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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Interview with Braulio Perdigao, Petrolessons: Innovators in E-Learning Series

With the "great crew change" accelerated by the oil and gas downturn, knowledge transfer is more important than ever. Welcome to an interview with Braulio Perdigao, PMP, CEO/Founder of - the first knowledge marketplace dedicated to the oil and gas industry.

What is your background? What are your areas of experience?
I'm Brazilian and I've been in Houston for 15+ years. I have experiences in multiple industries:  over 7 years of experience in oil and gas, 6 of those at Petrobras, after that I also did communications and change management consulting for Exxon, Hess and BP.

I stay pretty busy, I'm the CEO/Founder of I'm also the chairman of Oil and Gas Entrepreneurs organization, we are over 460 members working on innovations for the oil and gas. In addition, I'm a member of the Change Management Association Professionals, Association for Talent Development and I'm a Project Management Professional (PMP).

Video Interview with Braulio Perdigao on LifeEDGE

About me and my experience that is relevant to this topic:
I came to the US in 2000 to go to school and ended up staying, I graduated from the University of Houston Downtown in Interdisciplinary Studies - that shows my multi disciplinary interest and experiences - Some will say I am ADD, I think I am just curious and ambitious and could never be in a box. I wanted to experience a little bit of everything. In my coursework I included everything from language development, business, psychology, education, legal, marketing, design - yes it took me 7 years to graduate! I've worked in education, travel industry, logistics, web marketing, creative project management, video/photo production and finally several roles in oil and gas (communications, risk, change management mainly).

Braulio Perdigao, PMP, Petrolessons
To be honest, I never really thought I would work in oil and gas, my relationship with the industry was basically filling up my car and watching accidents and explosions in the news. But I was very lucky to be recruited in 2008 to be part of a PMO working for a major project in the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, when I accepted that offer, I was afraid that oil and gas would not be creative enough for me, I was completely wrong!

In that role, I was in charge of project communications, risk management and change management mainly (although I wore many hats). I was running countless workshops, project annual events, and one of the coolest projects was to produce a film documentary of our project which was a breakthrough project in the gulf (first FPSO in US gulf and at the time the deepest E&P project in GoM) we were exploring in unknown territory the Lower tertiary, so there were always a lot of that suspense of a new discovery. Well, doing communications for the project allowed me to get out of the office and really see and gain a tremendous appreciation for the industry. I was talking to leadership, engineers, going to vendors, going offshore, hanging from helicopters. It was by far the best experience of my life.

There are SOOOO many smart people and such a dynamic, complex, creative industry, and so many variables and so much risk it really blew my mind. I dare to say it is the most complex and dynamic industry. Most projects in O&G starts in the billions, take hundreds of companies to come together from around the world, it takes years and years to breakeven IF they are lucky because there are so many variables. So as a result and as I developed communications materials I was seeing how productivity and excitement in the office increased because now people could see what they were working on. I also thought how unjust the media and public perception was around oil and gas. So the initial idea was to create a portal like TED talks to oil and gas. I'm addicted to TED Talks by the way. I was still working for Petrobras at the time and developing the idea, doing research, interviewing people and working on Petrolessons in my off time.

The problem we are solving:
After a while I noticed the common thread around training, skills gap which in oil and gas is called The Big Crew Change. There is so much project intelligence that is lost, over 4MM professionals leaving the industry in the next 5 years and over 1.8MM coming in and there is a huge gap here. The knowledge gap in O&G is due to a hiring freeze between the 80's and early 2000's, and it represents a MAJOR challenge for the industry. Other factors: O&G projects count and depend on these expert engineers to are like birds migrating from one project to the next so a lot of project intelligence is lost and it costs a LOT of money. And now that the industry is in crisis, we just lost over 100K people that were laid off or got early retirement packages. So that knowledge gap is becoming wider and wider! It's estimated that it impacts 30% of projects worldwide, so that represents over 3 trillion in costs!

