Microlearning: Bite-sized learning

Microlearning is e-learning, but smaller and shorter. E-learning is often used as a way to help people learn on the job, and this is also where the disadvantage of it comes into play: if you had just started working, you suddenly have to do an e-learning module, internalize tons of information, and, in the end, don’t get the details or crucial aspects.

Why? Because people don’t experience most e-learning as fun. And we all know, that when we don’t like something, we also don’t prioritize time for it. In other words, there’s no intention at all of the learning by heart. Microlearning solves the problem of forgetting and can help you recall better. This is how:

Microlearning takes little time

Microlearning content isn’t more than 1 minute long, and, thus, learners don’t feel the fatigue factor of going through long courses. They just go through a question, answer this, understand the concept as a short explanation is given, and learn something new in a matter of seconds.

Microlearning enhances knowledge retention

Microlearning makes content perceived as boring, more interesting, and fun, and the learning process more constant. Besides that, research suggests that knowledge retention is significantly increased if small pieces of information are presented on a regular basis and reinforced over spaced periods of time. 

Microlearning boosts learner interaction

Microlearning contributes to this. Successful teams are made of members that are purposeful in their interactions and try to learn and help from and to each other. Participants from the same target group can receive the same question at the same time. This provokes discussion, curiosity, and involvement between them in different learning topics. Besides that, microlearning can also be used as an interactive kiosk, which generates spontaneous conversations related to certain questions in different locations.

Microlearning gives freedom

Microlearning gives the learner the freedom to learn something new anytime and anywhere, be it at the workplace, while having breakfast, or before going to bed. In addition, it can be implemented on any device, which supports its freedom nature. 

Microlearning makes organizations develop faster

One of the things considered most important in a business is data. Without it, performance issues can take place due to unawareness. Microlearning has data analytics, which helps any organization to keep on track with what exactly is known and what needs to be enhanced.

In a nutshell, microlearning is an effective learning methodology as it engages learners, improves knowledge retention, and, therefore, upgrades an organization’s performance. 

XVR Simulation Software Utilized in IMO STCW Advanced Fire Fighting Course

Technology, specifically virtual reality, is a highly effective training tool when used in the right setting.  Delgado Community College Maritime and Industrial Training Center’s U.S. Coast Guard-approved IMO STCW Advanced Fire Fighting course is a perfect example of effective virtual reality utilization in training.

The Maritime and Industrial Training Center in New Orleans uses XVR On Scene to effectively train various fire scenarios.  Located in New Orleans, Delgado is the first Maritime Training Center in the United States that has incorporated virtual reality simulation into their STCW Advanced Fire Fighting curriculum.  This simulation software allows for virtual reality rather than live fire practicals.

The Maritime Training Center first piloted the program in 2018, and although the initiative took some time to gain momentum, the response has been very positive.  Due to the favorable outcome, the training center submitted an addendum to the U.S Coast Guard in February 2021.  This addendum would add two courses, STCW Advanced Firefighting Refresher and STCW Advanced Firefighting Revalidation, and replace all live fire practicals with XVR On Scene. 

These two courses have been recently approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, eliminating outdoor live-fire scenarios and replacing them with the XVR Simulation software.  These changes will be reflected in new programs beginning in April 2021.

Rick Schwab, Senior Director of The Delgado Maritime and Industrial Training Center says: “Our Training Center has combined the technology of virtual reality with our professional firefighting instructors, who bring more than 30 years of experience to the classroom, by creating a new suite of command-and-control U.S. Coast Guard courses: Advanced Fire Fighting, Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher/Revalidation.  When our team was introduced to XVR simulation, we immediately knew this was what we needed to take our incident command training to the next level. Strategic thinking is a critical skill brought to the forefront in simulated scenarios, which have replaced live firefighting practicals in these courses. In this way, students can develop focused skills on management and leadership in an emergency scenario, rather than on putting out the live fire themselves. We feel that the XVR command and control simulation scenarios give us the opportunity to train the future leaders in this industry!”

