On March 24th, a Mind-Mapping Session was hosted online by FOR-MAR, to debate difficulties in promoting distance learning and training needs for STCW courses, and to create a map to identify ideas and solutions to those difficulties and conditions of the maritime sector in the national context.

The meeting had 21 participants from different entities in the maritime sector: training schools, universities, teachers and trainers, transport regional government, private cruise companies, captains, and shipowners, among others.

Participants were invited to share their experience and knowledge, by answering an online poll and providing contributions to an open debate.

Based on the poll results, we could assess that the main difficulties and obstacles faced in promoting distance training courses are the digital literacy of both trainers and trainees, and the applicability of practical exercises. Regarding the learning courses needs in Portugal, the most mentioned were Survival craft and rescue boats and Advanced fire prevention and firefighting courses.

When asked about what solutions could help overcome difficulties and obstacles in implementing STCW distance training courses, most participants suggested creating digital skills development courses, acquiring digital equipment, investing in infrastructures and hiring skilled trainers, with digital competences and STCW expertise.

During the open debate, other aspects were mentioned, such as the different levels of digital skills in the maritime community, the necessary collaboration between STCW and technology experts, the need to implement STCW courses already available abroad but not in Portugal, standardization of STCW courses worldwide, trainee selection based on knowledge of target skills, simplification of the e-learning system to fit everyone regardless of digital skills, the importance of equipment sharing between entities, creating online familiarization courses beforehand and the importance of the collaboration among all intervenients to develop online STCW courses. All these contributions were helpful in understanding the state-of-the-art, constraints and challenges, ideas and good practices and possible solutions which will be considered during the subsequent phases of the project.

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