description - Human Factors

Main Course Description Page


This is Module 7 of the online Level 1 Avalanche course Opens in New Window developed and supported by AlpenPro Opens in New Window and offered here in the Avalanche Institute sponsored by Opens in New Window.

The prerequisites for this module are module 4 (Weather) and module 5 (Snowpack 1). This module is a prerequisite for module 10 (Planning).

The module introduces the importance of groups, decisions, leadership, and communication. It reviews some individual and group factors and a couple frameworks for making good objective decisions.


  • Appreciate the role of groups, decisions, leadership, and communication
  • Identify/discuss some common human factor problems, particularly for climbing
  • List and recognize factors which affect individual behavior
  • List and recognize factors which affect group behavior
  • Recognize fads and trends and consider them in an appropriate light
  • Become familiar with some frameworks that help keep decisions and plans objective


This module covers three general topics:

  • Human Factor Basics
  • Issues and Common Problems
  • Decision Making Frameworks

Each of these is broken down further into sub-topics within the course, the Outline on this page shows more detail.


Welcome, Instructions

Human Factor Basics

  • Overview
  • Human Factors Triangle

Issues and Common Problems

  • Common Problems
  • Behavioral Factors - Individual and Group
  • Fads and Trends

Decision Making

  • Objective Decisions
  • The Bull's Eye Framework
  • Traffic Light Approach


  • Case Study
  • Review

Human and technical Resources

This module has complete access to human resources and technical support. There are numerous ways to contact an instructor and to interact with other students. The module has its own forum for questions and discussion, there is a drop box for sending documents (including messages) to other students in the module and/or an instructor, there is a messaging system accessed from the top of the web interface, and there is always email. There is a student publication tool used in this module as well.


There is one assessment in this module. It is a crossword puzzle completed and scored online. One student publication is encouraged to be submitted (i.e. observations, a case study, etc.) but is not required at this time in this course.

Successful completion of this module requires passing the crossword quiz.

Course material

The material in this module is presented online. The workbook pages contain mostly copies of a few online items so that the student can have a printed copy for reference later.

We have made use of some of the excellent posters by Despair Demotivational Posters Opens in New Window in this module.