Exam sailors on the crest of an online learning wave
They may be hundreds of miles offshore most of the time, but online learning has taken off for sailors in naval service
When the Leaving Certificate class of 2014 collected their results this week, it included four proud enlisted personnel.
An online learning initiative has proven that being away at sea for weeks or months at a time is no barrier to education.
Last September, the naval service recruited TheMathsTutor.ie to trial a new approach to teaching and learning with some sailors on the LÉ Orla
Of the 10 personnel who started the course, four sat the Leaving Certificate in June and another four are planning to do so next year.
Many enlisted personnel only have a Junior Cert qualification, and Leaving Cert maths is a key requirement for sailors who want enter into the service's apprenticeship programmes or seek certain promotions.
The nature of the job makes it difficult for enlisted personnel to return to education and build their skills through traditional, onshore learning programmes
Lt Cdr Conor Kirwan spotted the potential for an online learning programme, when he came across TheMathsTutor.ie at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition.
TheMathsTutor.ie provides video lessons, interactive exercises and additional online supports which are available 24/7.
Lt Cdr Kirwan said they were delighted with its success and any initial concerns about keeping students motivated in an online learning environment were unfounded.