Thursday, April 20, 2017

Part 2 of 5 - On the Job Flexibility in Training

Welcome to our second of five articles looking at 5 trends in eLearning.

Closing the Gaps
Knowledge and skills gaps are particularly critical for workers in the oil and gas sector. Companies in the oil and gas sector must meet stringent regulatory compliance requirements for safety and technical training such as PSM and SEMS requirements. Any gaps in required knowledge mean risk.  Additionally, many organizations will create their own standards for technical knowledge, skills, safety, and performance goals. Organizations with a more knowledgeable workforce reduce the risks of injury, illness, and costs due to mishaps. Additionally they can enjoy improved productivity and profitability leading to a strong competitive edge. And proper training is a necessary investment

What may not be so clear is that preparing workers to be ready and able to perform their jobs requires more than just training programs. The solution must build skills and knowledge to match specific on-the-job needs. And the critical nature and fast pace of operations in the oil and gas workplace requires immediate access to knowledge and information. On-demand access to e-learning programs helps oil and gas companies cost-effectively meet their training and development initiatives. Knowledge gaps drive the need for on-the-job e-learning.

What is it?
E-learning modules provide interactive learning in a format designed for individual access on demand through the internet.  Access to eLearning from workstations and other devices facilitates on-the-job training. On-demand means access to e-learning programs anytime, anywhere with an internet connection. On-the-job access means training employees while they are working, as opposed to sending them to an offsite location. 



Why?
Flexibility leads to cost savings and improved productivity and performance.
Job training can be delivered in a number of ways, for companies incorporating new training programs, a major advantage of e-learning is flexibility. Learners have the ability to participate in online courses from anywhere with an internet connection. This eliminates coordinating where and when a course will take place and gathering a group of employees together in one place. This flexibility means management and employees are able to complete important “just-in-time” training as requirements change. Additionally, because of the flexibility of being able to use it from any location at any time, e-Learning allows users to control the learning environment and access training at the most convenient times eliminating as many distractions as possible. They don't have to follow a specific schedule.

It is cost effective.
The flexibility of e-learning benefits the bottom line in several ways. Traditional classroom courses have costs associated with the instructor managing the class, travel expenses, and time away from work. Since training is completed online, there isn't any need to make travel arrangements or to spend money on transportation costs, meals or lodging. Training employees while they are working, as opposed to sending them to an offsite location, increases the chance that learned information will be fully assimilated.
E-learning helps companies create a higher quality, more effective training experience for employees, at a more affordable cost. On the job training is cost effective for companies because it often requires fewer resources than having to recruit new employees. Updating and reproducing learning materials is costly and time-consuming. E-learning let you update programs quickly and easily, and since they remain online, you can save on printing costs. ROI is one of the clearest benefits of e-learning for businesses.

It is effective. Online training allows employees to quickly get up to speed. Neuroscience tells us that the key to building connections and context for new knowledge is connecting it to the learner’s prior knowledge and experience. Linking courses with work activities can improve retention and reduce the time for someone to become an independent contributor. Learning that is embedded in work can be put to use immediately.

E-learning provides consistent training, eliminating problems with different instructors teaching slightly different material. It can be updated quickly by uploading content to the server and it will be available then to all learners. Training can be tailored to suit the needs of the company with site-specific parameters so that new trainees can be integrated into the company without learning skills externally that may not fit their specific role or company.

Even though the course material is consistent for all users, e-learning allows each individual learner to control the pace of the course, which can’t be done in a classroom setting. The flexibility of e-learning allows learners to revisit key information right when they need it. And employees can access important resources any time they encounter a question or difficult situation.

Conclusion/Benefits/Results
Closing the gaps means reducing the risks to safety, productivity and compliance. The benefits can be significant. Potential results include:

  • Improved safety - reduction in mishaps
  • Improved performance
  • Reduced training costs
  • Increased productivity as workers have all information needed available 24/7
  • Compliance on target or beyond
  • Increased competency pays for itself over and over
  • Protection of your training investment and worker knowledge
  • Reduced time-to-competency - less time spent training

It is easy to see why accessible e-learning plays a significant role in the acquisition of skills and knowledge in the workplace. It pays for itself in performance and productivity gains, in reduction of risk, and in the benefits of compliance.  Making such meaningful impact requires effective eLearning developed specifically for the oil and gas industry’s needs.  Contact PetroSkills RDC Solutions to discuss putting eLearning to work for your company. Email solutions@petroskills.com. Or visit www.petroskills.com/rdc.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Part 1 of 5 - Learning Pathways - Reducing Learning Time in Oil and Gas Industry

In the oil and gas industry, the need to stay up-to-date with skills and safety training and regulations is critical. Any gaps between what workers know and what they should or are required to know increases risks to safety, productivity, quality, and compliance. A single gap can seriously jeopardise every safety and quality improvement effort and a company’s good standing with regulatory compliance agencies. Along with global organisations in all sectors, the oil and gas industry is facing challenges to training and development from dwindling budgets, limited resources, and a changing workforce. Forward looking companies know that they must leverage technology in smarter ways to help lower costs, mitigate risks and strengthen their development ambitions. 