The solution:
Well, putting my background together, with advancements in technology, how easy it's become to produce video, the whole movement of MOOCs etc Petrolessons became a knowledge marketplace, so it's now an innovative platform with a B2C and a B2B offering. The B2C is a global platform available on that allows any professionals with experience in oil and gas, associations, training centers and universities to share their knowledge, build a reputation and make $. We aggregate and curate oil and gas knowledge from around the world. The goal is to be the number one platform for oil and gas knowledge online. At least 90% of each course is video based, they can include quiz and other interactive elements. They are mobile friendly so people can access courses on the go with a 12 month access window. We are working on a native app where people will be able to access courses even without wifi. Content owners make 70% of net revenue from sales of their courses. Even if they have other platforms they are publishing we can be an added channel and revenue stream as long as it's relevant to O&G industry. As for topics of courses think engineering, geology, subsea, facilities, wells, refinery, safety courses, but also think project management, business skills, cyber security,trading, leadership, HR, Supply chain, IT, finance, logistics, language, culture...all of these are very relevant. Because it takes a lot of parts to support the industry.

Since launching in Dec 2014, I've been focusing on building a library of courses that are relevant for O&G. I'm working with over 60 instructors from around the world, and several colleges and associations. And we have over 40 courses in post production now.There are over 150 people signed up representing all major oil and gas companies and service companies and this is very organic, I haven't really done much marketing yet since my focus now has been to build the library of courses.

What do you see as potential for companies?
The B2B offering is a private label version of the platform offered as a SaaS model to oil and gas operators and service companies where they can now capture internal knowledge create video courses and disperse to their workforce, they can also drag and distribute courses from the global platform. We can offer just the platform or offer a turnkey solution with our partners to identify gaps, build strategy and create courses. If companies are spending at least 1 million dollars in training we can generally save them 50% of training costs and do it 60% faster.

What are some opportunities for people who would like to share their experience?
Shout out to all Subject Matter Experts: many of you have been laid off and this is a great opportunity for you! Also associations and colleges, share your content beyond your members! There are so much knowledge that is silo'd and doesn't get enough exposure. Further, there are many people around the world who do not have knowledge readily available. Let's bridge the knowledge gap!  By going to you can start the process of publishing your course on Petrolessons and we help you in every step of the way. We help people DIY their courses or we are happy to partner and refer media houses to help create video content.

There are tons of bells and whistles to this platform that makes is super unique and relevant to the oil and gas industry.

I'm looking for content owners, experienced professionals to publish their own courses on Petrolessons and pilot companies for our B2B offering. Instructional designers, consulting firms working on this space as well as media houses should get in touch and see how we can work together.

For example, we are helping promote some of AAPG's e-symposia to help people learn about some of the resources that AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) has available.

Do you see potential with STEM education?
I'm in talks with organizations that are working on STEM education so we can partner to share Oil and Gas knowledge and help folks appreciate the industry that is the source of everything we know today.

The mission and ambition is big! I think we can change the world by changing how training is done. Oil and Gas gives origin to most of the things that touches our lives today. From technology to food, living, transportation etc. Ultimately by helping companies produce oil more efficiently, less costly will help them lower costs of the supply chain, make operations safer, and everything down the supply chain will be optimized.
URL: and (this last one is for content owners who want to publish their video courses on
Media links:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Infographics as Working Memory Boosters & Engagers for Learning

Infographics can serve a unique purpose in an online course or training program in that they both engage learners and provide a very handy mnemonic which assists in the storing and retrieving of information.

Infographics are easily incorporated into courses, and can be deployed via social media and within learning management systems. Further, it is a simple process to store your infographic in a cloud-based repository such as SlideShare ( which allows links, embeds to an easily downloaded pdf, along with allowing you to share accompanying notes and information.

For an audio recording, click here.

Here are two examples which were used for the petroleum industry, where it is often challenging to communicate information cogently and without clutter.

