IADC WellSharp Plus®

An integration of human factors (crew resource management) into technical well control training for experienced drilling personnel. Incorporates a facilitated-learning approach to improve critical thinking, knowledge retention, and knowledge transfer/application.

About the Program

Goals of this new model of delivering well control training are to:

  • Reduce the potential for human error
  • Address the more complex, less common well control scenarios
  • Improve critical thinking (problem-solving) skills
  • Improve knowledge retention and transfer
  • Contribute to personnel competence during drilling operations

WellSharp Plus encourages participation among multiple levels of decision makers, including drillers, toolpushers, drilling superintendents, operations engineers, rig superintendents, rig managers, and other qualified personnel.

The format for a WellSharp Plus course comprises problem-solving through teamwork in which the participants fulfill the different the roles needed to make up a rig crew:  driller, assistance driller, supervisor (toolpusher, company man), and other positions. The course uses case studies and simulation to deliver content and to provide the instructors with an opportunity to observe and assess the human factors and technical skills in order to guide a debriefing session following each case study.

Participants must have taken and passed an “upper-level” WellSharp® course in the previous 2 years and then must meet a higher standard in passing the WellSharp exam immediately before beginning the course. The fundamentals of well control are an essential prerequisite for WellSharp Plus because the technical content comprises only the more complex well control scenarios.

Quick Links

Program Applicants

Download the Intent to Apply form (PDF format) to begin the accreditation application process


Register for the IADC Facilitator & Human Factors (Train-the-Trainer) courses


Beginning in 2017, a workgroup comprising course designers, human factors experts, and other stakeholders in the upstream O&G worked together to develop the human factors curriculum, program and course requirements, and a new “train-the-trainer” course for human factors instructors.

As part of their program-development process, the workgroup reviewed the human factors training and best practices from NASA, the US military, and from the airline, nuclear, and healthcare industries. They also considered ongoing efforts at organizations in the O&G industry, such as IOGP, SPE, API, and OESI. These organizations and others have been working to better understand the human element within the operational context, the causes of human error during drilling operations, and the nontechnical knowledge and skills required for maintaining safe, efficient operations.

How to Apply

Download and complete the Intent to Apply form and email to wellsharp@iadc.org.

You are eligible to apply to offer WellSharp Plus as an alternative for any of the following courses for which you are WellSharp-accredited:

  • Drilling Operations Driller course
  • Drilling Operations Supervisor course
  • Well Servicing Equipment Operator courses
  • Well Servicing Oil & Gas Operator Representative course

Once your Intent to Apply form is received, a link and password will be emailed to you, so you can access the proprietary documents and forms you will need to build your program.

What Are Human Factors?

Human Factors are the concepts comprising the relationship between humans and their work rules/processes, environment, equipment, and co-workers.

Human Factors is also considered the scientific discipline that studies the physical, cognitive, and social characteristics that affect human performance.

Human Factors is often considered the “umbrella” term comprising all aspects of the human in his or her work environment, such as crew resource management (CRM), human performance, ergonomics, and human-machine interface (HMI).

The following six general topics are included in IADC’s Human Factors Curriculum:

  • Situation Awareness
  • Decision-Making
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Factors that Affect Human Performance (e.g., distraction, fatigue)

How is WellSharp Plus Different?

WellSharp Plus is different from WellSharp in the following high-level ways:

  • The Plus course integrates specific human factors, or crew resource management (CRM), content with the technical content.
  • Technical content comprises the complex, low-probability but high-impact well control scenarios.
  • Participants work in teams to solve problems they encounter during case studies.
  • Although (like WellSharp) the courses are required to be position-specific, rig crews may take a course as a unit, combining roles in a course (e.g., drillers or equipment operators taking a course alongside personnel in a supervisory role).
  • Course content is required to be delivered through facilitated learning methods (e.g., rather than through lecture and PPT slides).
  • Participants are required to be experienced drilling personnel who meet the following additional prerequisites:
    • Have previously earned a WellSharp certificate at level 3 or 4 (e.g., Driller, Supervisor, Equipment Operator, Wellsite Leader).
    • Have passed the appropriate WellSharp exam with a score of at least 80% within no more than 90 days before the beginning of the Plus

What is Facilitated Learning?

To maximize learning and knowledge retention, WellSharp Plus instructors are required to deliver course content through a Facilitated Learning methodology. Therefore, to quality for approval as a WellSharp Plus instructor, they must successfully complete a two-part “train-the-trainer” course: a 3-day Facilitator course and a 2-day Human Factors course. The course provides them with the tools to facilitate learning, using the experiential-learning model, adult learning principles, strategies that appeal to different learning styles, and strategies for delivering and assessing the human factors content.

Facilitated learning methods have been proven to maximize learning by exploiting the human brain’s natural process of learning through experiences, which involves the learner interacting with the subject and then “debriefing”—reflecting on and drawing conclusions about the subject through a guided discussion. During this process, the instructor is the “guide” rather than the “lecturer.” The instructor observes the activity and discussions and then, as needed, asks open-ended questions to guide the learners. The content of the learning can be delivered in a multitude of ways that rarely involve traditional lecture. Studies show that traditional lecture is the least effective way of learning new content.

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