4 Hints and Tips Towards Better Teaching Techniques

Having to deliver or even attend training courses that are by their very nature defined as ‘dry and boring’ can be fuelled by the fact that the lessons are full of statistics and definitions or where lecturers have got it horribly wrong during lesson planning. Some of the tell tale signs are:

  1. Too many PowerPoint slides (The moment a student picks up on this it will usually drive fear and dread in to their hearts and will hinder engagement).
  2. Over use or poorly measured colour schemes on slides
  3. Over use of transition.
  4. Bad PowerPoint technique and timing (Jumping in and out of slides and presentations)
  5. Skipping slides

So, are we going to just accept that some lessons are very dry and as an instructor just  plough through the lesson and get onto more interesting lessons, or, is it possible to look at maybe a different approach to the delivery? When I say different approach, I am really talking about engagement with students. Standing at the front of a course and regurgitating stuff from a folder, book or tablet can be counter-productive. Some lessons will be dry and boring, but by approaching this kind of lesson differently, it is possible to embrace these lessons and get as much out of them as possible from more interactive ones.

Here’s how:

1) Use Andragogy


I have found that as an industry we tend to go for a pedagogy approach to training where an instructor/lecturer stands in front of the lesson and reading the lesson.  I have experimented with using ANDRAGOGY for the last 24 months were I have worked hard to engage students and foster a relationship whereby they want to learn…..simple as that.  If we want to do something then we are going to do a better job and I think that this applies to learning, if someone feels valued and part of the experience they will learn better and the retention of knowledge has more of a chance.


However, is ANDRAGOGY just a lazy instructor?  In my opinion NO.  In our industry now we need cognitive input from ALL within the industry, therefore, we are employing intelligent personnel, gone are the days whereby we may have worked with individuals that were academically challenged.  a lazy instructor or a 21st century approach to training.



2) Set The Scene and Revisit Often

During introductions at the start of conferences and lectures, the intro tends to be usually short and I have experienced it were it has been presented as a non-thing!! To me, this is possible the most important part and by getting this right, to me it feels like people waiting outside a door not sure whether to go in or not. By getting the intro right and allowing students to hypothetically walk through the door into the lesson, they will feel part of the experience, at ease, want to interact and many other positive effects. I have achieved this by avoiding standing behind lecterns at all cost. By coming out where possible to the centre of the classroom or removing as many physical barriers between you and the students kind of puts you in there world, so whilst the instructor, you are delivering the lecture on and even footing.

On completion of a lesson, naturally I provide a link to the following lesson, I have found value at this point to refer back to the intro and the reason for the course. This supports the value of the whole course and as a class you can link the entire course content together and by cross referencing content you can establish value in all parts of the course. I have also found that naturally you have to teach stuff in chunks, by constantly referring and cross referencing lessons you are not just ploughing through content and not using the information that you have spoke of.


3) Allow Your Students To Teach (Mastery)


I have heard, and am a strong believer that the best way to learn is to teach.  As you can see from this picture, I encourage students where possible to present to their piers their findings, opinions, understanding etc.  This supports understanding of what you are trying to impart and will help students retention. Going back to a previous statement, this is why it is so important to spend the right amount of time on the intro and break down the lazy pedagogy barriers and maybe look at a twenty first century way of delivering instruction through ANDRAGOGY.




4) Display Course Aims During Revision Periods


During revision periods I have found that displaying the course aim in the background whilst talking about the lesson content in the fore ground can help in linking the whole lesson together. On our HELM course, as part of the intro lesson we have a short video that completes the whole setting of the scene. When we complete a lesson we write it on a display board and we use this to refer back to. Whilst I do this I have the video running in the background and this helps me maintain the value of what we are talking through.


Richard "Joe" Sloly

Delivered lectures and instruction to a wide range of students from company CEO’s to deck hands since 1996.

Courses Joe currently delivers at ECDIS Ltd:

  • HELM
  • Training Course for Instructor
  • Simulation Instructor Course
Richard "Joe" SlolyInstructor

Video: ECDIS Ltd 3D Department – Modelling The Future

We’ve uploaded a new video to YouTube. Find out all about our 3D Department at ECDIS Ltd. From Port & Vessel creation, to full mission bridge simulator designs and visualisations; our team are dedicated to producing state of the art simulation for training environments. 

