Education as a maritime safety improvement factor
Authors: Armindo Frias, Pedro Água, Mario Simões-Marques
Abstract: The prevention of accidents at sea requires appropriate education and technical training that gives professionals suitable competences and skills for the specific conditions of life on board ships and other maritime facilities. The sea is a hostile environment to humans which requires some specific skills to perform and live on board.Traditionally, the education and training of seamen were done on board ships, where competences and skills were developed in work context, within a master-apprentice relationship. With the evolution of education, in response to more demanding social and technical requirements, a substantial part of this teaching was moved into the classroom context. Such evolution may have brought advantages in the amount of scientific knowledge transmitted, but somehow limited the ability to develop specific skills. To create a balance in the education of seaman, and in order to respond to the current and future needs of the related industries, education should be tailored to combine the traditional expository method with more challenging educational methods and techniques. New technologies in the field of ICT, graphical visualization, computer based simulation or artificial intelligence (AI) can enhance students' learning capabilities. Education should provide students with competences and skills fundamental for problem solving such as critical thinking, the ability to analyze different situations, system thinking, leadership and decision-making in crisis situations, autonomous work or as part of a team, while integrating social, ethical and environmental values.Among the educational techniques that can foster the needed competences, the following can be referred: (1) carrying out experiential learning, individually and as part of a group, requiring activity planning, critical analysis, synthesis, public speaking and feedback through the evaluation of the achieved results; (2) case study method; (3) role-plays, which imitates situations close to reality within a safe context; (4) computer simulation or; (5) gamification. All these techniques can benefit from the technological evolution, such as wide graphic interactions, virtual reality or augmented reality to create more realistic environments that may increase the motivation of students. Another relevant benefit is related to the place where they are made available, a critical factor in the maritime context, as it will make it easier to overcome the distance, making learning available on-board for students.The present work intends to contribute to the discussion around the reformulation of the teaching of management, logistics and engineering in the maritime related industries, by identifying methodologies, techniques and technologies which are optimally adapted to the specificities and the needs of the field. It is intended that the achieved results will be integrated in the structuring of the Master’s Degree Program in Maritime Logistics, to be made available in September 2022 at the Portuguese Naval Academy. The security, safety and performance of the activities carried out in the maritime environment are directly related to the competencies and skills that the education system can foster in the future professionals of the sector. Therefore, there are teaching methodologies more suitable than others in order to enhance such competences development.
Keywords: Education methodologies, Logistics, Maritime education and training, Maritime security, Seamen Skills and Competences
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