Thursday, October 19, 2017

New eLearning Course - Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica

OSHA issues new Respirable Crystalline Silica standard. New ePilot course available to subscribers now! #ehslibrary #ehstraining

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Learning Effectiveness (eLearning Trends 5 of 5)

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. The fundamental ability to capture, transfer, and validate worker knowledge is critical to success.
Employees can attend training sessions, but having gone to training doesn't mean they learned. When it comes to safety, productivity and performance, what your employees know is more important than what their records may say. To truly know a topic, there must be understanding of concepts, attachments to prior knowledge and the ability to apply the new knowledge. How can you be sure your employees have the knowledge they need? How can you be sure the learning outcomes have been achieved?

One aspect of learning that draws much criticism is testing.  Most of us are familiar with testing from our school days as a means to attain a result. The result is pass or fail; qualified or not; certified or not. However, when viewed as a way to assess knowledge, a "test" serves more purpose than merely notating a final grade. Assessments and quizzes can be used to promote learning and shape the learning path.

Effective e-learning programs will rely on 3 different levels of assessment:

1.      Placement assessment is used to determine what the learner knows about the content prior to training. Useful in planning or as an individual predictor, this assessment identifies where knowledge gaps exist so that individualized learning paths can be created to meet each learner’s specific needs. As an aggregate predictor, placement assessment results can identify where groups of learners need feedback or additional learning.

2.      Formative assessment is used during the instruction to determine how the learner is progressing and to provide immediate feedback to the learner. These assessments and quizzes make learning stick. As a learning aid, answering a series of questions or responding to a quiz after covering a topic is a great way to monitor one’s own learning – it gives instant feedback so learners can find out what they know and what they don’t. These challenges make learners participate more actively in the learning process and create memory. During the assessment, the learner actively recalls the details from short-term memory. These "practice recalls" help to ultimately reinforce learning.

3.      Summative assessment is used at the end of the course to determine the mastery level of the learner and determine if they are proficient or must receive remedial training.

Combining these into e-learning programs is a three step process for learning effectiveness:
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.
The appropriate learning modules must be delivered consistently to each individual based on their current abilities. 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. Incorporating self-teaching quizzes and knowledge checks keeps learners involved in the learning process and aid in recall and self-correction.
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.
This combination of assessment and feedback sets up a cycle of learning where 100% competency is truly attainable. Creating e-learning that consistently and accurately checks and updates learning in each of the three steps above will ensure effective learning. With gaps eliminated, benefits 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 through e-learning. With over 50 years of knowledge transfer experience in the oil and gas industry, 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 e-learning technology, we enable our clients to improve performance while reducing risk. Visit our website or contact us via email at

Monday, May 22, 2017

Using Video in eLearning (eLearning Trends 4 of 5)

The days of video learning equating to dimming the classroom lights and popping a VHS tape into a player are over. When someone wants know-how about anything, most people are now quite comfortable turning to internet searches and watching videos. E-learning programs can be enhanced with video, adding dimension to your learning and development programs, but it’s not as simple as linking to a 30 minute video and letting the content do all the instruction.

Things to consider when using video in e-Learning:
  • Keep it short. Consider the length of the video. If it’s too long you will lose the attention of the learner. You cannot expect deep attention from video alone. Stay focused on the point to keep learners attention. When kept short and focused, video can easily demonstrate a concept.
  • Learners cannot control the pace of video, so you need to supply controls to pause and replay video within the course.
  • Video content should only be key points of information (see my previous post on microlearning to be easily comprehended, and of interest to learners.
  • Reinforce the video content by engaging the learner in knowledge check questions, and other e-learning instruction methods.
What about oil and gas learners?
Oil and gas learners are often covering complex technical information. They need sound instructional design and verification of knowledge transfer. Organizations can’t rely solely on video, but can use some benefits of video to enhance e-learning.

Short focused video can make e-learning more media rich and engaging, but videos can also be boring and lose the interest of learners if they are not combined with interactive content. Interactivity makes learners focus, think, analyze, and take part in the instruction. Presenting objectives and tying meaningful questions to the video topics with knowledge check questions keeps learners involved.
Repeatability is good for comprehension. Video can refresh and reinforces previous learning. Different learning styles can be addressed by repeating instruction in different formats. Visual learners and poor readers my find video enhanced courses allow them to connect visual information to what they read and recall, thus reinforcing information. Video simulations show processes and prepare learners for actual use of equipment beforehand.