Produced by our own Ben Climas and featuring Jack Osborn, our Head of 3D Department…

Redesigning The ECDIS Ltd Website

Improving the ECDIS website was one of the original priorities I had when I first started here back in April last year, although it soon became clear that we wanted to do a bit more than just improve the site and it was in August 2014 that we decided to fully redesign it.

We wanted to “go against the flow” of other maritime training sites, and create a clean, open, spacious site, with a modern design and a colour scheme to tie in with our corporate theme. We also created a colour scheme for the courses in the new brochure and wanted to reflect that on the site.

The website has had several changes; however the first major stage only took around a month, as the majority of the content was already there. We’ve been live with the new site now for around 4 months, although there’s been a lot added to it since the initial visual re-design in September 2014. One of the main reasons for changing the design of the website was that the previous version wasn’t compatible with expansion. The latest update to the site followed the completion of the 2015 courses, products and services brochure, which included a large range of new courses developed for the New Year.

Over the next years we plan to constantly expand the site, adding videos and mini sites all within the main ECDIS website. We are currently designing mini sites for both the Port Creation and Simulator Builds which will independently stand alone, separate from the main site, but will both follow the design and feel of our current site.

About The Author

Mike Backhouse

I am a web geek, with a love of art & design, and have been designing websites for over 10 years. With the stereotypical loves of Star Trek and other sci-fi, I also play the saxophone in my spare time, love jazz and am actively involved with my local Church.

Mike BackhouseWeb Designer



Development and creation of the 2015 ECDIS Ltd Brochure

2015 has seen major changes for ECDIS ltd, with a significant increase in new courses and additional products & services added to our portfolio; including vessel creation and auditing. As such, our prospectus was in need of a major redesign. Amy Shelton, our Head of Marketing was tasked with this massive undertaking…

When I initially joined the marketing department one of the first tasks I was given was the job of overhauling the course and company marketing content, both online and for the 2014 prospectus. The design and content from the 2014 brochure was used as the initial inspiration for this year’s brochure, and as such, when it came to gathering the content, the majority of the fundamental work had already been done.

In addition to our pre-existing material, we thought outside the box and looked at various other brochures and also took inspiration from restaurant menus and hotel brochures! This was done as we wanted something user friendly and visually pleasing and we have always wanted to stand out from the crowd.

I learnt an awful lot creating last year’s brochure – it was the first real marketing material of any length that we had created at ECDIS Ltd so there was quite a lot of content to include. The main thing we really took away from it was that it needed to be clear and accessible to our clients – as such, this year we focused a lot on the organisation of the content.

Gathering all the information for the new courses and getting everything together in time for the print deadline was definitely a momentous challenge. All our trainers teach weekly either here or abroad so finding time to collect course content off them was difficult. We also didn’t want to produce something that was too heavy for people to want to take away, so narrowing the content down took a lot of discussion!

Before both the re-design of the website and creation of the new brochure, we had several marketing meetings about the new style that we wanted to incorporate into both projects. The website was re-designed first, which gave a basis for the visuals, meaning that designing the colours for the new brochure ran smoothly. Across both platforms we have added colour coding to our courses and used recognisable headings to increase the usability for our customers.

2014 was a really busy year for us, so when discussing the new brochure it was obvious to us that we had to include the wide range of new products and services. This gave us a huge amount of content to work with, but we’ve got a great team here so narrowing it down and getting all the right information wasn’t too much work; after plenty of planning and very long meetings!

To request a digital or printed copy of the ECDIS Ltd 2015 Brochure, please visit

About The Author

Amy Shelton
Amy SheltonHead of Marketing

Kelvin Hughes MantaDigital Widescreen

ECDIS Ltd provides Kelvin Hughes MantaDigitalTM Widescreen on board familiarisation


UK based ECDIS training and consultancy company ECDIS Ltd are pleased to announce the launch of their new on-board familiarisation course for Kelvin Hughes’ MantaDigital™ Widescreen software.

Kelvin Hughes’ newest ECDIS software has been on the market since 2012 and ECDIS Ltd has now produced its own training solution which meets the requirement of the ISM code and Safety Management System training requirements and is convenient for the marine and the shipping company.

John Ritchie, ECDIS Course Manager at ECDIS Ltd, says,


“Kelvin Hughes are constantly evolving, and a particularly strong example of this is the new MantaDigitalTM Widescreen software. We are delighted to be their international independent training partner and will continue to match the development of their ECDIS software with the highest standard of professional courses.”


