Maritime learning post pandemic – where do we go from here?

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Neil Bennett, Director of Sales Americas, Global SimulationOcean Technologies Group and Wärtsilä Voyage Solutions outline their thoughts on the future opportunities of an inter-connected maritime training ecosystem at Crew Connect Europe

Raal Harris, Group Creative Director at Ocean Technologies Group (OTG) and Neil Bennett, Director of Sales Americas, Wärtsilä Voyage, (pictured) gave a forward thinking joint presentation at Crew Connect Europe yesterday, 23nd June 2021, where they argued how the pandemic has accelerated the move towards an open online maritime training ecosystem.

The pandemic imposed improvisations of last year though effective in meeting the short term training needs, are giving way to a need for longer term thinking that can capitalise on the advances in immersive online learning, cloud based remote simulation as well as virtual and augmented reality to help deliver more efficient, safer, and environmentally aware mariners who are properly equipped to perform in a rapidly changing, digitised maritime industry.

Having announced their intention to partner on joint initiatives in February, the pair outlined in more detail the nature of their developing collaboration and the myriad benefits for key stakeholders; ship operators, crewing professionals, maritime educators and seafarers.

By connecting the Ocean Learning Platform to Wärtsilä Voyage cloud simulation it will be possible to combine e-learning, virtual classroom and instructor led or self-directed simulation in a single learner journey regardless of location.

“On demand learning offers seafarers the flexibility of training whenever or wherever they are on the planet without the need to be in a particular location or time zone, saving their employers both time and money. But that same flexibility is also of benefit to those responsible for delivering the training and allows them to reach way beyond their traditional local markets facilitating greater levels of specialisation.” Neil Bennett, Director of Sales Americas, Global Simulation, for Wärtsilä Voyage Solutions explained.

As the online world becomes more and more ingrained in our working lives, the need to collaborate more to further enhance efficiencies becomes practically unavoidable.

“As we emerge into a new post-pandemic learning landscape, digital learning technologies provide industry stakeholders with an opportunity to collaborate in the creation of a maritime-learning ecosystem that is an enabler to more efficient development of seafarers, and effective assessment of their competencies, and which will unlock their expertise, in this challenging and competitive environment,” he continued.

Raal Harris Group Creative Director of OTG agrees, “By leveraging smart and adaptive learning technologies and unlocking the power of our subject matter experts, industry can achieve the desired outcome of operating with more efficient, safer, and environmentally aware mariners who are properly equipped to achieve performance beyond compliance.”

Both companies foresee an opportunity for the industry to work in an open and transparent environment rather than one based on an infrastructure of separated and disconnected learning events, broadly taking place either onboard or at maritime training facilities.

They also agree that for any ecosystem to thrive, connectivity is key, and an open architecture that allows all industry stakeholders to both benefit from and contribute to, is vital. The list of stakeholders should include, but not be limited to, equipment manufacturers, industry bodies, classification societies, flag authorities and P&I insurers.