On its own, video may not be enough, but when incorporated into student-centered interactive e-learning content there are many benefits including:
  • Convenience, self-paced
  • Promotes knowledge retention
  • Enhances learning experience
If you would like to know more about making impactful eLearning, helping your learners to engage with the content, why not drop us a line at Or visit

Monday, May 15, 2017

Microlearning (eLearning Trends 3 of 5)

Microlearning is a short, focused learning chunk designed to deliver content that will quickly close a skill or knowledge gap. E-Learning that is chunked down to bite-sized learning can be easily consumed and understood by learners.

How do you implement microlearning in your e-learning curriculum?
  1. Break down topics into individual learning goals (terminal objectives)
  2. Create short interactive modules/microcourses
  3. String together microlearning/courses into process
The key to the microlearning approach is the breakdown of required job knowledge into its smallest logical requirements.

Each job role has specific knowledge that is required for proficiency. Once the knowledge requirements for each job role has been defined, a proven instructional design methodology is used to break down the educational material into chunks that contain all information for a specific learning goal, or terminal objective. The resulting chunks of information are now modules or “microcourses”. Each microcourse focuses one small learning goal or terminal objective. This is the lasting useful knowledge that the learner will have acquired after completing the microcourse.
Microcourses become the building blocks and when arranged in sequence or logical groups create a complete training curriculum. The learner launches a training course following the prescribed sequence. Each course presents the material (microcourses) in a logical and progressive order. In addition to ensuring that each and every learning objective is specifically addressed, logical assessments are incorporated into the content with in lesson “check your knowledge” questions and a final assessment to ensure each objective is met. Learners actively participate in the learning process with knowledge verification assessment for each objective.

Additionally, microcourses can be automatically combined and recombined in real-time with other microcourses to form truly unique personal learning paths ( So that learning content is pulled by the learner’s need, instead of being pushed by a static “one-size-fits-all” curriculum. Microcourses add to the flexibility of e-learning access, allowing users to have anytime/anywhere access to learning and even in limited time frames (Please see our previous articles “Closing the Gap”).

The benefit to oil and gas learners
The pace and timing of microlearning activities are important. Adult learners on-the-job need quick access to timely instruction. Breaking down technical topics into small modules with short time requirements enables learning activities to be incorporated into daily routines and tasks. Learners are in control of what and when they’re learning. And the rich media formats in e-learning ensure better learning retention.

PetroSkills RDC Solutions
Our course planning processes follow the extensive quality standards set by IACET. Each series is planned in advance, including the module, the terminal objective, the lesson, lesson topic, graphic asset requirements, evaluation requirements, and source material. Following proven instructional system design principles each topic is distilled into learning modules that work together in sequence to provide effective learning solutions. Our modules facilitate site, unit and job-specific customization to meet the mandated specificity requirements and the unique requirements of each job. Pre-tests, post-tests, and in lesson knowledge checks verify that learning is taking place. For more information on our approach, please visit our website.

Instructional Design Terminology
Microcourse. A microcourse is the smallest reusable learning element and contains all the instructional material to insure proficiency of a specific Terminal Objective. Developed using an accredited instructional system design methodology, it is the foundation building block in creating a learner’s Personal Learning Path.
Lesson. A Lesson is a small unit of learning content designed to transfer knowledge for a single Learning Objective. Each Lesson consists of a combination of multiple learning frames, learner interactions, review questions and learning assets. Lessons covering related material are grouped together in a specific order for presentation to the learner in a microcourse.
Lesson Topic. A lesson topic is a learning component that assists in knowledge transfer at the lesson level. Lesson topics are tied to evaluation requirements, where each topic will be validly and reliably assessed to ensure knowledge transfer occurred.
Terminal Objective. A Terminal Objective is the statement of the learning goal for a Microcourse and represents the lasting useful knowledge that the learner will have acquired after completing a microcourse.
Learning Objective. A Learning Objective (also referred to as an Enabling Objective) is the statement of the learning goal for a Lesson. Together, the combined Learning Objectives for all the microcourse Lessons address the overall Terminal Objective.
Evaluation Requirements. Evaluation requirements are tied to lesson topics. Each topic must be evaluated to ensure that knowledge was transferred, and if not, provide the appropriate remediation.

If you would like to learn more of how PetroSkills can help you - please email

Thursday, April 20, 2017

On the Job Flexibility (eLearning Trends 2 of 5)

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. 

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.

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 Or visit

Monday, April 3, 2017

Learning Pathways (eLearning Trends 1 of 5)

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 eLearning Trends 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