Natalie Robson, Marketing Manager at ECDIS Ltd, adds,


“It has been a real pleasure getting to know another ECDIS system, allowing us to provide a realistic and balanced training course for the mariner. The MantaDigitalTM Widescreen has taken a fresh approach to ECDIS bearing little resemblance to the previous versions, highlighting the need for mariners to be trained in each system.”




ECDIS Ltd provide navigation training, purchasing, charting and consultation in Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) and the military equivalent (WECDIS, ECDIS-N). A forward thinking company, they have pioneered the embodiment of ECDIS in SMS procedures with the ECDIS Procedures Guide and have paved the way for a better understanding of ECDIS with the ECDIS Manual. ECDIS Ltd specialise in providing Flag State approved IMO model ECDIS courses and Equipment Specific training on an extensive number of systems.  Static training is delivered in their state of the art Training Centre near Southampton (UK) and portable training can be conducted in a location of the customer’s choosing, even onboard if facilities can support it.  ECDIS Ltd trainers are highly experienced in the practical use of ECDIS, and combined have taught over 1500 mariners.  Their static ECDIS training is endorsed and accredited by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, whilst their portable training solution is approved by Det Norske Veritas. Equipment Specific training is accredited by the Nautical Institute.

The ECDIS Manual is available for purchase from Witherby Seamanship at and at all good maritime chart and book stockists.

Written by:        ECDIS Ltd
Published by:    Witherby Seamanship International Ltd

ISBN 978-1-85609-507-5
Book £350 +VAT

eBook £350       (eBook excludes any applicable taxes)

The ‘ECDIS Procedures Guide’ is available from Witherby Seamanship at and at all good maritime chart and book stockists.

Written by:        ECDIS Ltd
Published by:    Witherby Seamanship International Ltd
ISBN 978-1-85609-535-8
Book £75 + VAT

eBook £75         (eBook excludes any applicable taxes)



For further information:

Natalie Robson


Ground Floor

Atlantic 3600 Building Parkway

Solent Business Park



PO15 7AN

United Kingdom


Tel: +44 (0) 1489 559677



MaxSea and ECDIS Development

MaxSea and ECDIS Development

Ecdis Ltd’s partnership with MaxSea continues to flourish.  This month Mal Instone, Director of Operations conducted training in Biarritz on their latest product, Time Zero.  Time Zero replaces MaxSea Version 12 and is an entirely new look utilising new technologies.  The essence of Time Zero is the ability to seamlessly zoom from the world chart to the largest scale chart in a heartbeat.  Other attributes include a superb weather feature, aided in design by Michel Desjoyeaux, Vendée Globe winner.  MaxSea software has free and unlimited access to worldwide meteorological forecasts.  A weather forecast is requested from MaxSea and is received by email.  This data is fed into the system and the result is a weather picture overlay.  The user can then advance the weather overlay to see how it will affect the boat over the route.  The really clever part however, is that the system will analyse the data to predict the best route to your destination, given the conditions.

Time Zero is a superb tool for yachtsman, leisure and fishermen alike.  The software facilitates 3D charting and image overlay utilising mapmedia charts.  By viewing the chart in 3D the user is able to get a perspective like no other, with depths and heights allowing greater understanding of the surrounding environment.  If that was not enough there is the ability to overlay this with 3D satellite imagery.  Always looking to improve their product MaxSea are working on 3D technology that uses live echo sounder and sonar data to paint an accurate picture of the sea bed.  This data is overlayed on a 3D Raster or Vector chart so that the two may be compared. Although Time Zero does not contain as many features as Version 12 at present, work is ongoing to incorporate them into future updates.  Whether you are yacht racing, commercial or more leisure inclined, MaxSea Time Zero is a superb tool worth consideration for all your navigation needs.

Ecdis Ltd are exclusive MaxSea trainers in the UK. However, given the sophistication of MaxSea software we would also be very interested in utilising our expertise to work closely with MaxSea in developing their systems to full IMO approved ECDIS status. 

A demo of Time Zero can be seen on our website on the Associates & Partners page.

 Written by Mal Instone of Ecdis Ltd

ECDIS to be made mandatory under SOLAS

ECDIS to be made mandatory under SOLAS

At a meeting of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) on 27 May-5 June 2009, amendments to SOLAS regulation V/19, to make mandatory the carriage of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) and Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm Systems (BNWAS), under SOLAS chapter V, Safety of Navigation, were adopted, with an expected entry into force date of 1 January 2011. The requirements will be mandatory for new ships and phased-in for existing ships.