The first course covers type-specific training on the Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine VisionMaster FT ECDIS system and is fully approved by the manufacturer, thereby fulfilling the mandatory requirements of a number of Flag States. Courseware for the Transas Marine NaviSailor 4000 is expected to follow shortly.
The online course content follows the competencies set out by the recommendations of various Flag States and requires the student to have completed IMO 1.27 generic training as a pre-requisite.
It takes the trainee through those competencies again in a series of modules using the required, type-approved, ECDIS software in a virtual machine, in this case the Sperry Marine VisionMaster FT, to learn how the actual equipment controls and displays the information.
This part of the course is covered under the Learning Management System’s 'GuideMe' mode and represents 16-18 hours of study, a similar amount of time as would be allowed in classroom training.
Every training package allows a three-week window from first log-in to completion of all the lessons. The purpose of this is to permit the trainees to repeat lessons if required and to thoroughly familiarise themselves with the ECDIS equipment in the 'FreePlay' mode without any tutorial.
“After being guided through the basic functions, the best way to gain proficiency is simply to exercise and ‘play around’ with the system as it operates in the real world,” says Ulf Steden, managing director of Safebridge.
“Take a modern mobile phone for example. You will not learn much from reading the manual only, you become familiar by using and playing around with it, gradually gaining confidence that way.”
“A similar pattern can be seen for ECDIS training, which is why we believe that the interactive GuideMe mode combined with the FreePlay mode, in conjunction with the additional time allowed, are so important.”
Upon completion of the learning content, the 'TestMe' mode is activated. After successful completion of the test, a manufacturer-specific certificate is issued.
Shipowners, managers and crewing agencies can make 'Fleet Bookings' and then allocate these to individual officers progressively, managing the whole process from within the corporate account facility on the Safebridge website.