Student assessment and instructor training were hot topics of discussion at this year's Kongsberg Maritime European Simulation User Conference (UC), which took place in Tønsberg, Norway, 24th – 27th September. The annual UC was this year co-hosted by Vestfold University College, which recently opened a new research park featuring several KONGSBERG simulators.
Approximately 150 delegates attended the UC, which consisted of lectures on simulator related training challenges as well as product updates and news from Kongsberg Maritime. With an overall theme of 'Maximizing performance', among the key topics at this year's UC was the training of instructors of simulator based courses.
In order to ensure the best possible quality of its courses, Kongsberg Maritime places great emphasis on training instructors in pedagogical tools and how to conduct effective simulator exercises. Kongsberg Maritime Product Manager Training, Tommy Hvidsten gave a lecture on training the trainers during the UC, where he presented the various stages of competence.
"Our view is that learning is constituted through actual tasks that the student has to perform, which are then used as a basis for further discussions and learning. In this context, simulators are considered a valuable pedagogical tool, enabling training in a safe environment on potentially dangerous situations. However, exercises conducted must be both authentic and relevant, and relevant learning objectives should be the basis for such tasks," he said.
Kongsberg Maritime's training is founded on measurable and observable competence objectives, describing what the student will be able to achieve as a result of the learning activity. A set of competence requirements has been developed to assess the learning outcome for course participants. In order to achieve this, the instructors must be trained in the ability to develop learning objectives, the ability to document observations as well as the ability to interpret the observation and do an overall professional and vocational assessment. Hvidsten emphasised a task based education as a means of reaching these objectives.
In addition to the lectures, the UC consisted of a guided tour of Vestfold University College as well as parallel sessions enabling the participants to learn more about the topic of their choice and to get hands on experience with the college's simulators. Kongsberg Maritime cooperates closely with Vestfold University College, among other things through the supply of several simulators. The college recently opened a research park with a so-called SimSam lab featuring a 360 degree Offshore Vessel Simulator as well as a Seismic Vessel Simulator using Microsoft Kinect motion sensing technology.
"We always try to adapt the conference content to the participants' needs through the parallel sessions. This year we are particularly pleased to invite the delegates 'home' to Tønsberg, also providing Vestfold University College with an opportunity to show its facilities and present its close cooperation with Kongsberg Maritime," commented Kongsberg Maritime's Anne Voith, who is responsible for arranging the UC at different locations throughout Europe every year.
"The purpose of the UC is to exchange experiences and ideas between us as a supplier and the client. The UC enables us to present our news and products and to interact with our clients. We get a lot of positive feedback, and the number of participants has doubled during the last five years. Many report that this is the most important conference they attend all year and the sister Americas and Asian conferences receive just as positive feedback," concludes Voith.