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The project is the first of its kind developed in the field of maritime higher education in the Philippines

The AMOSUP Seamen’s Training Center (ASTC) of the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) recently launched its Learning Management System for the Management Level Course distance and e-learning program.

Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) administrator Marcial Amaro and MAAP president Vice Admiral Eduardo Ma R Santos led the program launch, showcasing the real time demonstration of the learning management system platform. Featured during the demonstration were sample lessons and assessments in Module 1 of Function 3 for Marine Deck Management Level Officers on the “Fundamental Principles of Ship Construction and the Theories and Factors Affecting Trim, Stability and Stress.”

This project is the first of its kind developed in the field of maritime higher education in the Philippines.

The e-learning mode of delivery for the New Management Level Course (NMLC) via distance learning of MAAP utilises the latest Moodle Learning Management System Platform, an open-source software designed to provide educators, administrators and learners with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalised learning environment.

Collaboration from Canada
The project was originally initiated by MAAP-MARINA in collaboration with the Marine Institute (MI) of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. The collaborative team was tasked to develop the course policies, guidelines, technical standard and specification to ensure compliance to the national and international requirements of the course.

Subsequently, MAAP developed an independent distance learning program for its MLC program. The MAAP LMS project team was composed of Capt. Abelardo M Pacheco, the MLC Course Director, and Engr. Gerardo Ramon Galang, supported by a group of IT/Programmers.  Following the launching of the LMS, the MLC Distance Learning Course Manual and Modules have been submitted to MARINA for inspection and approval.

Years before the competency-based learning had become a buzzword in Philippine maritime education and training, MAAP through the initiative of its president VAdm Santos had already harnessed the expertise of a reputable provider of maritime training programs, DNV Seaskills, in developing its enhanced competency-based curriculum. As the first among maritime institutions in the country to adopt such curricular change, the Mariveles-based academy already explored ways to provide training via the internet.

This also means MAAP has gone farther ahead even before MARINA could finalise its guidelines on Distance Learning or e-Learning.

Simulating the groundbreaking approach
MAAP’s pioneering efforts in e-Learning scored significant success as indicated in the unveiling of the distance learning module last September 12. During the launching, Administrator Amaro together with officials from the STCW Office watched the demonstration of the groundbreaking learning-instruction approach in maritime training.

In the brief demonstration of the simulated learning exercise, Capt. Ace Gonzales, acted as the trainee, with veteran master mariner, Capt Abelardo Pacheco, as the instructor.

As first step, Capt Gonzales logged on into the MAAP’s Learning Management System (LMS) using his personal username and keyed in his password.

The LMS dashboard appeared right away on his computer monitor, showing among others the list of courses he is currently enrolled in.

A trainee may only access the first lessons. Prior to completion of the lesson, he has restricted access to succeeding topics, especially the assessments as these links are disabled at this point.

For demonstration purposes, Capt Gonzales chose the lesson on water plane area. A 38-second video animation about the topic “the introduction to water plane area” appeared on his monitor.

Capt Gonzales thanked his instructor who assured him that MAAP is ready to provide the trainee his required training services while onboard.

Apparently impressed with the demonstration, Administrator Amaro commended Vice Admiral Santos and his officials at LMS, which handles MAAP’s Distance Learning program, for trailblazing in the area of e-Learning.

“I would like to assure MAAP that MARINA, as long as I’m here, will fully support your initiatives,” Administrator Amaro told MAAP officials who witnessed the exercise.

Launched in a simple ceremony, the project, without doubt, has historic significance for the entire PMET.

This will certainly set in motion a shift to Internet-aided training – a revolutionary change, no less – in the area of maritime education and training in the country.