This is the fifth and final installment of a series of articles intended to cover eLearning in the maritime industry – what it is, what are its strengths and what are its limitations.  Part 1 of this series introduced eLearning, talking about what it is, and why it is important that anyone involved in maritime training should do their utmost to understand its strengths and limitations. Part 2 of the series discussed what research has shown us about the strengths of eLearning. Part 3 and part 4 of this series covered some of the practical strengths of eLearning.  It is highly recommended that you read part 1,  part 2, part 3 and part 4 before continuing here.

This final installment covers the limitations  of eLearning including in a maritime training context including:

  •     Not a replacement for Hands-On Training
  •     eLearning Cannot Replace an Instructor
  •     eLearning is not a Cure-All for Training Issues
  •     eLearning Costs
  •     Differences in Learning Styles, and
  •     Internet Connectivity in the Maritime Training Environment.

There is no doubt in my mind that eLearning is an important topic for the maritime industry. All of us involved in maritime education, whatever our views on eLearning, are going to have to come to terms with it. We all have a responsibility to understand it, including its strengths and weaknesses. Only by doing so can we can make intelligent decisions as to when to apply it, when not to apply it, how best to take advantage of its greatest strengths, and how to avoid common eLearning pitfalls.
In this series of articles, I am largely going to focus on the application of eLearning to maritime job training and familiarization, but most of my comments will apply equally to eLearning in maritime certification training. I think it behooves all of us involved in maritime training to understand eLearning. It is my hope that this series of articles will play a small part in facilitating that understanding.