Using Technology to Train and Educate

What are the benefits of blended, distance e-learning? 

By David Kelly, Director of Asia Pacific, Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST)


We all understand the value of education and training, providing us with the knowledge to help start and build upon our careers. Across all industries, if we don’t learn, we don’t grow and I am a huge believer that learning and professional development never stops and plays a huge part in the development of companies and industries around the world.


In the current market, specifically in the oil & gas sector, where profits are being squeezed as a result of the oil price, the value on education and learning cannot be more imperative.  Firstly, how do you maintain knowledge transfer within a business when often cutting staff is the only way for companies to stay afloat? Often the pressures of cutting staff means that a company is reliant on fewer people to deliver the same quality output and value to existing order books.


Secondly, how do you maintain carrying out current job pressures whilst increasing knowledge?


Much has been written about the comparisons of instructor-led training (ILT) and web-based training (WBT) and which offers the best value for money and best use of time.


Technology in this instance enables the offering of unique online learning and education, where course materials can be downloaded and accessed anywhere via a mobile, tablet or laptop, whilst still providing access to a tutor online.


In sectors such as Oil & Gas where the majority can be away from the office, technology in this instance is making courses more readily available, whilst providing the flexible learning approach to juggle a busy day job along with the opportunity to learn and develop further.


So, what are the benefits of blended, distance e-learning?


Availability – with course and training materials downloadable onto a mobile device, content can be accessed at anytime, anywhere. This creates a platform which allows the user to draw on material where ever they may be in the world.


Personal – having access to a personal tutor boosts blended e-learning as a method of training and educating because it provides a two-way approach to sourcing information. Not only is the user able to pull information from the learning platform, but they can also ask questions and query specific areas of the content to a qualified tutor. This method also helps users to apply learning to their current job.


Self-paced – we all seem to be working harder and on more projects, often reducing the time to think about our own learning and development. With course notes, lectures and training modules downloadable and easily accessed, this approach allows the user to pull information when they are ready and have time.


Globally relevant – in industries such as maritime and oil & gas, companies often operate in a number of locations around the globe. An online platform can ensure that a programme is rolled out effectively across a number of divisions to a number of employees wherever they may be in the world.


Consistent – internationalisation means that the location of employees can be far-reaching. Delivering a consistent set of modules that HR are happy with from a group perspective is vital and allows users to gain the same message and training as their colleagues.


Flexible – e-learning in a modular set-up allows companies to enable an emphasis on specific training pieces which can be bolted onto users’ modules depending on job role and location to suit their needs.


Easy to update and manage – company requirements to training change depending on the market. Blended distance e-learning is easy to update ensuring that companies can change content and keep employees up-to-date with the latest information to enable them to succeed. It also helps HR teams to manage a global training programme across a number of geographies and skill-sets.



About the Author:

David Kelly is the Director of Asia PAC for the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), responsible for the growth and profile of the Institute within the Asia Pacific region.


The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), as a global professional body, works across all areas of the maritime and oil & gas sectors supporting those within the industry with access to information to help marine professionals become better, safer and more efficient at their jobs. The Institutes education arm (the Marine Learning Alliance) has merged both ILT and WBT to offer a blended, distance e-learning solution allowing those in the sector to learn whilst they earn.


We all recognise the importance of training and professional development of staff, and the IMarEST has been working with the British Chamber of Commerce Singapore to provide access to discounted online learning for Chamber members. For more information, please visit the Member Offers page.