MLS: eLearning Re-thought

Posted by Irina Tabakina

Marine Learning Systems, an eLearning software and services provider, delivers interactive, customized maritime training with a key focus on safety and performance improvement. Company founder and CEO Murray Goldberg explains.

 “Creating technologies that improve training outcomes” is Murray Goldberg’s professional passion. A relatively new tool in education, eLearning has gained acceptance as an effective means for knowledge acquisition in many educational and industrial fields. For the maritime sector in particular – which is at times notoriously reluctant to adapt new technologies – eLearning has picked up steam within the last several years as its effectiveness for training and safety are increasingly proven.
Helping to lead this push is Marine Learning Systems. To say the company’s scope is massive would be an understatement. Since its founding in the mid 1990s, the group has grown to serve more than 14 million students at some 4,000 institutions in 80 countries.
Marine Learning Systems, which develops eLearning software called Marine Learning Management System (MarineLMS), aims to help owners and operators deliver and manage critical maritime training and assessment. Notably, the company does not sell training courses, though it works alongside companies that do. Instead, the company provides the software that delivers the eLearning and measures training success so that it may be continually improved.
MarineLMS delivers training courses developed by the customer organization, procured from a maritime eLearning publisher or built by Marine Learning Systems’ instructional designers in concert with specific subject matter experts. The desired outcome for eLearning is no different than that of traditional maritime training: more extensive crew knowledge, improved safety and better operational results; the difference lies within its delivery. “We understand eLearning, its strengths and how it can be implemented to achieve greatly improved learning, and therefore safety and performance,” Goldberg said.
One way MarineLMS achieves optimal results is through its use of adaptive learning to directly customize the training and testing to each learner. Each trainee receives an eLearning “textbook” specifically customized to his or her job, equipment and vessel. MarineLMS makes vessel-specific and equipment-specific training standardized, rigorous and measurable, doing so with unprecedented efficiency, Goldberg explained.
MarineLMS provides features to manage competencies and support, assess, nurture and mentor employees as they enhance skills and progress their careers. Additionally, MarineLMS offers metrics and analytics that allow training managers to continually measure and report on training programs’ success, enable training to be continually adapted and improved.
“Our biggest contribution to date is adaptive learning which makes vessel familiarization standardized, rigorous, measurable and efficient. Typically, job shadowing is one of the primary means of providing vessel-specific training. This is unfortunate because the results are often quite poor, impossible to standardize and impossible to measure. This is unacceptable for any safety-critical industry,” Goldberg said. “MarineLMS brings a data-driven approach to training management, allowing training decisions to be based on data, not speculation.”
Another notable feature making eLearning a more attractive option are MarineLMS’ Remote Training Servers (RTS) used to replicate full land-based LMS experience on board, regardless of the state of internet connectivity. Trainees can move from shore to vessel, or from vessel to vessel seamlessly, using the same learning environment.
As the industry continues to pick up on the value of eLearning, Marine Learning Systems gains increasing success. “From our training-centered focus, 2014 was an incredibly positive year,” Goldberg noted. “The level of discourse on training topics in the industry become more sophisticated. Operators, even the more traditional ones, are beginning to understand that we can improve our training by analyzing the successes in other industries and adapting those that are relevant to our industry. We are seeing that modern, data-driven approaches to training can have tremendous benefits.”
Goldberg said he expects the success to continue in the years to come. In addition to continued development of the company’s core products, 2015 will see the launch of a mobile training app to address increased smartphone use and subsequent opportunity to extend the reach of training without extending the cost.
“This is huge,” Goldberg said. Since MarineLMS is already built as a modern application with responsive design for tablets and smartphones, the move to an offline app is a logical next step.”
And going forward, the focus remains on quality. When asked about the defining trends that will drive Marine Learning Systems in the coming years, Goldberg said, “The overarching trend is the ever-increasing focus on the need for quality, not quantity, training and employee development.”
He explained that the increasing focus on training and it’s critical role in safety, efficient performance, employee satisfaction and company profitability means more thought will be put into training, generating even better outcomes, often with less time and smaller budgets, all playing into the hands of Marine Learning Systems. “We view knowledge and expertise as a core foundation of our business,” Goldberg said. “Our advantage is our eLearning knowledge and the experience our principle employees have in implementing eLearning.”


(As published in the December 2014 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News -

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 36,  Dec 2014

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