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An online/ offline training or Blended Learning Mode is now available for seafarers. You can now  apply or renew your SCTW certificates despite the raging coronavirus pandemic. Distance learning, which is new to the industry, will help us get our COP and COC much faster.

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) launched its Blended Learning Advisory last August 10, 2020. There, they discuss guidelines for implementation of new training methods under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ). Lately, they also extended our expired COP and COC certificates to one year.

 

What is Blended Learning?

Blended learning is a combination of distance learning and face-to-face education. Traditionally, Maritime Training Institutions (MTI) operate in a 100% classroom-led method of teaching. Blended learning changes that landscape.

Through this type of learning, training centers now adopt an alternative mode of delivering courses. Fundamentally, your training will undergo two phases; an eLearning online or distance approach and a physical interaction between students and instructors.

 

How is Blended Learning Conducted?

Interestingly, one element of blended learning is distance learning. The strategy includes sending out modules or hand outs to students as one method. Here, MTIs shall conduct the eLearning components over the internet using digital platforms or Learning Management Systems (LMS).

The second aspect of this mode of learning is the face-to-face interaction. As per MARINA’s Advisory, training centers must deliver practical exercises and assessments like the traditional classroom environment. For instance, the place of interaction could either be in the main office or practical site.

Accordingly, MARINA advises that the content of face-to-face classes shall not in any way be reduced to 50%.

 

Marina Advisory 2020-59 on Blended Learning Mode

 

Permit to Operate

MARINA only allows MTIs with an approved Post Enhanced Community Quarantine Operations Plan to conduct Blended Learning Mode. Before they could operate, they must submit a self-assessment certificate and pertinent documents to stcw_accre@marina.gov.ph.

Seafarers are advised to enroll only on training centers approved by MARINA’s Accreditation Division. The provisional authority granted to them is valid for 6 months. This will be under monitoring and surveillance. However, this is subject to change until MARINA issues further guidance.

 

Blended Learning Infrastructure

The face-to-face aspect of this program is already built. Thus, MTIs only need to place additional health and safety guidelines to cope with the pandemic. You must expect that training centers will require you to wear face masks, face shield, do social distancing and proper hand washing.

Also, training centers will create the infrastructure for distance learning. They must provide the trainees access to printed or digital instructional materials through courier, designate pick up points or through digital platforms.

 

Engagement

We may have questions throughout the course of our training. Additionally so, MTIs shall establish means for trainee-instructor engagement or communication. To illustrate, this includes SMS, emails, chats, instant messages and many others convenient to all parties.

Indeed, having a closed-loop communication ensures personalized, effective, efficient, and timely monitoring. This also helps in collecting feedback from the instructors, trainees and supervisors.

 

Equipment

Blended learning is only possible with the application of today’s technology. Thus, both the training centers and trainees are required to maximize the use of tech to support learning and teaching.

Devices must be available for accessing the content; gadget, phone, tablets or laptops. Operating systems and internet connectivity must also be fast and reliable. Lastly, MTI must set up digital platforms or LMS.

 

MTIs with Blended Learning License

There are already a few training centers with granted permission from MARINA to operate this method. Upon research, here are a few of them.

  • Far East Maritime Training Center via Arjay Magpantay for an easy discount
  • NEWSIM- New Simulator Center of the Philippines
  • PNTC Colleges Maritime Training Center
  • COMPASS training Center, Inc.
  • CREST Maritime Assessment and Training Center

MTIs listed above is the result of my personal research. If your training center has license to operate in blended learning mode, kindly keep in touch with Seaman Memories via email at seamanmemories@gmail.com.

 

Conclusion

Blended learning is an efficient way of accessing training courses. Truly, our family time is always filled with unlimited trainings and assessments. Blended learning will lighten our burden.

I think this method should have been done many years ago. However, the technology before may not support such kind of learning. Online technology with its penetration in our country may pose a challenge. Our internet connection is still one of the slowest in the world. Even so, blended learning is one of the best thing this coronavirus had done for us.

 

To conclude, what do you think about distance learning? Would you agree that blended learning would do more good than harm to our competency?

 

May the winds be in your favor.

 

 

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