Technical Master Class: A New Approach to Knowledge Transfer
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 150 - 153
- 2013. International Petroleum Technology Conference
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 53 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper IPTC 16752, "Technical Master Class: A New Approach to Knowledge Transfer," by Crystal Gully, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, prepared for the 2013 International Petroleum Technology Conference, Beijing, 26-28 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Technical master classes (TMCs) are a new training concept designed to accelerate building expertise among geoscience, engineering, and commercial professionals. The ExxonMobil TMC concept emphasizes transferring knowledge from experts to practitioners through a training process that blends mentoring and traditional technical training. Rather than teaching only the factual knowledge and technical concepts that dominate traditional classes, the master-class learning experience simulates real technical situations so that experts can coach practitioners through the complexities of an issue.
In 2008, ExxonMobil’s executive leadership team challenged its upstream organization to address imminent knowledge and experience gaps in its technical workforce resulting from severe demographic shifts that threatened the entire petroleum industry. With the guidance of internal and external experts, a framework of solutions was proposed, aimed at accelerating the transfer of collective experience within the upstream organization. A project team was formed, and the concept of a TMC was piloted, revised, and implemented.
The goal of the master-class project was to develop a training format that could effectively share experts’ unique knowledge and ways of approaching complex problems. This is a difficult objective because of the very nature of expertise. Intuition and know-how are difficult to articulate and even more difficult to teach in a training classroom. In comparison, traditional technical-training classes teach explicit knowledge: information and processes that have been identified, articulated, and captured in a way that is transferable in print and lecture.
A challenge the development team faced was verifying the value proposition of the master-class concept. Unlike other initiatives in the framework that affected a majority of the upstream workforce, the TMC concept targeted a relatively small portion of the upstream population. The TMCs focused on practitioners that showed potential for becoming the next technical experts. This is a much smaller population compared with that of other technical training programs that target all 1- to 5-year employees, or all midcareer employees. After piloting the training concept for more than a year, however, the development team collected enough data to verify the value of the TMC concept in more ways than were originally expected.
|File Size||93 KB||Number of Pages||3|