Maritime Education In The Covid Era And Beyond: A Snapshot At Uniteam Training

The coronavirus pandemic has had a great impact on all educational institutions. These disruptions, such as closures of schools, lock-downs, travel restrictions and social distancing, are becoming part of our life.

We must all find an inventive alternative way to thrive in a new normal world. The necessity to find a solution during the pandemic has encouraged the maritime training sector to implement online learning and embrace the digital revolution. It is a paradigm shift in education and some of these changes will probably stay even after Covid-19 is contained.

The paradigm shift is not just in technology but also in mindset. The traditional education method of instructor-led learning is rapidly becoming obsolete. The student must take the lead in their learning journey and the teacher’s role has changed from the instructor to the mentor and coach.
Uniteam Training has been preparing the move to online training for a few years now and the microlearning programme we have built up over the years helped us to have a smooth transition from classroom training to e-learning during the pandemic.

However, e-learning is not meant to replace hands-on training or practical training. In fact, it is to enhance and complement the practical training. Traditionally, you sit in the classroom and listen to hours and hours of presentation by the instructor. Now, you just have to engage with your mobile phone and go through the content at a convenient time and at your own pace. You can sit on the beach, in your favourite café, sitting comfortably in your garden, or even in the middle of the ocean; learning can take place at your fingertips no matter where you are. You will then join the group discussion, watch a video, attend a case study, do an assignment, or participate in practical and simulator training to complete the learning process.
The traditional learning method is more or less “front-loaded” training. It relies on loading up the information in one go and hoping the learner keeps some of it. The problem is that it may be months or years before they actually use it in the workplace. By the time it is required, most of what they have learned may have been forgotten or becomes irrelevant.

Therefore, we believe that the future of maritime training is microlearning. It is just-in-time learning, in small portions. This is to provide the right amount of training at the right time, just before they do the job.
We have three programmes for microlearning.

1) Done in Sixty Seconds (DISS) – just one short topic, relevant and fun to learn, and it will take just three to five minutes to consume.

2) ONTHEGO – a series of modules to cover an entire subject. It is intended as a replacement for current class- room courses.

3) Once Upon a Time in Uniteam – a self-produced short video of seafarers sharing their experiences with their colleagues. Stories are very powerful, and people remember them much better than formal learning materi- als. A story could be about a good thing or a bad thing: something they learned, something they are not afraid to share, something they want to celebrate, something they regret, something that gave them nightmares, or something that could help their younger colleagues avoid the same mistake they made. Please send us a short three-minute video to share your experience with your colleagues. Let us learn from each other.

With the advancement of cloud-based simulators, we can now bring simulator training to all our seafarers across the world. A bridge team with a German captain, Ukrainian C/O, Chinese 2/O and a 3/O from Myanmar training together without having to bring them all to a training centre is a reality now. They can just sit in front of their computer at home and conduct bridge team training using a cloud-based simulator. It not only saves costs but also overcomes the Covid restrictions.

My last suggestion here: almost all seafarers must stay at home or hotel quarantine before they join the ship. Why not have a look at our exciting e-learning programmes and try a few modules?

We will continue our efforts to make training easier, less intrusive, more effective, less time-consuming and more fun! From all of us here in Uniteam Training: stay safe! If you want to give feedback about our training or share a video about your experience, please send it to the email addresses given below.

Tin Maung Tun, Training Director, Uniteam Training