Title CAPTAINS: Communication and Practical Training Applied in Nautical Studies
Project Number 2010-1-GR1-LEO05-03956
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
The Captains (Communication and Practical Training Applied in Nautical Studies) product, a result of the EU Leonardo Transfer of Innovation Captains Project, was developed following a language needs analysis of seafarers and Maritime English teachers worldwide. The Captains product contributes to an enhanced safety at sea culture by providing a means for seafarers to improve their English language communication skills.
The Captains courses were designed based upon real life accidents and incidents involving communication failures, and include a range of 2D and 3D simulations. The advanced e-learning platform, Kwebo, provides an interactive learning environment for all seafarers, with a range of community tools for collaborative learning.
The CAPTAINS project aimed to transfer innovation and to conjugate existing knowledge concerning linguistic, paralinguistic, cultural and discourse formation issues acting as barriers in ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore-to-ship and crew communication in the multi-cultural context of a ship particularly since most ships are now multilingual. 80% of maritime accidents are imputable to human factors, of which failure of communication represents one third (Ziarati 2006, Trenkner 2007). The IMO has also underlined the importance of effective communication as a crucial issue for Marine Safety (IMO, 2006) while communicative language used in the context of real-life situations has hardly been part of any Maritime Education and Training (MET) curriculum.
The main goals of the project were:
1. To contribute to an enhanced safety at sea culture by improving English communication skills, oral or written, in order to deal with safety issues and real-life critical situations emerging from English communication problems and diverse cultures due to multi-national ship crews.
2. To transfer innovations by combining advanced e-learning and collaboration tools, already existing at AIT, with interactive rich media learning contents created as the result of aim 1, taking into consideration scenario-based and experiential learning. State of the art technologies such as 2D/3D virtual and interactive simulators allow users to be active, interact and socialise with others, be represented as digital entities, etc. thus significantly reducing the learning curve and the time needed for transferring of skills, a key issue in competence-based and learning by doing.
The main tangible outcome was transfer of knowledge from various nation/international databases for identification of communication failures in safety issues and preparation of scenarios for the training of seafarers working at sea and in ports.
The main intangible outcome was that knowledge previously laying dormant such as technological breakthroughs and modern communication based learning strategies would be creatively combined forming dynamic synergies and acting as a pole of attraction for trainees who wish to improve themselves in their field. Safety will also become the cornerstone rather than just a concern in shipping (Prasad 2008).
English has been set as the language of the sea at international level and its use in situations where safety is at stake, such as fighting a fire or berthing a ship is not always non-problematic, especially when one observes that 80% of maritime accidents are imputable to human factors, of which failure of communication represents one third (Ziarati, 2006, Trekner 2007).
Furthermore, nowadays ship crews are multi-national instead of what used to be a single nation. As a result, linguistic, paralinguistic and cultural and discourse formation issues act as barriers in ship-to-ship, shore-to-ship and between crew members communication. The IMO has also underlined the importance of effective communication in the International Seminar as a crucial issue for Marine Safety (IMO in www.imo.org/human element). In the same perspective it has been acknowledged that communicative language used in the context of real-life situations have hardly been part of any curriculum when training merchant navy officers. Industry & vocational training would in fact benefit from the existence of a training tool such as a learning platform for its sea-going and port personnel focusing on effective communication, an essential ingredient to safe and efficient ship operations.
The situation is as such not only in the partner countries but worldwide. This reveals the high impact as well as the potential for sustainable results and services that CAPTAINS can bring around now that it has set and developed standard scenario-based learning approaches and respective courses on communicative English learning. In this project, the partnership prepared a knowledge base of scenarios simulating real-life situations of ineffective communication that may result in actual accidents and emergency situations or near misses; these were incorporated into the existing MET programmes in the partner countries and efforts will continue to spread these worldwide.
Communicative English learning through scenario-based learning deploying interactive 2D/3D simulations enhances the awareness of dangerous situations significantly (demonstrating the wrong and right ways to communicate and the potential critical situations the wrong ways may lead to) and trains maritime personnel on what actions to take to avoid them. Moreover it develops, adds value and enhances the attractiveness of VET systems and practices incorporating state of the art computer assisted language learning (CALL) in an experiential environment.
The main goals and objectives of the CAPTAINS project were:
-To contribute to an enhanced safety at sea culture by improving English communication skills, oral or written, through the identification of safety issues based on existing real-life critical situations emerging from English communication problems and diverse cultures due to multi-national ship crews.
-To create a respective knowledge base of such real-life scenarios of ineffective English communication and their relevance to potential critical situations.
-To develop attractive rich media interactive virtual simulators of identified real-life scenarios taking place on ship (bridge, engine, deck and social interaction) to allow for effective learning of functional communication of maritime English and avoid culturally originated communicative incompetence or misunderstandings.
-To achieve transfer and evolution of knowledge by merging advanced learning/collaboration and evaluation software that already exists (AIT) and the rich media interactive learning simulations resulting from aims 2 and 3.
-The ultimate goal was to develop an assessment method that leads to some form of certification, thereby allowing professionals to establish a meaningful and well-established as well as standardised way to carry out safety critical procedures based on a communication on meaningful topics. Such an outcome also interests institutional stakeholders from this and similar fields. (Priority 1)
-The project increased cooperation between the training institutions and several social partners because of the labour market needs on overcoming linguistic and cultural deficiencies, that demands the need to develop new vocational skills (Priority 4) such as communicative English competence. Optimised learning was achieved by using real-life scenarios for preparation of innovative rich media simulations that will motivate learners, defining a scenario-based learning approach.
-CAPTAINS enhances maritime VET directly targeting priority 2 as it integrates innovative Information and Communication Technology (ICT) together with the latest refinements in Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) in maritime VET. This notional-functional syllabus will breathe fresh life into VET in general. Indirectly it can address priority 3 to some extent as it can function as a source generating adaptable pedagogical approaches.
Transportation and Storage
Information and Communication
program or curricula
open and distance learning