Too many options… Which Online Training do you choose?

Now a days we don’t even meet our co-workers and employees face to face. Everything is done via a computer screen so why would be expect training to go in a different direction. In general, we love rolling out a CBT to a fill requirement on our training matrix so now, in the Covid era, it can become even more popular. At Onward we have always had a healthy disdain for CBT, our history and founder have proven that face to face works best when possible but when you throw in the complications of crew changes, government requirements, tracking of compliance and now social distancing we see more hands-on training moving to its digital counterpart.

What is Computer Based Training and Why do we use it?

Computer based training has been around longer than even some of the newer Oil and Gas companies around the world. It has allowed companies to fill in gaps in their knowledge systems, better equip their staff, and create a workforce with well-rounded and diverse thought. In the Oil and Gas industry, CBT covers topics ranging from Fire Hazard Training to Job Safety Analysis and Drilling 101. Whether the training is provided via software, or via the Web, learners are able to interact with varying types of learning materials through multimedia-enhanced textbooks, tutorials, practice drills, and even micro-world simulations through virtual and augmented reality. So, what is the effects of CBT and is it worth it?

According to survey data and polls with companies around the world, CBT training is viewed as a cost-effective method to train your staff. Whether it’s creating your own custom corporate training program or outsourcing one, in the long run it is deemed to eliminate the need for traditional training methods along with their costs and can be always accessible and capable of accommodating an unlimited number of learners who can tune in form practically anywhere.

As a result of this, CBT training is flexible as it can allow learners to complete their training at their own pace and optimize their learning schedule while focusing on their specific skills gaps. With CBT being standardized, programs are delivered in the same manner and consist of the same content, and employees interact with the same learning material and progress simultaneously which is highly beneficial as long as instructors put their time and effort into keeping their courses updated and efficient.

What are their pitfalls?

                As with all programs and training, CBT receives criticism as it may be difficult to keep up the momentum and attention span of employees in certain long and dragged-out courses. The courses themselves, if not designed well, may not be well-suited to meet the exact training needs. Courses that don’t provide co-learning options mean that there is little to no interaction with other learners as opposed to in person classroom-based training. Many users can also skip-read the course as many courses go through a simple linear process.

Finally, many people learn-by-doing, and CBT courses can be very visual and auditory but do not provide the same hands-on experience that face-to-face training does. However, recent developments that will be mentioned later are beginning to change that and still provide hands-on learning through new technologies. These pros and cons are Universal to most industries, but the next part of this article is going to look at the Oil and Gas industry in particular.

CBT in Oil and Gas

Computer based training in our industry is one that is evolving rapidly, but always subject to great debate and questioning on its efficacy in delivering programs that help bridge gaps, certify needed requirements, and can be adapted to individual firm’s specific needs. Companies such as PetroEd, NeXt, Petrofac, and many others offer a variety of courses that deliver a lot of the positives mentioned above yet the question remains, do all of these options and variety in training adequately equip the modern Oil and Gas workforce with necessary and up-to-date skills?

Some firms offer typical short courses on a variety of topics, these courses are standardized across users and have certificates of completion and are standard presentations and readings with questionnaires and quizzes. As great as these can be, the variety of options make it hard for firms to decide who to go with and even when they do, these programs may not fit each and every learner who needs them.

Firms offer learning centres and AI learning which goes one step further in this. Oil and Gas companies may use these centres and sign their staff onto them where their learning is tracked, key strengths and weaknesses are identified, and learning is adjusted to suit the individual. Although these options are typically more costly, the individualisation of learning and the adaptive nature of the course allows for greater knowledge retention and a higher output.

How to bridge these gaps?

                A major gap that we are finding in our industry lies in the “shopping” for courses and firms and finding the right program for the right training in the right place and time. How do you pick a program that fits the needs of a certain gap in an audit? How will this program be better than the 50 others available? Does the supply at this point in time overweight the demand? These are the main questions we have been working out and trying to answer here at Onward as solving those will allow us and the whole industry to continually build on our skills, learn new ones, and adapt to changes in Oil and Gas regulation and work.

Whatever training is chosen it needs to fit with the management system and the goals of your taking into account not only government requirements but also incident trends within your organisation and the industry you are in. If you currently have a CBT in an area that incident rates are increasing maybe it time to switch up the training, or perhaps its not currently addressing the areas adequately. organisation. At Onward we help build and tailor management systems and training programs.

Finding the right program, from the right people, in a deliverable and interactive way will bridge any gap in any firm’s systems and knowledge and collectively allow our industry to be even stronger, smarter, and safer whilst boosting our already knowledgeable workforce as we are heading into the next 10-20 years of change in technology, regulation, and industry.

The future of CBT

The future of CBT training looks very bright with the implementation of sophisticated Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. This, combined with developments in Virtual Reality and Augmented reality could soon see the bridge between hands-on and computer-based training built where individuals can receive top quality learning from their offices and homes while working in real life simulated scenarios. Companies such as the 3T energy group are designing and implementing software and technologies that will redefine what it means to train and use all of your senses to skills to learn more efficiently and effectively. Whether this means that it will be used universally, that is to be seen but one thing is for certain, there is a lot of work to be done and a lot of technology for us to get used to.

One of the biggest mistakes we make with all training is failing to take feedback and advice from the people we are trying to teach. When Onward designs training programmes we often start by asking the end user which training method they believe would be the most effective. Usually, the most effective is usually the also the cost effective in the long run. For more information about what we do here at Onward, reach out to use on our contact page or have a look at our page here.