Page 35: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2013)

U.S. Coast Guard Annual

Read this page in Pdf, Flash or Html5 edition of March 2013 Maritime Reporter Magazine 35CertiÞ cation training is well deÞ ned and regulated by the STCW and the various ß ag state regulations. Course lists are speciÞ ed, course curricula are pro- vided and even model courses are avail-able to guide trainers. However, there is another training component which is arguably just as im- portant, yet it goes largely unregulated and is only minimally speciÞ ed: vessel- speciÞ c training. Broadly speaking, ves-sel-speciÞ c training covers the unique combination of vessel characteristics, layout, equipment, and operating proce-dures and routines found on a vessel.It has always been the case that crews needed to be deeply familiar with their vessels in order to operate them safely. But in recent years this need has become much more critical and urgent in light of the continuously increasing sophistica-tion and complexity of modern vessel-based systems. Simply knowing how to operate these sophisticated systems is not sufÞ cient. A deeper understanding is required in order to facilitate intelli-gent problem solving when the systems are not behaving as expected or, worse yet, when interactions between multiple sophisticated on-board systems produce unpredictable behaviours and outcomes. Crews must be armed with the knowl-edge necessary to make an informed analysis and arrive at a logical decision. It is the responsibility of each vessel op-erator to ensure this is so. However, this is much more easily said than done.The Problem For vessel operators, delivering stan-dardized, comprehensive training of each vessel?s complex systems and pro-cedures across their ß eet can be a daunt- ing task. To illustrate, let?s look at an example.Consider a vessel operator which man-ages 50 vessels. These vessels are never uniform. There may be Þ ve different types of propulsion systems over the 50 vessels. Bridge equipment is not uniform. Fire Þ ghting systems differ sometimes in their type and manufacturer, and differ always in their layout and implementa-tion. Life rafts differ, marine evacuation systems differ, ship handling differs, and even the route that the vessel is currently operating on can require different reac- tions to an otherwise similar situation. The fact that each vessel differs from the others in some fundamental way means that the routines and procedures on board can never truly be the same. To further complicate matters, equip- ment, routines and training practice are all always in ß ux. So even if a training manual could be written for each vessel, it would be out of date in short order. So how can a vessel operator efÞ ciently cre- ate, maintain and continuously improve a standardized, vessel-speciÞ c training program when the knowledge require-ments vary so much from one vessel to another and changes and updates are an almost continuous necessity?The answer is that many operators don?t do vessel-speci Þ c training particu- larly well. Instead, they resort to highly imperfect techniques such as job shad-owing, sometimes combined with small amounts of classroom-based training. Fortunately, the technique of adaptive learning can provide a solution.What is Adaptive Learning? Adaptive learning is a computer-aided training technique designed to tailor each training instance to the needs of the individual trainee. Although this may sound complex, it can be surprisingly simple and highly effective. In general, adaptive systems ?learn? about each trainee and then adapt the learning content and interaction to Þ t him or her. How can this be applied to vessel-spe-ciÞ c training? The best way to illustrate is to look at how British Columbia Ferry Systems Inc. (BC Ferries) uses adaptive learning to provide vessel- and route-speciÞ c training across its 35 vessels serving 47 ports on 25 routes. Adaptive Learning at BC FerriesBC Ferries is leveraging adaptive learning across all operational lines of business (Deck, Terminals, Catering, and Engineering). Taking a deckhand as a speci Þ c exam- ple at BC Ferries, the actual knowledge required will vary tremendously depend-ing on the vessel and route combination within which the deckhand will be work-ing. SpeciÞ cally, there are several differ- ent types of knowledge required:? Core knowledge: This is also re-ferred to as ?Fleet-generic knowledge? and is the same for all deckhands at BC Ferries. This includes company vision/mission/values, deckhand core compe-tencies, safety, security and environmen- tal policies and information.? Vessel-speci Þ c knowledge: This is the required knowledge pertaining to the vessel that the deckhand will be op-erating on. It includes equipment on that vessel, procedures unique to that ves-sel, and so on. It consists of hundreds of pieces of knowledge, the combination of which will be unique to that vessel.? Route-speciÞ c knowledge: This is the required knowledge pertaining to the route the deckhand will be operating on. ? Vessel-Route knowledge: This is knowledge required which is unique to the speciÞ c combination of vessel and route that the deckhand will be operating on. For example, operating procedures for the vehicle ramps at the various ter- minals will often differ based on which vessel is at the terminal. Obviously for BC Ferries, as for any vessel operator, the creation and main- tenance of custom training programs for every possible combination of job position, vessel and route would not be possible as it would number in the many thousands. Even if we took routes out of the equation, the number of distinct training programs required for every combination of job position and vessel would number in the hundreds, render- ing their creation and continuous im-provement not Þ nancially viable. Instead, BC Ferries uses technology to provide the necessary training resources efÞ ciently through adaptive learning. The trainee experience is now as fol-lows. When an employee begins his or her training, BC Ferries? learning man- agement system (made by the company I work for) asks the employee to specify three pieces of information:MR #3 (34-41).indd 35MR #3 (34-41).indd 352/26/2013 4:23:37 PM2/26/2013 4:23:37 PM

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