But can the shipping industry focus the energy and enthusiasm that people have for video games into valuable learning experiences for serious purposes?
This was the question explored by Raal Harris, Videotel’s Director of e-Learning & Digital Media, speaking at the Manning and Training conference held yesterday (Tuesday) in Copenhagen.
According to Mr Harris interactivity is key to the future of training. “It has been proven that people retain the most knowledge from ‘doing’,” he explained. “With interactivity a proven aid to learning and our developing understanding of games as a fundamental part of human development, it is no surprise that the concept of using games in a learning environment has been established.
“Games can be serious, and indeed are now part of everyday life – 44% of people play mobile games, and console games are big business with the average age of gamers now about 30 to 35. Consequently, this familiarisation means that there is a role for well-designed game elements and mechanics as an additional tool in the trainer’s armoury, used in conjunction with existing learning.
“With a history of staying ahead of the market – from early adoption of video projectors onboard ship to today’s use of cloud based technology to deliver training, we are well placed to meet this challenge in the maritime training context.”
Illustrating this point, Mr Harris went on to explain current plans: “Videotel is developing two games. The first is a Bad Practice App in which players must identify hazards and bad practice in a variety of shipboard scenes to a pre-set time limit. It uses many game elements to motivate the learner, encourage debate and think differently.
“The second project involves the dangers of Enclosed Spaces, and builds on existing Videotel/Mines Rescue material to put the learner into a realistic scenario and challenge them to apply their knowledge to specific situations and under similar pressures they would find onboard ship.
“Feedback so far has proven very encouraging,” he concluded. “The only limit to the use of this technology seems to be the time and cost involved in developing the convincing multiple scenarios essential to its success.”