Technical master classes are a new training concept designed to accelerate building expertise among geoscience, engineering and commercial professionals. The ExxonMobil master class concept emphasizes transferring knowledge and thinking processes from experts to practitioners through a training process that is a blend of mentoring and traditional technical training. Rather than only teaching factual knowledge and technical concepts which dominate traditional technical training classes, the master class learning experience simulates real technical situations so that the experts can coach practitioners’ thinking through the complexities of an issue. The master class concept, derived from the visual and performing arts, is different from traditional technical training experiences in several key areas. The classes are small, intimate sessions with one to two experts, one discussion facilitator and six to ten participants. The session duration for a typical master class is one to two days in length, and utilizes scenario-based learning. Participants are immersed in practice and application as they apply their technical knowledge by making judgment calls in challenging technical-business situations. New learning takes place as experts question and challenge participants’ thinking, guiding them to approach technical problem solving from new and unique perspectives. Participants gain valuable insight from the experts and leave sessions with additional experience in their repertoire that can immediately be applied on the job. Benefits of master classes include the application of knowledge-transfer, wisdom-sharing, and communication skills in the workplace, such as questioning, thinking aloud, probing, and networking. Based on a series of successful pilots, technical master classes are now being implemented as a formal training solution to sharing expertise across the Upstream business. Classes are developed to close significant business experience/skill gaps, providing just-in-time sharing of experts’ knowledge and experience, through immersive practice that are relevant to mid-career development. Diverse class topics range from managing sensitive environments to advanced construction management to hydrocarbon systems.


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