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Technical Master Class: A New Approach to Knowledge Transfer

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.

Introduction

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.

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 The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2013 International Petroleum Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
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Technical Master Class: A New Approach to Knowledge Transfer

01 October 2013

Volume: 65 | Issue: 10

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