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Oil Spill Response futureproofed its training with a comprehensive blended learning programme

Oil Spill Response is the leading company for oil spill disaster management around the world; they began 30 years ago and are now based in 8 different locations around the globe.

The Challenge

A member funded organisation, Oil Spill Response now have the backing of over 140 oil and gas majors including their founding members, BP. With this extensive growth Oil Spill Response identified a growing need to digitise their training approach in order to reach learners around the world in a cost-effective way, as well as globally standardise the L&D they offer.

Oil Spill Response sought to introduce e-learning as part of a blended programme to futureproof it’s classroom-based training, aiming to save time and costs spent on sending trainers around the world to deliver classroom training on compliance subjects.
‘Anti-Bribery’ and ‘Corruption’ were the first e-learning modules to be introduced and Oil Spill Response soon realised they required a LMS to store and deliver this training to employees around the world.

Oil Spill Response LMS

The Solution

Desiree Westdorp, L&D Coordinator at Oil Spill Response, had previous experience with Moodle so was drawn to the easy to use and scalable nature of the Totara's learning management system, Totara Learn. As this was their first LMS they needed a learning platform that was highly customisable, ensuring it could be leveraged for both internal and external use. Totara Learn met their needs, with its flexibility and powerful functionality allowing the organisation to customise the LMS to their exact, specific needs. Desiree Westdorp comments.

“We didn’t know what to anticipate, but with the support of Learning Pool the process has been absolutely seamless, and we didn’t even have any teething problems, which was great.”

Two audiences, one learning management system

Oil Spill Response’s solution encompasses both internal and external versions of Totara Learn for their staff and their external oil and gas members. Different, customisable themes were used to create two alternative experiences for individual audiences, essentially two portals on one LMS:

  • An internal theme of Totara Learn (LMS), which is much more visual and engaging, focused on supporting Oil Spill employees
  • A contrasting theme for their external members, which takes a more corporate and professional look and feel

This multi theme approach ensures that the training and resources delivered through Totara Learn are targeted to the appropriate audience, and don’t miss their mark.

The learning platform allows Oil Spill Response to easily and cost-effectively deliver and standardise the quality of training around the world. It’s used to manage the administrative side of learner management as well as organise all learning activity including classroom bookings and online training.

This feeds into their performance management and appraisals tracking process which has also been modernised and now carried out using Totara Learn. Desiree Westdorp comments on Totara's LMS:

“Totara Learn has been instrumental for making our training delivery easy and directed at our industry. Internally it’s exactly how we wanted it!”

Incorporating social learning

Oil Spill Response have successfully incorporated an aspect of social learning into their blended approach using Totara Learn; they have launched a social forum where external delegates have the opportunity to connect with each other before and after their classroom training courses.

They are able to meet their trainer online to exchange goals and establish their learning needs for the course before it even starts. Then post face-to-face training the social forum will stay open giving delegates and trainers the opportunity to stay in conversation and support each other for longer.

For Oil Spill’s external members, this has been critical to the success of their training, allowing them to share with peers and share ideas and gain support. This has been highly successful, with many users mentioning it as a highlight of their training experience.

Interactive e-learning with offline access

To support their new LMS, Learning Pool teamed up with Oil Spill Response to develop a few e-learning modules including their Marine Operators course, which was transformed into interactive e-learning.

With many learners based around the world spending significant amounts of time out at sea on oil rigs, constant internet connectivity is not always guaranteed for these vital training courses. Learning Pool took an innovative approach and ensured offline access to learning, allowing learners to download the e-learning content straight onto their desktop or iPad and take the training offshore without connectivity.

Once the learner has completed their course offline, their progress is stored locally on their device until they are next online, which is when their progress is immediately synchronised with Totara's LMS.

This has been a unique solution for Oil Spills oil rig workers, as they are able to continue accessing training whenever they need it.

Results and return on investment

Both the e-learning and LMS have been very well received by staff and members of Oil Spill Response. As an organisation, they have now developed a real culture of online learning.

This is driven by the feedback from learners and high success and pass rates generated from the e-learning; reaching over 300 completions as well as gaining a net promoter score of 98%. Andrew Couch, Training and Development Officer at Oil Spill Response comments:

“People are excited about the fact we now have online training. Our users are really keen to use it, as some of the mandatory learning we offer can be quite a chore for some learners, but with e-learning it’s really memorable and truly engages our learners.”

Going digital has transformed training at Oil Spill, allowing them to make significant efficiencies and savings of over £400,000 off its original training budget, by delivering some of their training virtually through Totara Learn, rather than carrying out traditional methods of classroom training on a global scale. The collaborative working approach has ensured a seamless project generating great results, Andrew Couch states:

“Emma and Megan were fantastic at understanding what our needs were. I’d absolutely go back and work with Learning Pool any day.”

Looking to the future, Oil Spill Response plan to leverage their blended programme to deliver multiple courses through different mediums such as e-learning, webinars, social forums and face-to-face training. Totara Learn allows the organisation to offer a far more varied and engaging approach to training globally.