RELAR Project full description & objectives

RELAR project aims to create a crisis-proof resilient maritime VET ecosystem by enabling remote learning and examination using Augmented Reality, AR. It addresses to key challenges of the maritime and port education ecosystem caused by structural change due to new digital technologies. It focusses on the adoption of augmented reality tools to improve learning outcomes.

RELAR is driven by a consortium formed by European VET and HEI organizations and will tackle all the deficiencies unearthed by the COVID-19 crisis focusing on transferring the expertise and knowledge of industrial organizations in improving security, safety and efficiency by empowering frontline connected workers with remote technology. The maritime VET education ecosystem must become more resilient to crisis and improve adaptation capacity to forced shifts imposed by force majeure. Being tightly linked to other ecosystems having a major role in economy and in society as a whole (port ecosystem, national, European and international education ecosystem) maritime education has to be capable to absorb social shocks generated by crisis situations and to ensure the continuity of the learning process.

Over the last decade, sensors enabled telemetry to connect devices, products, customers with Industry 4.0. While Industry 4.0 promises a wide implementation of automation, in most enterprises, operations are a set of tiring linear steps—slow, sometimes inaccurate and inefficient. In all this, frontline workers have been standing on the side lines for the last 20 years; watching and waiting.

The paradigm shift with Industry 5.0 is where the frontline worker is now in the centre of things – machines, methods and workflows, and the technical management level is able to connect with him in a seamless manner. The project will mirror the new paradigm “expert – frontline worker” proposed by Industry 5.0 concept to a next-level “teacher – student” paradigm for vocational education and training. Teachers will wear the augmented reality device for examining remotely the students by evaluating the quality of the instruction’s students gave. Students will enhance their technological skills and hands-on experience by using the same AR device and executing tasks being remotely guided by the teacher. Both teachers and students will have the roles of expert or frontline worker depending on the objective: examination or learning.

The consortium partners under the lead of University of the Aegean, a Greek university experienced in computer science applied in maritime sector and pioneering the field of Maritime Informatics, will identify and adopt a common architecture and framework for future interoperability, scalability and sustainability of remote learning. The core concepts of the architecture will be inspired by the existing Proof of Concept developed by STC Group for maritime education (EQF 4-5). During the first stage of the project, the partners will encourage experimentation and exchange of ideas and good practices.

These will serve as requirements and criteria for establishing the most performant framework. Based on the selected framework, a REmote Learning and examination system using AR (RELAR) will be developed. A remote assistance communication protocol will be established in order to ensure a clear and efficient interaction between the teacher and student. The IMO’s Standard Marine Communication Phrases (SMCP) will serve as model. This communication protocol must eliminate the risk of misunderstandings or omissions that can lead to failures and jeopardize the correctness of the learning or examination process. Teachers will attend Train the Expert sessions coordinated by CERONAV, where they will be trained on technical aspects like how to use and manage the system. Students will attend special workshops during multiplier events where they will get more insights in the design and functionality of the RELAR system.

The consortium partners with experience in vocational education assisted by HEI and led by The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology – MCAST, will build scenarios to be used on RELAR system for learning and examination purposes for various use cases (ship engine officer, shipyard technician, transport fleet service & repair technician). These scenarios will benefit also from the input of the associated partners and will be demonstrated, evaluated and validated during a series of multiplier events organised at the consortium partners location. Learning materials like videos and tutorials will be created to enhance the digital skills of students and teachers related to augmented reality and to smooth the adoption process of RELAR in practical education. Teachers will attend Train the Trainer sessions organised by CERONAV, where they will get familiar with using RELAR scenarios for learning and examination using RELAR scenarios. Students will attend special workshops during the multiplier events where they will understand how they can take the most benefits out of the learning and examination with RELAR.

Šolski center Nova Gorica will coordinate the quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation of the project. Quality assurance and monitoring is a transversal activity that will last the entire duration of the project.

As part of the dissemination activities, the partners will organise nine Transnational Meetings in total, of which four will be Training Events. During the Transnational Meetings teachers, students and experts from maritime industry and other sectors will get familiar with RELAR and will receive the necessary information on how to use it to educate and examine students and professionals on-the-job remotely.