Geology vs Engineering Reservoir Realities
 4 Considerations for Mature Fields

Working Memory and Infographics
Baddeley and Hitch (1974) described the mechanism used by short-term memory as a process they denoted as “working memory.” In their view, working memory is a process driven by the “central executive” which collects, temporarily stores, and directs data to the cognitive subsystems of the a) visuo-spatial sketch pad, and the b) phonological loop.

As a highly visual artifact with engaging and unique organization of visual information, an infographic is an ideal tool for facilitating the smooth functioning of working memory.

The central executive can easily incorporate a well-designed infographic in the visuo-spatial sketch pad, which is, in essence, the inner eye.  The visual spatial sketch pad not only functions in the retrieval process, it also is used in navigation – in locating spatially where information might be.

The central executive takes and replaces information in the visuo-spatial sketch pad, and then relates it to long-term memory. The central executive can move material back from long-term memory to working memory, so the infographic can be used not only to store new information, but as a memory-trigger to retrieve information from long-term memory.

Baddeley emphasized that the central executive also functions as a system to keep attentional processes engaged, and to continually organize and prioritize (McLeod, 2012). It can also relate processes together, so that a infographic that is primarily attached to the visuo-spatial sketch pad, also can be related to the phonological loop processes.

Guidelines for Developing Infographics for Working Memory

1.  Keep your information tied to one or two categories 
2.  Use a clear color scheme
3.  Avoid clutter
4.  Maintain a minimal main message
5.  Connect / refer to details (don’t include all the details in the infographic)
6.  Use colors, white space, lively design
7.  Use phone, tablet, and laptop-friendly hosting / delivery
8.  Make your infographic multi-purpose, reusable
9.  Encourage sharing / comments / collaboration

Tools for Building Infographics
Infographics were originally designed almost exclusively by graphic designers, but now there are a number of free and premium services that provide cloud-based services that include professionally designed templates which utilize unique graphics, layouts, and fonts.

Examples include:

Canva ( Templates and unique fonts / images for infographics and presentations.

Piktochart ( Templates, images for infographics, reports, presentations

PicMonkey ( Photo-editing that also includes a number of unique fonts, images, and clip art, and easy creation of collages that can also be designed as infographics

Final Thoughts
Infographics can be very practical as well as engaging and fun. For example, if you save them as a pdf files and print them out, you may use the infographics as a point of departure for an impromptu mind map.

The key is to design with an eye to inspiring and triggering thoughts – about the present, past knowledge, and collaborations. Used well, infographics can be an effective tool for deep learning.


Baddeley, A. D., & Hitch, G. (1974). Working memory. In G.H. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory (Vol. 8, pp. 47–89). New York: Academic Press.

Baddeley, A. D., & Lieberman, K. (1980). Spatial working memory. ln R. Nickerson. Attention and Performance, VIII. Hillsdale, N): Erlbaum.

McLeod, S. A. (2012). Working Memory. Retrieved from

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Interview with Rajeev PS, Blobeo: Innovators in E-Learning Series

Making effective, collaborative expert instruction and mentoring readily available is an ongoing challenge. Welcome to an interview with Rajeev PS of Blobeo, a new entity dedicated to facilitating the process of bringing together industry practitioners and those seeking practical knowledge.

1.    What is your name and your relation to eLearning?

My name is Rajeev PS and the Co-Founder of Blobeo.

I began my career in software and have progressed a lot. During my journey, I attended various trainings to acquire new skills, I learned many skills with help of my mentors and I have been a mentor to various developers as well. Of my entire career, I have noticed that my learning was effective when it was with a mentor than online reading or online videos or attending training. I heard the same thing loud from my mentees as well.  Then I took a step back and analyzed and found that there are two major reasons why this was the only effective way.

a)    One was because the online reading and videos were not interactive and didn’t hold my attention for long
b)    The other key reason is because my mentors were real practitioners where as the trainers in most of the cases were only teachers but not practitioners.

