Maritime Jobs
Thursday, September 19, 2019

How To: Training Tips for Ships

July 10, 2019

Photo: Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Photo: Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Important training need? A quick video may be the answer!

Have you ever witnessed a mariner performing a task poorly or unsafely? Possibly day-to-day confined space entry? A commonly misapplied or misunderstood ColReg? Inattentive watchkeeping? Of course you have. And if you have seen it happen once, you can rest assured that it has happened before, and it will continue to happen unless someone does something about it. So - what can you do?

Video may be your answer. It is surprisingly fast and easy to create short, laser-targeted videos that demonstrate best practice. And the results are surprisingly effective; the second most popular category of videos on YouTube is the “how-to” video. Let’s discuss how to make use of this for maritime training.

Achieving Maximum Effect Using Video
The goal here is to address a performance or safety issue by creating a very short video that addresses that issue. In order to achieve maximum effect, our videos should have a few simple but important qualities. I’ll cover the most important here.

First, each video should address exactly one issue, no more. There are many reasons for this including making the video relevant and easy to find, and keeping the interest of the trainee.

The “correct” length of the video is whatever length is required to fully convey the lesson, but engagement studies often point to videos of between two and four minutes in length to maximize engagement. It is tempting to make the video longer to get all the “important” facts across, but this is usually a mistake. The video will have much more impact if just the critical facts are conveyed, and the video is kept very short. If more needs to be said than can be said in two to four minutes, dissect your topic further and make another video.

In addition to being short, videos should be well lit, and voice-overs clear and easy to understand.

And finally, what should the video show? An effective approach is a video of someone performing the task correctly, with a voice-over highlighting the key aspects of correct and safe performance. Once you become adept at making these, you can also use video call-outs (arrows or labels on the screen, for example) to highlight important points. Additionally, it is often very instructive to contrast the demonstration of correct performance by first showing commonly made mistakes.

Making and Distributing Training Videos in Your Organization
Shooting the video is easy. It’s a great excuse to purchase a go-pro video camera. If that’s not in the budget, a good quality smartphone will be very effective. It should also be easy to recruit volunteers from your officers and crew to be the “stars” of the video.

Once the video is recorded, you could put it up as-is, but you can improve effectiveness by adding a voice-over describing the issue being addressed and highlighting the constituents of correct performance. By recording the voice-over after recording the video, you are able to make a script and ensure excellent quality audio by recording it in a quiet environment. Investing in a $100 microphone will allow you to produce outstanding results here.

In order to add the audio as well as other effects, you will need a simple video-editing program. There are many free and paid options. Start with a free option and get to know it. Once you are comfortable, the skills learned there will be transferable to a more sophisticated paid option.
To deploy your video to your trainees, you have many options. Ideally you have an LMS which will easily let you upload the video, notify users, track who watched it, and even assess their understanding of it. If not, YouTube can be your friend here. You can create a private channel, upload your videos, and e-mail your trainees the link. I’ll cover distribution more in a subsequent training tips for ships!

Final Thoughts
You *can* do this. Millions of people with no background make how-to videos every day. Check them out for good ideas. These are excellent training tools and a quick bit of experimentation will get you started and on your way to being an expert. Over time, you will develop a highly valuable, effective library to help keep everyone safe and efficient.