Covid-19 has had a heavy impact on the shipping industry, which has seen crews stranded aboard ships for months, a shortage of shipping containers, crews unable to board ships, etc. Alongside these issues comes concern about a shortage of sailors, due to Covid-19 making in-person training and crew changes almost impossible.
As a result, some are turning to online training courses to recruit promising seafarers and tackle the skills shortage. Online training courses provide a platform for crews to further develop their skills while being unable to board ships, as well as a learning environment for those considering a career in the industry.
Online training allows courses to be taken at a time convenient for the individual in small, user-friendly timescales, which provide users with achievements and feedback, thus enhancing the overall learning experience.
Covid-19: Increase adoption of digitization
The pandemic has been a catalyst for the adoption of digitization, with many individuals and industries catapulted into online meetings, online learning, and the use of new technologies to keep working in the pandemic environment – and post-pandemic – constantly evolving.
This is also true for the shipping industry, which has seen increased connectivity for seafarers, due to social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions that prevent individuals from attending training centers for courses and Training.
The introduction of online training courses for the shipping industry not only aligns with the paradigm shift towards a more digitally driven future, but also offers new opportunities for shipping.
Cleave comments: “It’s so much easier to do the training online. What we are seeing today is a lot of pre-membership training going on where owners and managers would like the crew to go through the various courses before joining.
“Whereas when they got on board, they trained once on board, and they still do, but I think they like sailors to be well prepared before they get on a ship. ”
With the increase in the availability of Wi-Fi on ships, crew members can access on-board training courses, as well as enable pre-download of content on ships, allowing for flexible learning. , anytime, anywhere.
What do the courses cover?
The courses are presented to the user in the form of short lessons which Cleave says will appeal not only to Gen Z seafarers but also to those who may not have the time or the motivation to s. sit for hours to take lessons and read texts. “We were really focusing and considering Gen Z and Gen Y because this is the future of the industry. We reflected on their way of thinking, their vision of the training, and at the end of the day, we went to a maximum of 15 to 20 minutes per module.
“If we have a really long course that can’t be scaled down, what we’re going to do is split it into two or three parts, they still have 15-20 minutes, then their retention levels go down because they’re multitasking on board. of the ship. They can take classes anytime, anywhere, anywhere they have their laptops. We have tried to make everything flexible to accommodate what they are doing.
The courses are aimed at those entering the shipping industry and cover topics such as first aid, fire safety, and ship-related skills. They are also aimed at those with more experienced seafaring experience, with topics covering crowd management, crew and ship preparation for the Covid-19 protocol and safety.
The wide range of courses not only allows those starting their careers to further develop their knowledge and skills, but also offers seafarers the opportunity to hone their existing skills, which may have been put on hold due to the impacts. of the pandemic.
Cleave explains, “We see two things, those on board who can’t get off the ship and those on land who can’t get on the ship. You will have what we call “rusty sailors” who could not have been on the ships. With our courses, they can follow the regulations, follow the training while waiting to get on board. “
“They can go on and on with their training, which will hopefully keep them on top rather than getting ‘rusty’.”
To create a user-friendly and engaging learning platform, the company has applied the results of research studies to its training platforms, such as the colors used and the formats in which the information is presented.
In a study by Pearson, a UK-based multinational publishing and education company, a survey of 2,588 people in the United States between the ages of 14 and 40 explored attitudes, preferences and behaviors surrounding the use of technology in education. Results showed that 32% of Gen Z (ages 14-23) preferred online courses with video conferencing, compared to 25% preferring e-text. The survey results also showed that 59% of Gen-Zs preferred to learn by watching videos.
Taking these results into account, OneLearn Global applied the results to how content is formatted in the app, with the content presented in a video format versus the less popular eText-style learning choice.
Along with the format, the company has also invested time in the overall aesthetic of the app and how the content is presented in terms of color choices.
Research by marketing and public relations agency Zen Media highlights how the color green presents a natural and organic feel while being one of the easiest colors to look at, communicating growth, luck and opportunity. stress relief. This led to OneLearn’s overall content presentation with green-focused color palettes and themes to create a visual that was welcoming and appealing to the eyes.
Support the skills shortage
As with many other industries, the theme of attracting young workers to the industry is one of the CEOs and HR departments. Courses such as the one offered by OneLearn Global hope not only to help sailors with learning and career development, but also to encourage and support those new to the industry.
“We have to try to encourage young people to enter the industry.
“We have to try to encourage young people in the industry. There are big discussions going on right now with organizations that say there is going to be a shortage of officers, which will be a problem going forward, ”Cleave said.
“We have to make their lives easier and attract young talent because it’s a great job, but you know you have to make it very attractive in a lot of ways and that starts with training. It’s a great career opportunity once you’ve been to sea and disembarked, we really need to demonstrate it to potential students.
So far, the course has received positive feedback from users of the platform, which the company hopes to not only continue, but also allow mariners to hone and develop their skills.