The oil industry is highly cyclical and this has consequences for how companies must handle their personnel requirements. This employment pattern naturally results in high employee turnover, so learning and development courses are primarily focused on practical, on-the-job performance.
Managing the up or downswing in market activities while providing effective learning solutions presents certain challenges for L&D teams in the industry. It often doesn’t make sense to invest in an expensive training facility or a large team.
Instead, many focus on On-the-Job Learning (OJL) opportunities and the availability of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) within the organization to contribute to training course development.
Of course, relying heavily on SMEs comes with its own set of unique challenges.
This is the situation BJ Services, a large pure-play pressure pumping service provider, found themselves in not too long ago. Felix Soepyan has worked in the oilfield industry for over 34 years, experience which has proven invaluable in his most recent challenge in Learning and Knowledge Management at BJ Services.
The Challenge: Collaborating with SMEs
One of Felix’s key objectives was to find a way to make the process of creating training courses with SMEs easier for both parties:
“We were on the lookout for tools available to help us build courses as quickly as possible.”
Felix and his colleagues were using complex instructional design tools to design training courses. They had looked into their previous experiences and what was considered ‘normal’ practice, but there are fundamental differences between how companies operate. BJ Services works exclusively in on-shore drilling in North America, so they needed to find a way to adapt content to the unique quirks of their own environment. Felix was fighting complex authoring tools and demanding SME schedules in the battle to scale training design.
“We were using Adobe InDesign and Illustrator for content generation; however, you need to spend time learning it. A lot of people don’t have the ability, the patience, or the time to learn how to use software like that easily. We wanted to find a tool that we can use easily, that is very user- friendly and accessible to everybody, and doesn’t require a lot of training.”
And find it they did. In just a few short months, Felix has managed to completely shift the way learning solutions are created at BJ Services.
The Results: Higher Quality Training and Faster Turnaround
Since the implementation of new technology, Felix has seen a vast improvement in the turnaround times for training development projects.
“If we want to create training material fast we can do it very quickly and post it to our LMS. We’re talking days instead of weeks compared to when you do it conventionally.”
There are also plans to convert a five-day instructor-led course into online training – a process that was daunting to undertake previously.
These are just a few examples of how BJ Services has managed to achieve training creation with rapid turnaround times and easier collaboration with SMEs. From painstakingly editing PDFs in the learning department, to quick and easy course design by SMEs, there has been a shift in how learning is created in BJ Services.
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