Intelligently incorporating the eLearning functionality of learning pathways, means doing just that. Rather than just offering a “one size fits all” approach, learning pathways offer new ways to structure learning content to accommodate each learner’s unique needs. Personalising the learning pathways leads to accelerating the time it takes to develop proficiency. In fact, Learning Paths have been proven to reduce time to proficiency by 30-50%. [Williams, Jim; Rosenbaum, Steve (2004). Learning Paths Increase Profits by Reducing the Time it Takes Employees to Get Up-To-Speed. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.]  By integrating personal learning pathways into training and development, oil and gas organisations could see reduced time-to-proficiency, reduced costs, and achievement of their compliance and organisational goals.

The basic goal of implementing learning pathways is to lead learners to proficiency in the most efficient way. Two fundamental principles form the basis to create this efficiency:
  1. Only train the learner on what they need to know.
  2. Do not train them on what they already know Learning pathways do this by tailoring the content to the learner.
The Content:
First, the knowledge requirements for each job role must be defined in a curriculum. Each job role has specific knowledge that is required to fulfil the job role with proficiency. In eLearning, these specifics can be segmented and mapped into learning modules. By defining what learning modules would fulfil the knowledge requirements we now have the entire content and can create a pathway starting from the most basic knowledge to full proficiency. Additional requirements can be managed and tracked in the pathway such as site-specific parameters, pre-requisites, re-training time frames and alternate courses.


Tailoring to the Learner:
Next, the learner’s proficiencies and gaps must be determined. A mastery assessment/pre-test compares each individual’s knowledge to the job-specific knowledge requirements identifying gaps and proficiencies. Once the individual’s unique knowledge gaps are identified, a personal learning path is dynamically and automatically generated to close those gaps. Proficiencies allow the individual to move ahead without taking training they don’t need. A personal learning pathway is created for each learner to progress to complete proficiency in all required job-specific knowledge. The technology makes this a dynamic environment that responds to changes in abilities and provides immediate feedback to learners. The choice regarding which learning modules need review and which have been mastered is not left up to the discretion of a supervisor, or even the learner themselves. All knowledge needed for the job, as well as the unit and site (including best practices and compliance mandates), is conveyed to every learner in that job role at a pace that suits each learner. Rather than following a ‘A to B to C path,’ any areas where the learner is already proficient are excluded and the topics where he/she is not will be remediated. 


For example, suppose a job requires the ability to perform math calculations. It would be a waste of both the learner’s and the company’s time to be trained on basic math skills when he/she can already add, subtract, divide and multiply at a high school level. Instead, having demonstrated math proficiency in a mastery assessment, the personal learning pathway moves that learner on to higher level math operations.


The personal learning pathway is more than a just a series of steps that lead to the learner being able to reproduce knowledge or action. It allows individualised pathway that only delivers training needed, not skills already mastered. It’s a focused approach that uses time and resources far more efficiently. 


The result is an eLearning environment that accommodates each learner and can deliver:

  •     Efficiency – Learners are up-to-speed and ready for work in less time
  •     Reduced costs - Elimination of time wasted on redundant or unnecessary training
  •     Competency and Compliance - Gap identification and remediation assures competency and compliance with safety and regulatory training
For information on how PetroSkills RDC Solutions uses Differential Learning to create learning paths>>
Our Differential Learning methodology assesses each learner's range of existing knowledge, identifies knowledge gaps, and prescribes an appropriate learning path that delivers targeted content to achieve and maintain 100% proficiency. These personal learning paths eliminate redundant or unnecessary training activities and provide learners the opportunity to learn more efficiently. This approach reduces learner time-to-proficiency and develops a better qualified workforce.
Differential Learning incorporates:

  •     Mastery Assessments
  •     Knowledge Gap Identification
  •     Dynamic Personal Learning Plans
  •     Remediation to 100% Proficiency
Robert Cooper, Solutions Manager at PetroSkills - UK, Europe & Middle East 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

5 e-Learning Trends Ideal for Oil and Gas Learners


In coming blog posts, we will explore each of these trends and what they mean for eLearning in the oil and gas industry.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2017 e-Learning Catalog available now!