The content covered in all STCW Advanced Firefighting classes is very similar.  The courses in which a seafarer is required to take will depend on their previous training and accumulated sea time. Blue Orange Wave’s CEO and supplier of the XVR Simulation software, Tim Lodder, says: “The Delgado Community College Maritime and Industrial Training Center’s use of XVR On Scene in the IMO STCW Advanced Fire Fighting courses is an exciting advancement to an already high-quality, internationally renowned training program. We are very proud to serve this innovative team of professionals in their goal to become the first ones in the USA to apply for and official certify the use of virtual reality in this keystone training in the maritime field.”

Interview with the Founder – Redgrasp

Meet the Founder: My interview with Menno from Redgrasp

                Redgrasp is a tech startup that has shaken up the world of e-learning with their innovative micro-learning platform.  Their unique style of delivery boasts improved engagement rates and greater participation than traditional e-learning, and as a result, more learning and improved retention.  

I had a chance to sit down with one of the founders and hear more about the early days of Redgrasp and their exciting future, including their collaboration for Tagit Wave with Blue Orange Wave.  From a passion project to successful tech company, Redgrasp’s origin story is truly inspiring.     

How did you start Redgrasp?

[Menno]: I had an idea to create a web-application that would link multiple choice questions to different subjects. I had this prototype developed in India, but found I needed a technical cofounder to bring the idea further.

Frans had the idea to digitalize progress tests (a progress test is like a final exam in which all cognitive learning goals of the curriculum are tested) in the medical sector and was looking for someone to help him get his foot in the door.  

We were introduced to each other through a mutual friend. Our ideas seemed to overlap. More important: our attributes and skills appeared to be very complimentary while having a lot of common interests. At this point I registered at UtrechtInc, a startup incubator. We started our collaboration and worked our ideas out further. A few weeks later our “minimum viable product” Redgrasp was ready. We kept improving and expanding this in the years that followed.

Who are you and where do you come from? We’d love to hear a bit more about your background.

Frans studied Electrical Engineering in Delft and worked as a strategy consultant after. He had an interest in computer architecture and software since a young age. At some point he made the switch from strategy consultancy to software development and turned his hobby into a job. Because of his background in both business and software he has the ideal skills for a software company.

I was also interested in computers and programming from a young age. This hobby was put on hold during my medical studies, but the fascination remained. During my training to become an internist I was captivated by the idea of starting a software company as a side project. Software is a good way to have impact on a bigger scale. You obviously cannot really call Redgrasp a side project anymore even though I still work two days a week as an internist-endocrinologist.

What is your product, what do you sell?

Redgrasp is a microlearning platform based on e-mail. We turn guidelines and protocols into a low friction knowledge game to keep people informed in an easy way. Participants get quiz questions in an email about all different kinds of subjects that they can answer with one click. After they answer, they can see how they did, how others answered, and how many points they earned. They can also see a short explanation on the right answer so they can learn something in 10-20 seconds. They can get into a discussion with their colleagues who received the same question that day. Our customers are organizations that want to inform their employees or followers about knowledge documents. Think hospitals and professional associations, but also day care facilities, schools and education faculties. With Redgrasp they get a higher participation rate with their followers and – more importantly – people enjoy participating!

Together with Blue Orange Wave we introduce a variant on our platform: Tagit Wave. With this product we will be focusing entirely on the Maritime sector.

How does this product fit in with current development in society and how does it differ from your competitors’ products?

E-learning is a scalable way of helping people learn. But within this category, microlearning is becoming more popular. As it should – e-learning modules meet a low willingness to participate. People aren’t willing to spend 30 minutes clicking and watching videos. Even though we are a form of e-learning, 90% of our participants state that they like Redgrasp more than other forms of e-learning. This has a lot to do with making it as accessible as possible.

What is the ultimate objective of Redgrasp?

To help people increase their knowledge on a wide variety of subjects in an engaging, accessible way.

What do you want to achieve in the future?

We want to keep improving Redgrasp and get more people to engage with our platform in a fun way. We simply get a kick out of the process of doing that.

What is your vision on Learning & Development?

Learning is fun in and of itself. We take away the barriers so people can experience this.

How do people think about your product in relation to educating people?

People learn from examples and fixing problems. Guidelines and protocols are often full of rules and regulations. Our platform goes back to the essence by presenting learning material as a quiz. The question is formulated like a scenario, bringing the material to life. So, instead of reading about an abstract rule in a boring document you get to think about what you would do in a specific situation. You learn better this way and you learn to actually understand the rule. If after the question you don’t agree with the rule – great, discuss it with one another. There is nothing scarier than people following the rules without thinking. It is the thinking that matters.

