Computer-Based Training (CBT) refers to training in the form of lectures, instructional courses, video demonstrations or guidance delivered via a computer. For the past two decades, this method of training has been employed in various fields and disciplines. The traditional classroom-teacher role is replaced by an application on the computer that is responsible for instructing the student, managing the teaching process, monitoring progress and providing feedback and results. Web-Based Training (WBT) is a subset of CBT. The contents and training is done on the internet and it is the fastest growing form of CBT worldwide. CBT can take the form of live training sessions where students log-in at a specific date and time to view the session or they can be pre-recorded and viewed on-demand.
There have been numerous changes in the methods of maritime training in the last two decades. Training departments have seen budget cuts forcing shipping companies to utilize new technology and methods to meet training objectives. With the advances in technology and computer power, Maritime Education and Training (MET) has used CBT as an asset to achieve its training objectives. The new training methods adopted through CBT ensures the MET can deliver and maintain the same quality of training. CBT has been widely adopted by maritime companies since the new technology can be used by mariners and students with little or no assistance and support by an instructor. They can also interact with the training software and use multimedia technology. CBT methods in the maritime industry can be easily conducted at shore side locations and aboard vessels. The software and training methods are operated on standalone computers, network computers or the internet and is capable of producing records and assessments.
Apart from these factors, which make CBT a correct fit for the maritime industry, there are several other benefits when using and implementing CBT. In MET, user friendliness is key. The maritime companies have found well-designed CBT technology to be an attractive option as it does not require a great deal of experience with computers. CBT offers flexible training times that are more suitable to mariners and trainees. In the maritime industry, this is very much welcomed when there are shift schedules and crew changes taking place on several vessels. Where traditional classroom training requires seafarers in one place at a particular time, CBT programs can be designed with the flexibility for each individual to complete the training program within an allotted time frame along with an assessment.
Every vessel owner and operator will confront different problems and challenges. A CBT program can be developed to focus on each company’s requirements as well as specific department training needs. For example, different crews and vessels may have specific problems for which a CBT program can be designed and structured to bring that crew up to the level and standard for operation.
As mentioned earlier CBT programs can be designed to be very interactive, while traditional classroom training is interactive it can also become boring. The same goes when there is prolong reading from books or even a computer screen. A main property of CBT is to be interactive with the trainee. Software and training programs can be structured for mariners to perform task, answer questions, view 3D simulators or video demonstrations and even give them the opportunity to move parts and objects around. By involving them in different activities, the training becomes more interesting through interaction.
Similar to the point earlier on flexibility, CBT allows easier accessibility and distribution. This means it is always accessible and do not need a scheduled training session or for a trainer to be arranged to run the course. It can be used by anyone who has access within the company or onboard the vessel. Of course companies will have copyrights and their training program protected. Distribution within the company can be made easy by using shared storage clouds, secured login access, protected USB drives and even email.
Shipping companies are continuously challenged to improve training methods to meet STCW 95 requirements and IMO regulations all while trying to reduce cost. CBT can play an important role in onboard training and carries advantages for each potential use onboard. The CBT program and systems onboard overcomes the problems of distance learning, through developments in satellite communications the program can be updated regularly to meet training quality and standards.
CBT programs onboard are also ideal when there are skills and processes that are considered hazardous or high risk. The handling of chemicals, dangerous cargoes and explosives is one example where crew members can gain the required skills and correct procedures without risk. 3D simulation and video demonstration allow this to be possible. Onboard CBT training programs with structured assessments assist ship operators with keeping training records. The training records on the CBT system provides evidence that the training has been performed and completed. The recorded ensure that each vessel is manned with a well-trained, certified and qualified crew. Keeping updated training records falls under the ISM code and the safety management systems.
STCW 95 has no detailed requirements for CBT, instead the requirements cover onboard and the need for proper training records and training books as well as an experience personnel or supervisor present for any practical training. For onboard training it is required that seafarers hold a theoretical and practical knowledge of the discipline. Onboard simulation should show the capabilities and limitations of the equipment.
While technological advancements continue, there will be developments in computer-based training. This can eventually be fully adopted in MET. Vessels can connect to shore-based Maritime education and training institutions to update their programs and training systems. CBT will continue to expand in the maritime industry as it reduces training cost, upholds the quality and standards of training and improves the effectiveness of learning in mariners and crews.
TriAnd Maritime provide online training modules in the form of 3D Animated Video Demonstrations. These demonstrations are intended to simulate real life environments thereby facilitating learning and development of seafarers and shore staff. To learn more about our 3D Animated Video Training modules, please visit: http://triandmaritime.com/3d-animated-video-demonstrations/.