During the 2023 SMART4SEA Forum, Mr. Valentinos Steliou, Innovation Director, Mintra, referred to the benefits of AI and machine learning. The development of the next generation of seafarers calls for tools and means beyond the capabilities of our best tools available today, he concluded.
A very exciting part of my role is leveraging the wisdom of the crowd, to identify, develop and deliver valuable innovations for your organization. As part of this journey, I would like to share with you the seafarer and the crew manager of the future.
We are at year 2027 and we have John. John was born in 1992, he is a 1st Officer with 9 years of experience with various companies, and he is a Nautical Sciences graduate from Bremen University. John has recently landed a new contract with ‘Maritime X’ and he is about to embark on a vessel as a 1st officer. Maritime X is a well-known ship management company with offices in Canada, Hamburg, Manilla, and Singapore.
During his recruitment, John liked the smooth process of the interviews and gamified assessments on his technical and non-technical skills. He was super impressed about the way the company accessed and evaluated his qualifications, as well as the company culture when it comes to his future development.
John is using a digital wallet to store all his documents, verified credentials and literally any proof of knowledge he wants to be able to share with the world. Basically, with the digital wallet he has built a complete profile, which covers from Verifiable Credentials (essentially his ID), to everything he has achieved. Maritime X has sent a request to John’s wallet for access to specific information.
In a few seconds John was able to share his story with the company, allowing the potential employer to evaluate his profile for the position. Now that our John has been recruited, he was sent another invitation to connect to the company’s Crewing software which means every update to the shared information will be updated in real time in both places – the wallet and the company’s crewing software.
It is not about making the life of the seafarer easier. It is not about the convenience of the crew manager only.
Maritime X has enrolled John to their own LXP (Learning Experience Platforms) where personalized learning goes a step further. It is Powered by Artificial Intelligence offering a Personalized Learning Assistant. Its Machine Learning capabilities can combine John’s information, with the benchmarking of the company, to recommend learning which is personalized and goal-based with clear learning paths.
The system also provides usage and learning data, allowing John to track his progress towards goals and bringing visibility to the possible career paths with the acquired knowledge.
What about the way content is delivered?
We have already mentioned videos, articles, exercises and different media. It can also be delivered through real-life tasks and gamified scenarios in extended reality environments.
What we see on the screen is a virtual environment from a different industry where the learners can select areas of interaction.
For the crew on board, learning experiences that can deliver content quickly in the flow of work are the way to go. Microlearning content that solves a need on the spot. For example: I want to change a setting to my navigation equipment which I haven’t used for a while, I want to plan a complex route, I want to apply standard maintenance to specific equipment.
The other side
On the other side is Antonia. Antonia is a Crew Manager in Manila for Maritime X. Part of her responsibilities is to apply selection processes to ensure that the competence of the crew exceeds market requirements.
She is committed to the learning and development of all the crew through programs aiming to constantly upgrade their competence. This creates a culture that embraces change through upskilling and reskilling.
It is crucial for our crew manager to have a scalable and adaptable infrastructure around technical training. At the same time, it is vital to focus on the continuous development for all the non-technical skills that will maintain a well-rounded crew.
The tools in her arsenal are the latest technologies in digital learning together with the latest learning methodologies.
A competent crew means an effective crew. Effective Crew means efficient operations. Efficient operations mean safety onboard and streamlined processes, which translates to a fulfilled crew. All those elements lead to Increased profits for our organization.
What is the strategy here?
Learning and development needs to be impactful and relevant, bridging the gap between theory and practice. This is achieved with:
- Small bite-size modules full of practical real-life examples and exercises.
- Content that is delivered through extended reality environments so that our learners can choose from different interactions within scenarios.
- Content accessible to all devices so that it becomes flexible and scalable.
Our seafarers perform better when they have visibility over their career planning. When they know the path to a new rank or when they are aware of current and future responsibilities. We can achieve this by:
- Designing career plans based on the company’s goals influenced from system recommendations.
- Seafarer Contribution. When the seafarers contribute to the plan with their pace and performance and feel that their employer supports their growth, repay with loyalty and a strong work ethic.
- Lastly, we want our plan to be evaluated in real time in relation to the company goals. Several studies showed the strong relationship between strategically planned learning and development and increased company profitability.
The 3rd pillar of our strategy is technology that goes beyond storing and editing data, and beyond simplifying administrative processes. Our crew manager has access to technology that supports the strategy with smart data, meaningful visualization and intelligent recommendations. This is translated to:
- Understanding the learning and usage trends of individual seafarers or the whole crew and run comparisons to the company’s benchmarks and industry norms.
- It is translated to accessing analytics that will tell us how much training is being used and how it’s being used. Analytics that will tell us who is training the most, what skills are in our organization, what gaps we have and who has high-potential. Information on the impact of the training to the performance of our crew and if methodologies are effective and financially profitable.
- Lastly, Artificial Intelligence in Data Analytics is the biggest asset in Antonia’s Arsenal because it can proactively detect learning needs and point out gaps based on the capabilities of our crew, while it defines learning strategies as corrective actions.
The examples of John and Antonia seem too far and very futuristic. However, the technologies already exist, and the vision is already in motion. The rate of our technological advancement is accelerating, it’s unpredictable and it’s unprecedented.
Now we are at the period where extended reality is challenging the boundaries of our real and virtual presence. COVID -19 has amplified the need for complete experiences which resulted to the acceleration of holistic virtual spaces like the Metaverse.
Above article has been edited from Valentinos Steliou presentation during the 2023 SMART4SEA Athens Forum
Explore more by watching his video presentation herebelow
The views presented are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.
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