Can Technology Enhance Maritime Training & Education?


We all understand the value of education and training, providing us with the knowledge to help start and build upon our careers.  Across all industries, if we don’t learn we can’t grow and I am a huge believer that learning and professional development never halts in one’s career and plays a huge part in the development of companies and industries around the world.

In the current market, specifically in the oil & gas sector, where profits are being squeezed as a result of the falling oil prices, the value of education and learning cannot be more imperative.

Firstly, how do you maintain knowledge transfer within a business when often cutting staff is the only way for companies to stay afloat?

Often the pressures of cutting staff means that a company is reliant on fewer people to deliver the same quality output and value to existing order books.

Secondly, how do you maintain carrying out current job pressures whilst increasing knowledge?

Much has been written about the comparisons of instructor-led training (ILT) and web-based training (WBT) and which offers the best value for money and best use of time.

The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) works across all areas of the maritime and oil & gas sectors supporting those within the industry with access to information to help marine professionals become better, safer and more efficient at their jobs. The Institutes training and education arm, the Marine Learning Alliance (, has merged both ILT and WBT to offer a blended, distance e-learning solution allowing those in the sector to learn whilst they earn.

Technology in this instance enables the offering of unique online learning and education, where course materials can be downloaded and accessed anywhere via a mobile, tablet or laptop, whilst still providing access to a tutor online.

In sectors such as Oil & Gas where the majority can be away from the office, technology in this instance is making courses more readily available, whilst providing the flexible learning approach to juggle a busy day job along with the opportunity to learn and develop further.

So, what are the benefits of blended, distance e-learning?

Availability – with course and training materials downloadable onto a mobile device, content can be accessed at anytime, anywhere.  This creates a platform which allows the user to draw on material wherever they may be in the world.

Personal – having access to a personal tutor boosts blended e-learning as a method of training and educating because it provides a two-way approach to sourcing information.  Not only is the user able to pull information from the learning platform, but they can also ask questions and query specific areas of the content to a qualified tutor.  This method also helps users to apply learning to their current job.

Self-paced – we all seem to be working harder and on more projects, often reducing the time to think about our own learning and development.  With course notes, lectures and training modules downloadable and easily accessed, this approach allows the user to pull information when they are ready and have time.

Globally relevant – in industries such as maritime and oil & gas, companies often operate in a number of locations around the globe.  An online platform can ensure that a programme is rolled out effectively across a number of divisions to a number of employees wherever they may be in the world.

Consistent – internationalisation means that the location of employees can be far-reaching.  Delivering a consistent set of modules that HR are happy with from a group perspective is vital and allows users to gain the same message and training as their colleagues.

Flexible – e-learning in a modular set-up allows companies to enable an emphasis on specific training pieces which can be bolted onto users’ modules depending on job role and location to suit their needs.

Easy to update and manage – company requirements to training change depending on the market.  Blended distance e-learning is easy to update ensuring that companies can change content and keep employees up-to-date with the latest information to enable them to succeed.  It also helps HR teams to manage a global training programme across a number of geographies and skill-sets.

There has never been a more important time to invest in the training and professional development of staff and the IMarEST has been working hard to support companies in delivering and recognising professional excellent staff.

For further information, or if you wish to see how your company can benefit from blended, distance e-learning, please contact the Marine Learning Alliance at: or address your queries to MFAME – as you do it often. Write to us at

About the Author:

David Kelly, MCIM, Chartered Marketer, MIMarEST

David-ImarEST.jpgDavid Kelly is the Director of Asia PAC for the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), responsible for the growth and profile of the Institute within the Asia Pacific region. A Chartered Marketer, David joined the Institute in 2012, where he spearheaded the development and execution of a completely reinvigorated marketing strategy which has fortified the Institute and supported rapid growth over the past three years. David was a key driver behind a skills-gap roundtable held in London in 2013 and subsequent report: “Mitigating the Skills Gap in the Maritime and Offshore Oil and Gas Sector” which led to a redeveloped Skills Working Group under the UK’s Marine Industries Leadership Council (MILC). He has supported the delivery of a Career Level Framework aimed at supporting the professional development of marine professionals around the globe. David is also Chair of the UK’s Marine Industries Leadership Council (MILC) Image Working Group.


  1. Very good thought on Web based Training. Gains are definitely there. It is more economic with scarcity of instructors on one hand and time available for trainees on opposite ends. But concentration and commitment of people undertaking such WBT is doubtful. With class room and instructors, the interaction leads to good grasp of subject matter and subsequent test of skill acquired.


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