How do you see your collaboration with Blue Orange Wave? What do you get out of this collaboration?

Blue Orange Wave has extensive knowledge in the area of training and education in the maritime sector but did not have a microlearning platform. We on the other hand, don’t have the same expertise in maritime training yet have the microlearning platform.  Our expertise complements one another – there is an amazing synergy. Besides that, the personal connection is just great.

Together with Blue Orange Wave we are in an excellent position to turn Tagit Wave into a huge success.

Interview with the Founder – Edumersive

Meet the Founders: My interview with Daney from Edumersive

The incredible technology behind Edumersive is truly mind-blowing. The VR training capabilities and huge leaps taken by the minds behind this company can teach us everything we need to know about launching a successful tech start-up.

As Blue Orange Wave’s Marketing Manager, I had a chance to sit down with the founders and pick their brain about where it all began. I learned the company was founded by 3 gaming-minors from The University of Applied Sciences of Rotterdam. I was amazed by how much they accomplished in a short period of time. When you look at a company like Edumersive, you learn anything is possible with the determination, commitment and passion.

I spoke with Daney last week, and he was excited to sit down and share his story with the Blue Orange Wave audience.  Here’s how it went.

How did you start Edumersive? Who are you and where do you come from?

[Daney]: We all met each other during our gaming minor at The University of Applied Sciences of Rotterdam. We came up with the idea to develop software in the VR & AR fields when I showed them everything it could do. I was already working on it, and my dad had already invested some means when 3 students joined the team. It’s just 3 people now after a year. Me (Daney), my dad (Dan) and Bart.

I completed my education in Human Resources first, but learned it wasn’t really for me.   I then started a programming education (creative media and game technologies). That is where I met other students and Bart.

What is your product, what do you sell?

We were already busy with VR and our first project was creating a driving lesson in VR for a Special Education school. They were super happy with the results and said, “can we make something like that ourself?” That brought us to the idea of creating Edumersive.

Edumersive makes VR accessible for users without them having to program it themselves. It works just like a presentation software which uses 360 photos or videos as the background of a “slide”. Users can add pictures, questions, texts or sounds in there themselves. They can make an entire training or class themselves in an easy way. The added value being that you can now train in your own environment on a distance, which is very important during the COVID crisis.

We deliver Edumersive to companies that want to train their employees but also to schools at a discounted price.

What separates Edumserive from the rest?

We separate ourselves from our competitors because we serve all levels of education and easily share their content to their users. The users of Edumersive get the choice between starting a training alone or together. It was very tempting to make a real video editor with a bunch of options. We purposefully chose not to do this because it’s meant to be accessible for everyone…even the 50+ year old teacher that can barely handle a computer.

Being user friendly is very important for us.

What does the future look like for Edumersive? What’s left for you to achieve?

We want to expand to a small development bureau and keep working with VR and AR. AR is going to take flight in the upcoming years, and it is where Bart and I graduated in (Microsoft HoloLens). We also think it’s fun to develop and keep working on new techniques. We love making something that people can actually benefit from. Edumersive is a great example of this.

We want to keep improving what we create, and we need users to do this. That is how we can be in a great situation where we make something that others benefit from and they help us to make it even better. We use our own software ourselves, which makes us a costumer of our own system.

What is your look on Learning & Development?

I went to college for Human Recourse Management. A part of this was L&D so that fit in perfectly with what we are doing now. A lot of schools and organizations use classic theory sessions with a potential assignment. We think this can be improved. The trainings that stay with you are the ones you experience. This is possible with VR/Edumersive and it is clear for everyone. You see it how it actually is and train in the actual situation without making any costs in training materials and/or travel time. We have a part in Edumersive where you can see detailed analytics results. This is how you can see the training results at the same time after a session and eventually export or import into another LMS-system.

How are you seeing the collaboration with Blue Orange Wave? What difference does it make for you to have this collaboration?

