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Driving Innovation in an Immersive Learning Landscape

10 / 05 / 2024

Immersive learning technologies, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), are reshaping the educational landscape, particularly in multifaceted safety-critical industries. These innovations promise to redefine the parameters of learning engagement and effectiveness, presenting a transformative opportunity for the maritime sector.

According to the UN’s Maritime Just Transition Task Force, this can't happen soon enough, as the sector battles with the pressing challenge of training up to 800,000 seafarers to handle new fuels and technologies, to meet the decarbonisation goals by 2050.

In the maritime industry, upskilling and reskilling are essential amid rapidly evolving high-level technical demands and regulatory frameworks. Immersive learning offers a unique solution, by simulating real-world scenarios and providing trainees with hands-on learning opportunities in a safe and controlled environment.

Fostering deeper understanding and agility among workers, immersive technology not only enhances educational engagement but elevates safety standards, bridging the gap between theory and practice and empowering professionals to navigate rapid industry changes with skill and confidence.

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The maritime industry needs to revolutionise training and education by weaving immersive technologies into the fabric of learning. "

Daniel Lever - Safety4Sea

Immersive Learning Growth & Impact

The argument for immersive learning is compelling: the global immersive tech market is forecast to soar from $22.5 billion in 2022 to an astounding $187 billion by 2032 with 40% of this coming from the training and learning sector.

Furthermore, research indicates that VR learners outperform traditional learners, demonstrating four times faster training, heightened focus, and nearly quadruple the emotional connection with learning content, compared to classroom-based methods.

This remarkable expansion of immersive learning reflects both rapid technological progress and widespread acknowledgement of its effectiveness. By significantly improving learning outcomes and facilitating a deep understanding of complex topics, immersive learning is being recognised for its potential to revolutionise the efficiency and engagement of the learning process.

Innovation Alone is Not Enough

As much as we need innovation, it needs to be combined with pragmatism and an understanding of the role it plays within the training matrix. For all its effectiveness, immersive learning isn’t right for every course, certification, seafarer or role at sea.

The key is to find a role for immersive technology as part of a blend of training techniques that focus on achieving a collective best learning outcome. Traditional learning will always have a place and is an essential part of every training matrix. However, every stakeholder in the maritime supply chain needs to think outside of the box and be open to the opportunities that immersive learning holds.

Simulations, VR and AR, provide hands-on experience in a safe and controlled environment, whilst preparing seafarers for the use of advanced maritime systems and equipment. When integrated with online modules and practical skills, they become a powerful tool that maximises engagement and knowledge retention among trainees.

Commitment to Innovation

Commitment to innovation and investment is paramount to navigating the evolving technological landscape and positioning safety-critical businesses for long-term success. This is especially important when it comes to integrating learning technologies. These immersive tools hold the potential to revolutionise training, safety procedures and operational efficiency.

“Businesses should not just adapt to technological trends, but actively shape the future of learning in industries where human error can have severe consequences.”

The Role of Immersive Learning: Enhancing Safety and Efficiency

Safety is non-negotiable in the maritime industry, where the stakes are high and risks abound. Immersive learning plays a pivotal role in enhancing safety standards by enabling realistic simulations of emergency situations, navigational challenges and equipment operations.

By immersing trainees in these scenarios, learners foster critical thinking, decision-making, and teamwork skills essential for effective crisis management at sea. Furthermore, immersive training can improve operational efficiency by reducing training time, minimising operational downtime, and optimising crew performance.

Enhanced Learning Solutions

The result? Customised immersive learning solutions with cutting-edge technologies integrated into learning environments where they stand to benefit the most. These will offer stakeholders interactive and hands-on learning experiences that will boost engagement and knowledge retention. Solutions designed with scalability and cross-industry applicability in mind.

The benefit? A workplace where training is enriching and characterised by heightened safety awareness and operational efficiencies. A workplace where employees and management look beyond tick-box compliance towards training deliverables that are more meaningful and insightful.

Navigating Change: The Proactive Approach

In summary, the maritime sector's ability to achieve its ambitious 2050 decarbonisation goals hinges on adopting a proactive stance and a willingness to explore new ideas. Central to this is the implementation of new training methodologies, fostering a culture of continuous learning, innovation and collaboration.

Recognising the pivotal role of immersive technology in training is key. The sector must embrace it and integrate it into learning frameworks alongside traditional methods to ensure compliance, improve safety awareness, accelerate skills development and drive efficiency.

Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Opportunities:

Navigating this ever-shifting landscape presents its own set of challenges. Outside of creating a dedicated innovation team, technological barriers and cultural resistance must be broken down. Organisations need to address various factors to maximise the effectiveness of immersive training initiatives.

  • Foster a culture of continuous learning and innovation.
  • Select and invest in the right hardware and software solutions tailored to maritime training needs.
  • Build strategic partnerships with technology providers, maritime organisations, and educational institutions to facilitate knowledge sharing and innovation.
  • Design immersive learning experiences that are tailored to maritime-specific challenges and are engaging, intuitive, and user-friendly to enhance trainee participation and knowledge retention.
  • Leverage data analytics and feedback mechanisms to track training outcomes, identify areas for improvement, and refine immersive learning initiatives over time.

Driving Change with Innovation

With our history of innovation and quality, we recognise the potential to enhance training by focusing on weaving these technologies into the fabric of learning, creating experiences that are as rich and multifaceted as the real-world scenarios they simulate. This has culminated in the formation of our dedicated Mintra Performance Solutions and Innovation Team.

"Our Performance Solutions and Innovation Team has been established with a clear mission: to drive our business beyond mere compliance, prioritising unparalleled safety through innovative training methods. By championing immersive technology, we are actively keeping pace with the rapid transformation of the industries we support."

The specialised multidisciplinary team is focused on developing enhanced learning solutions utilising XR, simulation, integrated digital tools, and AI. Experienced learning professionals, designers, developers and UX/UI specialists use an approach that considers the entire learning lifecycle. They create comprehensive and holistic learning ecosystems tailored to the specific real-world challenges and complexities of customers in the maritime, oil & gas, and renewables sectors.

About Daniel Lever

Daniel joined Mintra in 2023. He is an accomplished Learning and Development leader with a background in Maritime, Oil & Gas and Renewable sector training with a unique combination of learning expertise and deep understanding of industry challenges positioning him to lead the strategic development of projects, services and innovations for Mintra and their customers. His focus on immersive learning and bringing a performance consultancy framework to the business underscores our commitment to transforming learning through innovation and outcome-based processes. Daniel will be presenting at Learning Technologies, London in April and the Research and Educational Network, Oslo in May to further discuss how Mintra are navigating the immersive learning landscape.

References

PWC, 2022. What does virtual reality and the metaverse mean for training?. [Online]
Available at: https://www.pwc.com/us/en/tech...

Research, P., 2023. Immersive Technology Market. [Online]
Available at: https://www.precedenceresearch...