Learning in Lockdown

April 16, 2020 11:37 am


Don’t Lockdown Your Learning

Learning in lockdown – Creating good distance learning experiences

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing huge disruption to the way in which we live and work and hugely impacted our Industry and in particular life onboard for our seafarers showing them to be undoubted key-workers. The overall restrictions we must now operate under have naturally disrupted the education and training of our seafarers and those aspiring to join their ranks. Many have now begun to rethink their training strategy while the virus persists and I have had an increasing number of conversations seeking advice on how people can keep their learning moving despite the lock-down.

Both in developing the training catalogue and helping organisations to take their learning beyond the classroom, Videotel has over 45 years’ experience of developing and delivering e-learning to vessels colleges and of course online often by translating learning from a synchronous (real-time) tutor-led classroom experience into an any time anywhere distance learning (asynchronous) model.

There are obviously many good reasons to do so even in more stable times. Asynchronous e-learning allows learners to study in their own time at a pace that suits them. It also avoids the cost of travel and hotels as well as the time away from work and family. Furthermore, digital assessments allow for easy collation of data, and it is scalable allowing an endless number of learners to experience the material and absorb the knowledge.

Of course, there are a number of reasons why this isn’t always an option. If you can’t find the material you need on the market, creating a quality piece of e-Learning will take time to develop and require upfront cost. A Learning Management System (LMS) such as those provided by Videotel, Seagull or MTS will be needed if you don’t have one, in which to host and track your learners.

There are also some subjects which cannot be taught by asynchronous e-learning alone and for some, tutor to learner and learner to learner communication is an essential part of the experience, and sometimes even the assessment process.

For this reason many have quickly turned to video conferencing and online meeting facilities to use as a “virtual classroom”. These enable face to face conversation and the sharing of presentation materials such as PowerPoint with the class.

At Videotel, I was part of a team  of academics and subject matter experts that pioneered the use of such technology, over five years ago under the name Videotel Academy, joining tutors with learners from all over the world. I’ll share some my experiences in a future blog along with some tips of how to ensure the best possible experience and learn from a great deal of painful trial and error on my part!

Whether you are translating your classroom material into asynchronous e-learning or planning to use ‘virtual classroom’ to deliver synchronous tutor-led sessions the important thing to do is to acknowledge that you cannot deliver the same experience that your learners would get in the classroom. The level of interaction and engagement simply cannot hope to be the same. However, rather than accept this downgraded experience, ask yourself “What could work better online?” and rethink how to use the tools at your disposal to ensure you meet your learning objectives and create a valuable experience for the learner.

I’ll be focussing on the available tools in the next blog, until then, stay safe and thanks for reading!


If you are interested in finding out more please join me at the webinar below where I’ll be going over some of these themes and looking at practical tips for success.

Please register for Learning in lockdown – Creating good distance learning experiences on Apr 23, 2020 10:00 AM BST at:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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