Distance delivery of IMO STCW competency courses: Making the concept a reality through modern technologies and learning tools
Lokuketagoda, G and Ranmuthugala, D and Jayasinghe, S, Distance delivery of IMO STCW competency courses: Making the concept a reality through modern technologies and learning tools, Proceedings of the 16th Annual General Assembly of the International Association of Maritime universities, 7-10 October, Opatija, Croatia, pp. 209-215. ISBN 978-953-165-116-5 (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Maritime Education and Training (MET) is relatively complex compared to
traditional education and training systems mainly due to space and time constraints
experienced by seafarers. In addition,, the diversity of the seafarers’ educational backgrounds,
field experience, and competence make MET even more challenging. Therefore, the
traditional, fixed-term, college based education systems are not always the most suited for
seafarers to develop their competence to meet the needs of the industry.
With the advancements in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) distance
learning, especially targeting seafarers at sea is becoming an attractive alternative in MET.
In recent times, advanced software programs, simulation tools, and associated hardware
enable multi-mode distance learning options ranging from passive delivery of material
to interactive audio-visual sessions. These tools have enabled education institutions to
package and deliver a range of programmes, including those traditionally considered as
‘must attend’ within regulated Certificate of Competency (CoC) courses, thus providing
the flexibility that complements the life style of modern seafarers, as well as promoting
self-directed and self-paced learning.
These advantages come with challenges such as the extensive efforts required in the
development of: content, appropriate facilities, suitable assessment strategies, and channels
of communication and feedback. The location and time separation between the instructors
and students often hinders effective communication, which can be exacerbated if appropriate
support is not arranged in advance with the ship owners and operators for the deployment
and continuation of distance delivery programmes. These challenges need careful handling
to ensure distance delivery of IMO STCW competence courses becomes a reality.
An example, specific to the Australian context, on the successful delivery of distance
learning is the Math-Primer programme developed by the authors that uses modern ICT
facilities to prepare students with the necessary background in mathematics irrespective
of their location or educational background. This programme has grown in popularity
across disciplines, with evidence clearly showing significant improvement of student
competence and satisfaction. This paper outlines how the authors effectively used
modern ICT to develop and deliver this programme through a blended delivery mode.
In addition, lessons learnt in implementing this programme, associated challenges, and
possible solutions are also discussed.
Refereed Conference Paper
Assessments, distance learning, IMO STCW competencies, seafarer, web based learning