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Distance delivery of IMO STCW competency courses: Making the concept a reality through modern technologies and learning tools

Maritime Education and Training (MET) is relatively complex compared to traditional education and training systems mainly due to space and time constraints experienced by seafarers. In addition,, the diversity of the seafarers’ educational backgrounds, field experience, and competence make MET even more challenging. Therefore, the traditional, fixed-term, college based education systems are not always the most suited for seafarers to develop their competence to meet the needs of the industry. With the advancements in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) distance learning, especially targeting seafarers at sea is becoming an attractive alternative in MET. In recent times, advanced software programs, simulation tools, and associated hardware enable multi-mode distance learning options ranging from passive delivery of material to interactive audio-visual sessions. These tools have enabled education institutions to package and deliver a range of programmes, including those traditionally considered as ‘must attend’ within regulated Certificate of Competency (CoC) courses, thus providing the flexibility that complements the life style of modern seafarers, as well as promoting self-directed and self-paced learning. These advantages come with challenges such as the extensive efforts required in the development of: content, appropriate facilities, suitable assessment strategies, and channels of communication and feedback. The location and time separation between the instructors and students often hinders effective communication, which can be exacerbated if appropriate support is not arranged in advance with the ship owners and operators for the deployment and continuation of distance delivery programmes. These challenges need careful handling to ensure distance delivery of IMO STCW competence courses becomes a reality. An example, specific to the Australian context, on the successful delivery of distance learning is the Math-Primer programme developed by the authors that uses modern ICT facilities to prepare students with the necessary background in mathematics irrespective of their location or educational background. This programme has grown in popularity across disciplines, with evidence clearly showing significant improvement of student competence and satisfaction. This paper outlines how the authors effectively used modern ICT to develop and deliver this programme through a blended delivery mode. In addition, lessons learnt in implementing this programme, associated challenges, and possible solutions are also discussed.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 16th Annual General Assembly of the International Association of Maritime universities


B Pritchard






Australian Maritime College


University of Rijeka, Faculty of Maritime Studies, Croatia

Place of publication


Event title

16th Annual General Assembly of the International Association of Maritime Universities

Event Venue

Opatija, Croatia

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright unknown

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Management, resources and leadership

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