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“Distance Learning,” “e-Learning,” “Blended Learning,” “CBT…” As the world becomes more technologically advanced, changes have occurred that influence the way in which we learn. Prestigious universities around the world have embraced a distance learning curriculum in order to adapt to a 21st century lifestyle. As people continue to pursue both professional and personal development, taking time out to attend a classroom is not always convenient. With the introduction of iPads, Smartphones and tablets, we have become a mobile generation who has created a need to stay connected to the world in our social lives, branching out beyond simply making the occasional phone call or email from your phone; to reconnecting with past friends via social networking streams.

The migration towards adaptive teaching has also spilled over into the Oil and Gas Industry which suffers even more time constraints with every day of offshore operations costing thousands of dollars. From conducting Video Conferences in board rooms; to the delivery of the Minimum Industry Safety Training, this idea of staying connected has resulted in the entire Oil and Gas industry making significant adjustments to the working environment. This creates the ideal environment to learn from both, experienced personnel / mentors and an online resource of information, creating an on-the-job style of training that delves deeper and remains more consistent in its delivery.

ADC VIRTUAL ACADEMY is an online training environment for the Oil and Gas industry, providing over 80 specific training modules within 5 dedicated subject areas. All of which are focused around ADC’s core Rig Inspection business. Regarded as one of the leading experts on BOP, Drilling Equipment and Dropped Object Management; ADC have a wealth of knowledge to pass on to the industry. When you consider that ADC’s Principal Engineers started their careers back in the 70’s when the North Sea Oil-Boom occurred, they have built upon decades of experience as drill crew, Toolpushers, Ops Managers and Drilling Engineers. As the “Big Crew Change,” begins to take place and skills shortages are being realised, it becomes increasingly important to train a less experienced workforce quickly and safely. In a report produced in 2009, CIPD stated that “Recent years have witnessed a huge increase in the use of social media and interactive media: at the heart of such change are now new opportunities for collaboration, co-creation and sharing of content and enhanced communication.” (CIPD, 2009)

Written, developed and managed by experienced engineers, the learning is purposely built to deliver maximum understanding. The Academy's primary goal is to enable candidates to become competent at their job through gaining a strong understanding, learning as though an old pro was alongside and imparting real knowledge and experience to fully equip the next generation of industry professional. The Virtual Academy can be regarded as the experienced OIM onboard the rig who has the time to coach the ever developing drill crew. In the 2013 survey conducted by CIPD around the effectiveness of e-learning, one conclusion that was drawn identified that “In the majority of organisations, e-learning is perceived to be an effective method of supporting learning in the organisation… The vast majority believe e-learning is more effective when combined with other types of learning.” (CIPD, 2013)

Being fully accredited by the SQA and IWCF, the single most important benefit of the training is that it’s online, allowing not only access 24/7 anywhere in the world there is a broadband connection, but enabling training to be truly flexible, able to fit the busiest of candidate schedules.

ADC can now offer an internationally recognised customised qualification in Understanding Rig Inspection, an online course which delivers an understanding of commonly used drilling equipment, the fundamentals of well control plus the comprehension and management of dropped objects. The "Understanding Rig Inspection" qualification, developed by Aberdeen Drilling Consultants, is a Customised Award certificated and quality assured by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), Scotland's national awarding body. This is the first e-learning Customised Award to be credit rated on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) by SQA.

The Customised Award has been formally confirmed at SCQF Level 6 with 7 credit points. This award is comparable to other Level 6 qualifications including a number of Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) and some Professional Development Awards (PDAs). The ability to offer an internationally recognised customised qualification allows ADC to apply more validity to the Virtual Academy training.

In a study conducted by the Guardian in collaboration with the Open University where 2,000 adults were asked about their experiences of higher education and their attitudes to online study, it was identified that when asked about developing their own skills, “39% of those who have spent time developing their own skills have done so online.” Of those who were asked, “45% say they would only do an online course if it led to an official certificate.” (, 2014)

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