See what's new. The new e-Learning catalog is available. Download yours now!

Monday, January 16, 2017

OSHA Updates: Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment

As you may be aware, OSHA has revised and updated industry standards on walking-working surfaces hazards. The final rule is now in effect. Our course material remains up-to-date and reflects these new changes.  The following courses in the ePILOT EHS library have been updated to include any needed changes:


Ladder Safety (A5068)
Walking/Working Surfaces (A5077)
Fall Prevention (A5022)

Information from OSHA including questions/answers and a fact sheet can be found at https://www.osha.gov/walking-working-surfaces/

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Cost of Risk vs. The Value of Knowledge

Today's oil and gas companies must contend with many issues related to the safety, reliability, and environmental performance in running a successful plant.  Incidents, near-misses, plant upsets, and production mishaps pose a constant threat to safe and efficient operations.   

There's no question that workforce knowledge is critical to smooth running plants. It is estimated that more than 40% of all plant incidents are initially caused by some form of human error.  Plants lose billions of dollars every year from operator and maintenance worker errors due to insufficient employee knowledge. Gaps in knowledge among workers are major risks and potential downfalls.

The difference between a worker's existing knowledge level and the complete knowledge required for 100% job proficiency are knowledge gaps. Knowledge gaps are risky business. Savvy employers recognize that single gap can seriously jeopardize safety and quality improvement efforts, as well as a company's good standing with regulatory compliance agencies. Consider this situation where knowledge gaps caused significant disruption, including equipment damage and production loss:

As in many plants, removing water or moisture from a liquid stream can be critical to processes. In one plant, propane LPG was treated with a caustic wash and amine treatment, and then went through a dryer before refrigeration. But when the plant increased LPG production, the sudden change in feed rate caused the caustic to be carried overhead and upset the amine unit. Both caustic and amine were carried into the dryer. Unknowingly, operators carried on normal operations for the next few days, and when they began the next dryer regeneration, they discovered that the molecular sieve had become clogged with cement hard masses due to the caustic and amine contamination. The dryer had to be removed from service for repair. The operators didn't foresee the upsets caused by the sudden feed increase. The knowledge gap produced an inadequate response causing equipment damage and lost production.

To remain on solid ground, plants must eliminate knowledge gaps and develop a more knowledgeable workforce.  100% proficiency is needed in all knowledge required for safe and productive operations. How can this be done? We've identified 4 steps necessary for eliminating the gaps:

Define
The crucial foundation for identifying gaps is understanding what knowledge is required. Defining what is actually required for best job performance involves recognizing every single procedure, issue, or parameter that could affect that job. When all requirements are defined, a thorough assessment can identify gaps in the total required knowledge.

Organize
Content must be developed that will effectively transfer the required knowledge. Well-designed learning content incorporates proven Instructional Design Methodology (ISD) with relevant content to produce effective, engaging programs geared for adult learners in technical industries. Individualized curriculum paths organize these programs to address the knowledge gaps of each learner. 

Deliver
The appropriate learning modules must be delivered consistently to each individual based on their current abilities. Differential learning allows redundant training to be filtered from delivery, and only those programs that align with the knowledge gaps are delivered. This means learners reach proficiency more quickly without unnecessary training.

Measure
The actual knowledge acquired must be measured against the defined knowledge requirements. This requires well designed assessments and strategies for remediation. When competency is not attained, the personal learning path must be adjusted and the appropriate remediation completed until 100% proficiency is reached.

So, what size knowledge gap is acceptable? Any knowledge gap is too much risk. Creating an environment that consistently and accurately checks and updates each of the four steps above will eliminate the gaps and reduce of risk.  With gaps eliminated, valuable knowledge can be realized in:
  • Productivity increases
  • Improved safety
  • Improved performance
  • Reduced process upsets
  • Reduced operator errors
  • Fewer machine breakdowns and shutdowns
  • Less time spent correcting mistakes
PetroSkills RDC Solutions is in a unique position to close the knowledge gaps. With over 50 years of knowledge transfer experience in the process industries, we've worked with leading companies, licensors, and manufacturers gleaning industry experience and technical know-how. By optimizing learning with proven instructional design methodologies and technology, we enable our clients to improve performance while reducing risk.  Based on this experience, we can deliver a job-specific, adaptive learning and knowledge transfer environment focused on developing and maintaining 100% knowledge proficiency. Visit our website www.petroskills.com/rdc or contact us via email at solutions@petroskills.com.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Knowledge Gaps Drive the Need for Learning and Compliance Management System



