Tech-driven maritime training key to attracting Gen Z

Shipping and maritime companies hoping to attract Generation Z (Gen Z) talent should develop personalised and interactive eLearning programmes featuring video content and bold colours, according to education industry research and experts.

In an FE News blog on Gen Z (those born after 1996), Sam Blyth from learning management systems (LMS) developer Instructure wrote that new technology was making it easier to create engaging, interactive experiences for learners. She added that students can control their learning journey by “deciding how, where and when to engage with course material, and to learn in a way that suits them best”.

OneLearn Global, a digital eLearning provider to the maritime sector, has applied this and other findings – such as more than half (59%) of Gen Z preferring to learn by watching videos, according to a Pearson study – to its personalised next-gen LMS, which features interactive and video content.

The company also uses green throughout its LMS to appeal to the eco-friendly sensibilities of Gen Z. A blog by marketing and PR agency Zen Media talks about how green “means nature and all things organic and natural”. It also describes green as one of the easiest colours on the eye, communicating safety, harmony, growth, luck, wealth, optimism and stress relief.

These findings are in line with a Barnes & Noble College report about Gen Z using on-demand interactive learning tools and videos alongside traditional approaches to education, such as reading a textbook or listening to a teacher in class. Moreover, they benefit from watching recorded lectures and other online content, going through digital study guides or carrying out web-based research.

According to the Barnes & Noble report, Gen Z wants engaging, interactive learning experiences, to be challenged and to be empowered to make their own decisions. As digital natives, they also “expect technology to play an instrumental role in their educational experience”.

The upshot is that maritime and shipping companies should invest in digital technology and online learning tools to attract Gen Z students to the industry, according to Nigel Cleave, Senior Advisor at OneLearn Global.

“Younger generations brought up in a digital world are used to consuming content – be it educational or recreational – online and through mobile phones or tablets. Using technology to study a particular subject or watch a lecture is second nature to them, which is why it’s so important for the shipping industry to provide training or learning and development through digital and web-based channels.”

Mr Cleave added that educational tools for Gen Z learners in the maritime sector should be engaging, interactive, mentally and visually stimulating, intuitive and available 24/7.

“Anyone with Wi-Fi or broadband has instant access to masses of data and content, so people’s attention spans are naturally shorter than they once were,” he said.

“Younger generations want quick, bitesize training programmes, lasting no more than 20 minutes, that entertain and engage them. And they expect to take those courses whenever they choose on multiple devices, meaning eLearning has to be available to those maritime learners or industry employees looking to upskill, whether they are ashore or at sea.”