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The Profound Implications of Supporting Maritime Training

Posted to Maritime Training Issues with Murray Goldberg (by on December 14, 2011

How we think about and how we conduct maritime training has the potential to change the course of the maritime industry now, for all, and forever. Do we give it the respect it deserves? How SHOULD we think about it?

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The Profound Implications of Supporting Maritime Training

Please pass this along to anyone you know who is involved in maritime training

How we think about and how we conduct maritime training has the potential to change the course of the maritime industry now, for all, and forever. Do we give it the respect it deserves? How SHOULD we think about it?

The holidays are almost upon us, and this will be my last article until January 11th. Rather than close off the year with an article on training theory or practice in the maritime context, I wanted to briefly reflect on the profound importance of training and eduction which I have come to recognize after 25 years as a university faculty member and developer of educational technologies. If you have ever felt cynical about training, or gotten tired or bored of taking or delivering maritime training, please read on.

For most if us, when asked why it is important to train and train well, we answer that effective maritime training is required to ensure that our mariners and vessels make it from A to B, everyday, efficiently and safely. There is no denying that this is the most immediate and concrete argument for effective training. But as important as this is, you may not realize that the efforts of our trainers and training organizations have a far more profound effect.

A reason to APPRECIATE your maritime trainer

This is the obvious one. Good trainers produce a new generation of qualified, competent seafarers. They keep us safe, they provide a critical service, they instill a love of the sea. If one GOOD trainer trains 10 trainees, we now have 10 qualified competent seafarers. We all know this, and that is why we appreciate our maritime trainers. But there is more ...

A reason to LOVE your maritime trainer

But really good trainers do more that just train well. They instill an attitude of best practices, professionalism and responsibility in their trainees. This is powerful - because when a trainer is able to do this, it affects not only his or her direct trainees, but it also affects the people that ultimately work with those trainees when they become mariners. Nothing creates excellence in performance more than a culture of excellence. So when a really good trainer trains 10 trainees, and those 10 trainees each support a culture of excellence on a vessel with 10 other seafarers, then one REALLY GOOD trainer has impacted 100 seafarers. This is why we love our really good trainers. But there is more ...


But a great trainer does even more than that. A great trainer exhibits a level of professionalism and competency that effects not only his or her trainees, but also all the other trainers that this trainer works with. They create a culture of excellence among other trainers and provide mentorship and support for these other trainers. Other trainers are improved by association.

So now, when a great trainer works with 10 other trainers, those trainers are improved by his or her demonstrations of excellence. Each of these improved trainers then impacts 100 seafarers (as above). Therefore, one GREAT trainer has impacted 1,000 seafarers. This is why you might consider giving your great maritime trainers a raise. But there is still more ...

A reason to nominate your maritime trainers for SAINTHOOD

But a really great trainer goes beyond delivering great training and supporting other trainers in his or her organization. A really great trainer also works ON the training process to continually push the boundaries of effectiveness. A really great trainer is always experimenting and looking for ways to improve the training he or she delivers. They are involved in continuous improvement - knowing that we can always do better.

What are the implications of the improvements made by this single really great trainer? Obviously each improvement impacts his or her direct trainees. These trainees become better seafarers (10 impacted). Each of these better trainees better instills a culture of professionalism and performance as mariners (100 affected). Additionally, each training improvement spreads to other trainers who better prepare their trainees affecting them and the seafarers they encounter (1000 affected).

But most profoundly, some of these better prepared trainees are going to become trainers one day. This one small improvement made by this one really great trainer is going to result in a whole new crop of not only better mariners, but a whole new generation of better trainers - each affecting thousands of seafarers themselves (tens of thousands or more impacted). And that better prepared second generation will go on to better prepare a *third* generation of trainees - some of whom will also go on to become better trainers - who will, in turn better prepare the next generation. That one improvement by that one really great trainer will live on forever, improving generation after generation of maritime professional. They have achieved training immortality. This is why you may consider nominating your really great trainers for sainthood. As profound as this is, more still is possible ...

A reason to WORSHIP your maritime trainer

Not only that, but as Albert Einstein has taught us, “If I have seen farther, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants”. What does this mean? It means that every advancement made by you paves the way for additional further advancements which are only possible because of the one you made. One great idea builds the foundation upon which a further great idea is possible. The result is that progress is not linear. Instead it is constantly accelerating because each progressive step makes more progress possible, which in turn paves the way for yet more progress. It is this continuously accelerating positive cycle which has changed our world more in the last 30 years than we saw in the preceding 10,000 years.

Thus each time one improvement is made by one trainer, it not only reaches all future trainees, but it has now paved the way for future training advances which we cannot even imagine at this time. We have added one more step to further accelerate the trajectory of excellence in maritime performance.

In this way, one truly great trainer who makes one small improvement to maritime training affects millions of mariners both directly and with all other future improvements now made possible. The course of maritime training is changed. This is why we need to worship our very best maritime trainers.


The efforts of our trainers and our training organizations, no matter how small they might seem, have the potential to truly change the maritime industry, now, for all, and forever.

So to all of you involved in maritime training - next time you question the importance of your training efforts, think again. What could be more important?

Wishing you a happy and safe holiday, and a healthy and successful 2012. I will resume my articles on maritime training on January 11th. Please click “Follow this blog”, below, if you would like to be informed when the next article comes out.

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Let me write about your story so we can all learn from it! Is your organization leading the way in job and familiarization training? I’d like to write about it. Or, do you have an example of a poor familiarization experience or practice that we can all take lessons from? I would like to write about that too (without naming you or your company, in this case).  Contact me by email at Murray@MarineLS.com. You have a familiarization tale to tell. You can benefit everyone by sharing it.

About The Author:

Murray Goldberg is the founder and President of Marine Learning Systems (www.marinels.com), the creator of MarineLMS - the first learning management system specifically for maritime industry training. Murray began research in eLearning in 1995 as a faculty member of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. He went on to create WebCT, the world’s first commercially successful LMS for higher education; serving 14 million student in 80 countries. Now, in Marine Learning systems, Murray is hoping to play a part in advancing the art and science of learning in the maritime industry.

Blog Notifications: For the latest maritime training articles, visit our company blog here. You can receive notifications of new articles on our company blog by following the blog.

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