Active Learner – Compliance and LMS

Closing the Gaps
Knowledge and skills gaps are particularly critical for workers in the oil and gas sector. Organizations with a more knowledgeable workforce reduce the risks of injury, illness, and costs due to mishaps.  It’s a simple and easily understood fact. Additionally they can enjoy improved productivity and profitability leading to a strong competitive edge.  Proper training is a necessary investment. 

Performance Support
But what may not be so clear is that preparing workers to be ready and able to perform their jobs requires more than just training programs. Performance needs to be supported through a keen management of knowledge, curriculum and job roles. The solution must build core skills and knowledge to match specific on-the-job needs. And the critical nature and fast pace of operations in the oil and gas workplace requires stepping beyond traditional methods of content delivery and providing immediate access to knowledge and information through an advanced organization system. 

Knowledge gaps drive the need for performance support:

1.       Compliance Initiatives
Companies in the oil and gas sector must meet stringent regulatory compliance requirements for safety and technical training such as PSM and SEMS requirements.  Any gaps in required knowledge mean risk.  Additionally, many organizations will create their own standards for technical knowledge, skills, safety, and performance goals. The critical and complex nature of many processes and tasks requires anytime access to information to guide workers.

2.       Knowledge Loss
Workforce attrition, when older more experienced workers leave the workforce and take years of know-how with them, leaves an organization with a collective hole/gap in knowledge. These long term employees have mastered specific job roles over the years through direct observation, working with mentors, and years of experience on various jobs. Without capturing this knowledge and transferring it on to new employees, this tacit knowledge will be lost to the organization.

3.       New Hires
New workers hired to fill the positions of the vacancies due to retirement or due to expansion need to reach competency in their job requirements quickly.  A wide variety of experiences and backgrounds may be brought together to fill these vacancies, often with gaps in existing knowledge. When new workers must begin to perform immediately and training time is limited, workers need support that adjusts to deliver only the training they need so that they can quickly achieve competency.

The Right Tools
Performance Support helps organizations immediately improve worker performance while helping meet training and development initiatives and maintain a competitive edge. RDC’s Performance Support System, Active Learner, is complementary to training programs and integrates with your current LMS. Active Learner is specifically designed to address the unique learning and compliance requirements in process manufacturing facilities. Active Learner features:

Advanced Curriculum Management
Curriculums are developed to job role-specific requirements, not simply by title. HR may use the title “Operator 1” for many employees, but the actual job roles of each individual could be very different depending on location, process, and status as first responders, etc.  Active Learner develops curriculums by job roles rather than titles, so specific requirements for each individual learner can be clearly identified and addressed.  Pre-requisites, re-training, and alternate courses are specified in the curriculum.

Complementary to Training/Compliance Initiatives
Compliance requirements and plant-specific mandates can be automated. Comprehensive reporting clearly shows progress toward compliance goals.  Active Learner provides methods for identifying training gaps and assigning remedial training. Rather than simply recording the training has been delivered, knowledge transfer is confirmed and documented.

Integrated and Accessible
Active Learner’s integrated environment improves worker productivity by providing on-the-job access to integrated information, tools, and training. Online, on-demand availability and accessibility facilitates self-directed learning and empowers workers to enroll and track their own progress.  Your LMS or ERP can interface with Active Learner to supply the knowledge base and training content.  A multilingual learner interface is available to support usage for several languages including: French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Chinese.

Conclusion/Benefits/Results
New hires, regulatory demands, workforce knowledge: closing the gaps means reducing the risks to safety, productivity and compliance.  The benefits can be significant.  Potential results include:
·         Improved safety - reduction in mishaps
·         Improved performance
·         Reduced training costs
·         Increased productivity as workers have all information needed available 24/7
·         Compliance on target or beyond
·         Increased competency pays for itself over and over
·         Protection of your training investment and worker knowledge
·         Reduced time-to-competency - less time spent training
It pays for itself in performance and productivity gains, in reduction of risk, and in the benefits of compliance.  Making such meaningful impact requires an advanced performance support system fueled by the right technology developed specifically for the process industry’s needs.  Contact RDC to discuss putting Active Learner to work for your company.