Online training could have an important role in the future of the maritime industry, it has been said.
In a blog for Maritime Professional, e-learning specialist Murray Goldberg said sea-related sectors could take advantage of distance learning online.
While studying in this manner would not be comparable to real-world business experience, he noted that it could "do wonders" for the sector by providing open and free instruction to everyone who is interested in it.
He highlighted a study from the US Department of Education, which took place in 2010, as evidence of the efficacy of virtual learning environments.
This research found people who took part in online learning typically performed better than those engaged in traditional face-to-face education when both parties were learning the same material.
It pointed out that there are a wide range of variables involved in this discrepancy, noting students taking part in e-learning might be more likely to spend longer on tasks they have trouble with than those going through traditional classroom education.
Furthermore, the research revealed that e-learning courses can become even more effective by enabling learners to control the way they interact with media and by prompting them to reflect on their findings.
However, Mr Goldberg said this investigation primarily deals with the acquisition of knowledge and although this is a "critical part" of employment in the maritime sector, it does not demonstrate that individuals have the right skills for the position.
Nonetheless, innovations in the e-learning market mean this educational method can encourage peer discussion, evaluation and collaborations, which would improve the training of people in maritime, he added.
The expert remarked that the number of people who are sceptical about the power and potential of e-learning is dwindling and digital education has a role to play in both the future and presence of maritime training.
"There is no denying that online learning is effective," the specialist said.