When creating a scenario, it is important to look at what you are training and what you are showing. This is where Blue Orange Wave comes in. As programmers, we have no experience in the actual practice. Blue Orange Wave does have this in the maritime sector. Blue Orange Wave is a lot closer to the client which allows them to create the scenarios. It’s mostly Bouke Bergsma, L&D Manager from Blue Orange Wave, who has the main focus on this. We do the client contact / creating scenarios on top of our other activities. Blue Orange Wave puts their focus on this which allows them to go much further than us, so that we can put more attention towards creating a better result in creating scenarios/classes.

Behind all great companies, are a few really great minds. That was exceedingly obvious through my interview with the Founder of Edumersive. This company is well on it’s way to making serious strides in both VR and AR. Keeping up with modern technology is a challenge in itself, but with the right talent and right minds you can made a huge impact – that’s exactly what these 3 are going to do.

Blue Orange Wave: Out-of-the-box-thinking during global COVID-19 pandemic

Blue Orange Wave: Out-of-the-box-thinking during global COVID-19 pandemic.

June 3, 2020. The entire world seemed to have stopped turning due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. What historically should have been a great period in our field of business stopped from one day to another! The first reports arrived of massive infections, daily counts of mortal victims, intelligent lockdown on SMEs and governmental orders to work from home. The only growth reported was the capacity of ICUs and Corona divisions in the national hospitals. With this enormous wave of infections there was an enormous high demand on personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals globally which colored the horizon for safe and certified deliveries to the Dutch national hospitals dark grey to totally black.

PPE Shortage

Especially this last part, the shortage of PPE and therefore the great number of infections among these first line healthcare workers, was what made Tim Lodder, founder and CEO of Blue Orange Wave, and Marc Derks, sr. project manager at Damen Shipyards Group, creative in looking for an out-of-the-box solution for this challenge to be found in the industrial and consumer markets. The start was made with what now, 10 weeks after, is the Air-Wave.org Protector™.

Together with colleagues from the maritime industry, Lodder managed to mobilize his professional networks  to deploy knowledge and expertise in workplace safety, healthcare regulatory and product development capabilities. The continious growing team of experts started brainstorming on a solution that had to be comfortable, sustainable, (fail) safe and national-of-the-shelf, since there was no time to waste!

Private-Public Collaboration

They decided to connect a PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirator) with P3 filter set, used in the welding and maritime industry, to a widely available snorkelmask using a 3D-printed coupling to create a positive pressure mask with filtered air. From the first prototype with a coupling created from a piece of bicycle tire it took the team of 40 devoted volunteers six days to deliver a market ready product covering all set requirements. Finally, the project united in the not-for-profit Air-Wave.org Foundation facilitated by  a total of 35 companies in maritme and healthcare, consumer products to supply chain and logistics from the national Dutch industries, tech-universities and a group of medical specialists and experts.

The Air-Wave.org Protector

The product was ready within six days, the national Dutch coordination center for supply of equipment to the Dutch national hospitals was not due to their daily challenges. The Air-Wave.org team continued in several areas with their lobby and improvements. They continued improving the market ready solution to raise the standard. Testing procedures were developed to expand with full shift comfort tests which gave a better inside to usability and more important durability. There was time to innovate and improve!

Finally afer three weeks of testing with a clear focus on safety for the healthcare professional, bystander and patient, the comfort and durability increase immensely. The team registered and patented a set of 3D-printed connector pieces which will be added to the standard snorkelmask without damaging the existing mask. The most innovative improvement is located in the Seahorse, the connection piece between the snorkelmask and tube from the PAPR. This connection piece now includes a pressure valve based on filter resistance to control the positive pressure in the mask and provides a comfortable but safe use. The Trumpet, the 3D-printed connection piece on the chin of the mask, includes an expansion filter to lower the sound caused by the outflowing air and the filter protects bystanders and patients. Fact is that all in- and outgoing airflows will be filtered based on a P2+ filter efficiency .

CE Marking and future development

Currently the Air-Wave.org Protector is used by healthcare professionals in several hospitals in the Netherlands and by individuals from Belgium and the USA. Luckily, now the crisis situation has died down, we as a society have to be very vigilent about future developments on infections globally and eventually be prepared for a possible second wave. Current days with less receiving requests from other hospitals in the Netherlands and abroad the team is still very energized to help and prepare for the future. Several track are moving forward; The Ministry of Healthcare is involved as well as the Notified Body to certify this solution for the European CE marking and make it widely available within Europe. On another track the team prepares the Air-Wave.org Protector to be available globally by connecting networks of 3D printing capacity, supply chain and logistics.

