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Project Spotlight: Whales in Our Waters

The busier our coastal waterways have become with commercial traffic, the more need we have to protect our vulnerable sea life, and in particular, our whales. BC Ferries and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority saw this need, especially to convey the urgency of whale safety to mariners and vessel operators. PathWise Solutions was approached by our partner, Knowledge Solutions (KS), to work on Whales in Our Waters – an eLearning tutorial that does just that. 

Creating an Informative, Interactive Offline Course

The goal of this project was to produce a self study eLearning tutorial that would focus on the identification of whales in the waters by BC Ferries vessels and other mariners, helping learners to 

  • Identify the characteristics of different whales in our waters
  • Understand and follow best practices when whales are in proximity of vessels
  • Identify specific areas of voyages for situational awareness of whales
  • Follow the correct policy and procedure, including the legal obligations, around whales in our waters
  • Learn best practices for reporting whale-related sightings and incidents. 

One of the biggest challenges for the tutorial was that many mariners and vessel operators don’t have reliable online access; therefore, the tutorial also needed to be accessible for those travelling at sea without Internet access.

Collaborating with Our Partners and Clients

We worked closely with KS and BC Ferries, as well as the Port Authority, to map out a clear strategy. We wanted to ensure the tutorial engages the learner’s sense of responsibility and deepens their desire to improve the situation for whales, so we opted to incorporate a variety of photos, graphics, video, and sound clips. To keep learners of all backgrounds engaged, we included well thought out interactive elements. And on the technical side, we made the tutorial fully downloadable so that it can be taken offline. This also meant building in a way to track learner progress so they’d meet the required passing score for completion, even when taking the tutorial offline.

Take a look at a sample from the course in the video below: 

Reaching Learners with our Custom-Built Tutorial

PathWise worked in close collaboration with Knowledge Solutions to create an approximately 1-hour tutorial with 5 modules. We also built a robust Learning Management System for the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to host the tutorial.  

The Whales in Our Waters tutorial is filled with clean, clear customized charts and graphics that PathWise designed specifically to help learners absorb large amounts of information in an easy and appealing way. Other graphics and design elements, including custom-built animations, help build the learner’s knowledge of whale behaviour and habitats, understand the impact of vessel noise on whales (through audio clips), how to report whale sightings, and more.

PathWise’s contribution to the visual design and functionality of this tutorial, as well as the LMS, has been key to its success. The tutorial is now being used widely by all BC Ferries employees as well as by Washington State Ferries and has received significant press coverage since it launched. We’re incredibly proud of the work we did on such a valuable course!

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