The Rise of e-Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In this Reseller News Update:
- The continuing demand for seafarer training
- Meeting today’s challenge of providing essential training for seafarers
- Why is online training so appealing right now?
- What are the pitfalls?
- Potential areas for improvement in online training
- How can the prospects for all students be improved?
The continuing demand for seafarer training
Like many other industries, maritime industry regulations are changing regarding safety, quality and prevention of environmental pollution, putting increasing pressure on ship owners and shipping companies. Today’s crew must be highly skilled in several areas; new techniques and more automated systems reinforce the need for continual professional development. All seafarers going on board vessels above 500 GT for the first time need to undertake Security Awareness Training; those with security duties will need Security Training for Seafarers with Designated Security Duties. Depending on the type of vessel, Passenger Ship Crowd Management training may also be necessary. Experienced seafarers need to renew certain certificates every five years, which often requires refresher training. Essential competencies, like fire fighting, must be regularly trained to ensure the safety of all on board and adhere to industry regulations. Furthermore, all seafarers employed or working on board a Panamanian Flagged seagoing vessel must have a Panama Seaman’s Book, for which security training is a requirement.
Meeting today’s challenge of providing essential training for seafarers
While we are still adjusting to the ‘new normal’ of living during a global pandemic, we are also aware of the critical tasks and responsibilities affected by the situation, some of which cannot be postponed. You may take comfort knowing that not all of the new challenges we face require a complex solution. The ‘new normal’ is making way for some positive trends to gain more momentum. One of these positive trends is the rising demand for online training, also known as Computer Based Training (CBT) or e-learning, which typically only requires an Internet connection and access to the learning system.
Why is online training so appealing right now?
- Online training is lower in cost. There is no need to travel to a location and no need to print out hardcopies of training materials; all you need is available electronically, whenever you need it and wherever you are.
- Students who complete an online course find it convenient to fit the training around work and personal obligations.
- Furthermore, online training provides instant feedback and progress reports to the student, trainer and company involved. Here’s how:
a. Online training allows the student to take control of their learning;
b. Motivated students may learn and adopt new skills more quickly;
c. Students needing more time on a particular subject have the flexibility to adapt the training to suit their needs instantly.
- Online courses are more accessible than traditional classroom lead training; they reach a wider audience because there are no restrictions due to travel time or cost.
- These benefits contribute to online training being a step in the right direction towards a sustainable solution to training seafarers and less environmental impact overall. Online training is the ‘greener’ option, just like choosing an electric car over a diesel-fuelled vehicle.
What are the pitfalls?
With such an abundance of training courses on the market, how do we choose the most suitable and valuable? Which criteria should we use? One place to start is to check whether the course provides an exam certificate widely recognised in your industry. Under which flag will the certificate be issued and what are the implications? What kind of reviews or feedback from previous participants is available? Consider the time investment versus the qualification or skills gained. What will be the training’s impact for you at work? How does this fit with your professional development plan?
Potential areas for improvement in online training
For some of us, social contact and personal interaction are factors contributing directly to our learning curve. Online training can, therefore, be challenging and require increased levels of motivation.
How can the prospects for all students be improved?
- Adding a practical element to online training allows the student to reinforce their theoretical knowledge.
- Ensure ready access to trainers and mentors for students seeking an additional explanation of the course material. For example, WhatsApp, instant messaging or other chat functions can support the student engagement.
- Add a social media or social networking element into the training can also help improve student engagement. For example, an active group on Facebook or LinkedIn allows students to share experiences, tips and celebrate their progress.
“We have noticed a stark increase in merchant shipping companies taking our online training courses. Fellow seafarers are motivated by the quality of the materials and the combination of online and practical exercises, which is pretty unique in the industry.”
Stephan Kramer, Rood Boven Groen.