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What is CBT


Research by various educational organisations / institutes indicates that reading text, results in as little as 20% information retention. This retention is increased by 40% when visual and audio components are added to text. But when computer-based training (CBT) blends interactivity with text, visuals, and audio, the result is 70% information retention.

Research also indicates that there is a very strong evidence that computer-based training requires, less time for training compared to instructor-led training. The amount of reduction ranges from 20-80 percent, with 40-60 percent being the most common. Time reduction for multimedia training is usually attributed to a tighter instructional design, the option for participants to bypass content not needed, and the opportunity for participants to focus on those sections of the course not yet mastered.


What is CBT?

Computer-based training (CBT) is any instruction delivered using electronic media such as CD-ROM on a computer. CBT is frequently developed for all kinds of business training (its largest market), including skills training for software applications, engineering, sales, and soft skills. CBT is also used widely for industrial, manufacturing, and safety skills training. Meaningful interactivity is the most important design element of CBT.

In the shipping industry, where there are different types of products that are used for training mariners, and utilize computing technology, CBT for mariners are courses which:

  • Are used by students without the need for support or assistance by instructors
  • Have built in assessment and produce records of the training time and the student identification
  • Are interactive
  • Use multimedia technology
  • Are run on standalone PC's, networked computers, the Internet, or corporate Intranets
  • Are run aboard ship or at shore-side locations


What are the benefits?

With today's faster processor speeds, computer-based training employing rich audio and visual elements is a better experience for the user, than ever before. Although CBT can't replace the stand-up trainer, especially in learning situations that depend on subjective feedback from the instructor, it is a proven medium for:

  • Increasing retention, as users master learning tasks and review subject matter at their own pace.
  • Lowering turnover, because users experience less on-the-job frustration after training in the private, interactive environment CBT offers.
  • Providing consistency of message, which helps increase standardized performance and procedures.


Benefits of CBT Technology

  • Use of high quality text, graphics, and animations supports visual learners.
  • Use of high fidelity digitized narration and sound effects supports auditory learners.
  • Use of authentic interactions with sophisticated simulations improves learning rate.
  • Animated or live action sequences can motivate and provide assistance and entertainment during the learning process.
  • Hands-on learning approach with authentic interactions encourages on-the-job skills transfer.
  • With Instructional Systems Design (ISD) applied to CBT, skill building is promoted from concept (introducing familiar content) to discovery (authentic demonstration of concepts) to performance (interactivity).
  • Randomized corrective audio feedback eliminates monotony during courseware interactions.
  • Advanced organizers, learning objectives, and content summaries enhance retention of content.
  • On-line support functions and tutorials provide ?just in time? reference for use after training sessions are completed.


What has CBT to offer?

What are the factors that affect the training for seafarers today, and the use of CBT can improve accessibility and raise the quality of that training? The true measure of success lies in the competence, capabilities and attitudes of the trainees during their training and more particularly when they have completed their training.


Effective teaching and training requires:

  • good teachers and trainers
  • good students
  • an up-to-date and relevant curriculum
  • good teaching / training materials
  • good facilities for study (libraries, resource centres, computers etc)
  • good facilities for gaining practical experience (berths in ships, workshops, simulators etc)
  • good assessments and examinations


The mail limiting factors are:

  • availability of suitable applicants
  • availability of suitable staff
  • irrelevant and out-of-date curricula
  • lack of facilities for training (time, space, equipment and materials)
  • the high costs of training (trainee costs, trainer costs, cost of facilities and materials)

CBT is just another tool in the toolbox of teachers and trainers, to be used with imagination, judgement and careful monitoring, to improve the positive factors above.


What makes good CBT?

If CBT is going to be useful, it must improve the teaching and training that already exists.


Improvements could be any or all of the following:

  • more effective learning
  • quicker learning
  • better management of the learning process
  • cost saving

Good teaching and training should start with an analysis of training needs, followed by consideration of alternative ways of satisfying those needs, and then the selection of a CBT route (or part of a route) only if that is the best option. One example of a CBT application for seafarers is the ''Collision Regulations''.


A lot of rules had to be learned to ensure:

  • the instant recognition of ships by their lights, shapes and fog signals,
  • thorough understanding of the responsibilities of each ship in an encounter, and
  • that the correct actions were taken.