Test results, dressing and cleaning protocols, assembly details and order forms can be found on the Foundation’s website https://www.air-wave.org. The Air-Wave.org Protector is ready for global use as Tim mentioned.

We at Blue Orange Wave are very proud to demostrate that with a common goal and full dedication of a great team, you really can make a difference with little out-of-the-box thinking.

Our team will always do the utmost to deliver the best solutions possible and go beyond for safety and sustainability to enhance the quality of maritime training.

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Why virtual reality has a bright future in maritime & offshore

An increasing number of companies and organisations in the maritime & offshore sector embrace virtual reality as a training tool. And they do this for good reasons, as I will explain in this blog post.

Although marine & offshore are often mentioned together, they are two specific markets with their own characteristics and opportunities.

Maritime: tightening of international law

Historically, the maritime business is a rather traditional sector, characterized by small margins and a strong focus on cost savings. Incidents such as the sinking of the Titanic (1912) and the Torry Canyon (1967), and the fire on the Scandinavian Star (1990) sparked an awareness among national governments that maritime safety needed to be regulated by international law. The accident with the Costa Concordia in 2012 enhanced this realisation.

Accident with the Costa Concordia in 2012

Offshore: growing safety awareness

In its relatively short history, the offshore sector has seen several major incidents. Despite the large margins and innovative culture, safety has long been neglected in this sector. But after the disasters on the Ekofisk Bravo Platform (1977), the oil production platform Piper Alpha (1988) and Deepwater Horizon (2010) we saw the rise of an industry-wide awareness that safety is not a luxury, but a key aspect of corporate risk management. This causes a need to train people in safety protocols, procedures, communication and crisis management.

This explains why both maritime and offshore have a growing demand for efficient, cost-effective training solutions. For multiple reasons, virtual reality is a particularly attractive solution.

Benefits of virtual reality

Virtual reality makes it easy to reconstruct past incidents to create learning experience for the future. It also enables you to create realistic scenarios of safety risks that are very sector-specific. This way virtual reality enables to lay a solid foundation for safety and situational awareness on vessels and platforms.

STCW training concept

A good example of the application of virtual reality is the hybrid training solution for international shipping that XVR Simulation developed in partnership with Falck Safety Services and Saphire Complete Training Concepts.

We developed this training concept in response to the recent tightening of international law for safety training in shipping (STCW). This law offers room for the introduction of new training methods like virtual reality and web-based learning.

The training concept is built from eighteen 40 foot shipping containers that provide a realistic ship environment, including the main risk areas: engine room, laundry, galley en crew recreation area. The facility is also equipped with a comprehensive simulation centre, shaped as a ship’s bridge and engine control room.

Simulation centre

Within this facility, Falck Safety Services provides a combination of realistic training and simulation training through virtual reality. This way, trainees assist each other to achieve competence in the various disciplines covered by the training. Experienced instructors ensure that this occurs within the required conditions and control the scenario from a central observation room.

Fewer training days, same quality

A key benefit of this hybrid training solution is the time saving: a full STCW repeater course can be reduced from 7 days of traditional classroom training to 4-5 days of interactive, scenario based training. This anticipates to the strong demand in the industry to minimize training costs without compromising the quality of the product.

Several major companies, including Boskalis – the Netherlands’ largest maritime service provider – and Holland America Line (HAL) have already used this training solution. HAL is considering extending this training to all its nautical and technical officers. Another cruise operator, Carnival UK Group from Southampton (UK) has already decided to use this training solution for all its 850 nautical and technical officers.

Further development

Naturally, we have plenty of ambitions to develop this training concept further. For instance we would like to include a water mist system in the training facility, to add to the realistic experience. We also have plans to expand this training concept with a specific Crisis Management module.

The results we have achieved so far, the very positive responses from the trainees and the amount of interest in the market, strengthen my conviction that virtual reality is the future for training safety procedures, incident response and crisis management in the maritime & offshore sector.

Are you active in this sector and would you like to know more about the benefits of virtual reality for your training needs? Feel free to contact me.