So I realized that my learning would have been quicker and effective if it was from a real practitioner who can offer me an interactive course. I wanted the same thing to happen to billions of people in my situation and up-skill themselves effectively. That idea motivated me to co-found Blobeo.

   Blobeo is built just with the vision to help every one learn a new skill or up-skill themselves effectively.

2.    What are some of the problems that need to be overcome in eLearning right now?

The traditional eLearning gained momentum primarily with its on-demand and self-paced nature, anywhere- anytime flexibility and its very low cost.  However, this poses the key questions:

1.    How many of them who register for eLearning courses really get to complete it – not more than 10%
2.    How effective is the learning experience? – Not really, as it is not interactive and engaging
3.    How much value I am getting? – Very minimal as the courses are more theoretical in nature and more of a canned content which is prepared to fit a variety of learner segments and interests
4.    Is it better to hear some real experiences from an expert/practitioner? - Makes a lot of sense as most of them are looking to apply the learning in their real life situations at work
5.    Is the quality of instructors being considered seriously? – Very limited visibility about instructors and in many cases it is not very significant as there is not any personal interaction

The next wave of online learning is starting with a mission of addressing the above concerns and Blobeo is founded to lead this change.

3.    What is Blobeo? What does it look like? How does it work?

Blobeo is a market place for learners to connect with instructors who offer interactive live online courses. This is a platform to learn from a verified expert who is an industry practitioner in his or her own area of specialization. No matter your age or profession, Blobeo provides a powerful open online eLearning environment for you to learn.

Any individual can design and offer a course on Blobeo, provided their qualification and experience in the subject can be verified. Blobeo's intelligent profile verification uses LinkedIn and other social platforms to validate an instructor.

If you love to share a piece of your wisdom, this open platform enables you to uncover your hidden tutoring talent and make it as a key income source. You will also connect with enthusiasts in your profession and outside, thereby building your personal brand.

Blobeo is more than teaching or learning online, it also establishes a ‘connect’. It is a blob for your future - next dream job, research programs, career guidance, homework support, technology advisory or even start-up mentoring.

4.    What is the ultimate goal?

Blobeo is established with a vision to take the online learning to the next level to make it more engaging, effective, serious and thereby meaningful.  With Blobeo, we will shift the eLearning to outcome-oriented and value-based learning.

5.    What makes Blobeo different?  How can it beat the competition? 

a.    Blobeo will focus on online live interactive courses than the traditional recorded eLearning classes
b.    Unlike the traditional eLearning marketplaces where wisdom is “sold”, Blobeo will help establish a connect between the learner and his instructor where the wisdom is shared and not repeatedly “sold”
c.    Blobeo will bring more discipline to the learning process by combining the benefits of traditional eLearning like flexibility and availability with lively, interactive and engaged learning

6.    Why not just use Skype for personalized tutoring and/or live coaching? Why does one need an LMS?

Skype or a similar tool is only a technology enabler for the learning process while Blobeo will take you through the 360-degree aspects of any individual’s learning process.

Blobeo will also have a robust technology platform for live audio, video, content sharing, collaboration and even recording.

7.    How do you assure quality?  How can you utilize social media?

The key aspect of an eLearning marketplace is the quality of the instructors and the courses they teach. Blobeo’s primary focus is to ensure quality. Blobeo’s intelligent profile verification uses LinkedIn and various other social media platforms to validate an instructor and also his expertise in the area where he or she is offering the course. In addition to this, there will be a 360-degree review and feedback mechanism to consistently monitor and improve the performance of the instructors and quality of the courses.

8.    What are your plans for the future?

Blobeo is built just with the vision to help every one learn a new skill or up-skill themselves effectively. The key aspect of our future plan is to facilitate connecting the desire with knowledge across the boundaries. We realize that each region/country is rich in wisdom and expertise in certain unique areas. There is a great opportunity to facilitate a greater collaboration in the education and up-skilling, which will benefit a larger population, and for better humankind

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