Royal Yachting Association – Safety at Sea Elearning

City & Guilds Kineo’s elearning pushes the boat out for RYA training, bringing technical subjects to life for a wide public membership.

The Challenge

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is the national body for all forms of boating, providing information, advice and training. Generally this was delivered face-to-face, but there was a need to provide training internationally and ensure consistency throughout the UK.

The challenge was to convert a two-day workshop (16 hours) on the basics of navigation and safety on the water, into elearning (5.5 hours) to be sold, launched and tracked via the existing RYA Moodle site for use by both RYA training centres and members of the public.

Key to the project was to get input from the best SMEs to accurately capture the technical nature of the training.

Our Solution

The RYA covers complex material. Its audience needs to deal with concepts from how to read tide tables, to identifying locations and techniques for anchoring boats. It’s important not to overwhelm people – we had to keep the pace and balance right.

The technical content required an approach that enabled the learner to absorb the material through highly engaging, media-rich screens and then to practise their knowledge in a safe environment before being tested on it. We used a model that had three parts to it: Learn it, Try it and Test it.

Learn it: Our visually-rich approach meant that the ‘Learn its’ were full of animations, videos and sound bites from real experts.These images show tidal movement with the video sped up so that it only takes a minute to watch. The use of video allows learners to observe the impact of changing tides. This is also an example of where we called on the expertise of the RYA to provide practical knowledge.

Animations are used to demonstrate key concepts; in this case it shows how the positions of the earth, moon and sun cause tides.

Try it: These sections enable learners to practise their knowledge through a blend of online and offline activities. For example, one screen shows how to read and draw tidal graphs. If they are stuck they can click the ‘Guide’ button for an audio hint from an expert.

Test it: For a learner to pass the training and be safe at sea, we created ‘test its’. Throughout the elearning we often ask learners to complete exercises on their paper chart and then input what they discover. For example, if we gave them a set of coordinates they would plot these, then return to the elearning to answer questions about that location.

The Results

The final solution also included a custom Moodle site designed to be accessed by the public. It had to be easy to manage course bookings and track course completions so training centres could manage learner progress.

A key element of our approach was thinking about how the RYA training centres would use the site, so we created an individual area for each centre. We also made sure that RYA could completely monitor the site, which meant having the capacity to run reports, see which courses people had enrolled in, monitor how long they took to complete the course and find out how they scored on the assessments.

Enrolments rolled in fast for RYA for these modules with learners jumping aboard after the launch at the Boat Show:

  • 75% of learners rated their enjoyment of the elearning at 5 out of 5
  • 20% rated their likelihood of taking more RYA elearning at 4 out of 5
  • 77% of learners completed the elearning with no additional help from RYA trainers

Speaking of the success of the project:

“This was not an easy project, but [City & Guilds] Kineo’s expertise in learning and graphic design, teamed with our instructors’ knowledge of the subject meant that we have ended up with a course to be proud of. The hard work was worth it and the feedback from students and instructors so far has been great.” – Jane Hall, Elearning and Training Resources Manager, Royal Yachting Association

“It's easy to use, fully interactive and packed with engaging graphics and clear instructions. Learners cover topics such as engine checks, passage planning, rules of the road, tidal awareness, buoyage and much more.” – Richard Falk, RYA Training Manager

RYA elearning case study

Comments from learners

“Best self-directed sailing course I’ve done to date! An excellent distillation of fundamental boating knowledge you need to get started.”

“I really enjoyed it, and it has prepared me to move on to further courses.”

“Thought it was a great course and can't wait to try it out for real and do another course.”

“A well planned course, which built step by step, to provide a good basic grounding in the essentials of seamanship.”

“Very good course. I highly recommend it.”