This subject was best learned with the help of a good teacher conducting "Collision regulations quizzes". These sessions could be excellent, with everyone paying attention and no-one wanting to be caught out by the lecturer and made to look a fool.

By making available CBT material as well as the quizzes, students could prepare in their own time, get "up to speed", test themselves and revise. As an added benefit, whenever ColRegs were changed, the CBT could be updated as well without and forwarded to the trainees without the instructors' involvement.


Types of training

There are various types of training and no one type will suit all applications or all seafarers. The important thing is to assess the need for training at a required level of competence and to match a programme of training to meet this need. The most common types of training are:


Instructor-led Training

Instructor-led training is popular and can be very effective if, like all training it is planned well. Research indicates that for computer applications instructor-led training also has limitations. Instruction carried out on board needs to be carefully planned.

Onboard training while a vessel is in port runs the risk of disrupting a crew who are trying to turn a vessel around in a short time and contending with the myriad of tasks such as cargo transfer duties, crew changes, port administration to name a few. Attempting to train in such an environment, if not managed properly can be very ineffective due to distractions.

Training at sea may be more effective due to reduced distractions, but may be prohibitive in terms of cost and scheduling feasibility. If an opportunity does, however present itself for instruction at sea, the advantages are that :

  • the actual equipment and software that the seafarer will be required to operate can be used
  • the instruction will be in the real environment using actual scenarios
  • the cost of travel (for the seafarers) is removed,
  • assessment of competence is more accurate.
  • the seafarer will also stand a better chance of knowledge retention in this environment.

Where it is possible to consult the crew themselves, and offer a choice of training options, the crew benefit from increased retention and a feeling of greater participation in the decision making process. Instructor-lead training ashore brings the benefit that job distractions are limited, and greater attention can be given by the seafarer to the task at hand, however there are costs incurred for travel, subsistence and often wages.

It is also a recognised fact that this type of training suffers from lack of retention. It is estimated that after a month?s time only 30% of knowledge is retained. If this time period coincides with a seafarers time on leave (or holiday) the retention can be even less. A further consideration with instructor-led training is the ratio of students to instructor.

In a purpose built computer training laboratory, where each student has his own terminal and the instructor?s terminal is projected for all to see, class sizes approaching or exceeding twenty are thought to lose effectiveness. On board ship, or ashore where an instructor is leading multiple students sharing a terminal, more than two students to a terminal is, again, thought to be ineffective.


Video- based training

Video-based training is another option that can be used on board for standard or bespoke applications. Advantages with this method are that the:

  • training modules can be customised for specific applications and
  • lessons can be shared with an audience.

The disadvantage is that videos need to be updated in line with software changes. Although video-based training has been use effectively on board ship for general training, using video for computer training does have limitations. It is not interactive and it can be difficult to translate what is learned whilst watching a video to skills when sitting down in front of a computer at a later time. If this medium is used it should be used in conjunction with a workbook that provides reference and allows for note-taking.


Computer Based Training

On board computer-based training can be very effective and cost efficient and should be looked at as an important option. CBT is actually a very broad concept and perhaps the name is a little misleading. CBT can be used for many things, education, training, reference, review and assessment. It can take many forms including CDRom or be Internet-based.

It can use simulation or virtual reality and can be interfaced by using the traditional mouse and keypad, touch-screen or voice command. With minimal introduction, CBT can be used to teach the most basic skills such as keyboard and mouse usage, right through to the most advanced levels. CBT should, however, be well designed and interactive.


Advantages of using CBT for training onboard:

  • Seafarers can work at their own pace and in their own time,
  • Being computer-based, a seafarer can switch between training and trial modes,
  • Progress can be assessed and recorded,
  • Areas of weakness can be targeted,
  • Training material can be kept up-dated using downloads through Internet or by new CDs.

Many modern standard applications come with CBT preinstalled in the form of tutorials and help wizards. CBT can also be customised to represent specific bespoke systems as well as fleet-specific processes. These can also be. CBT alone is not, however, a panacea and should be implemented as part of the company's training programme, possibly incorporating one or more of the techniques outlined above.

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