Skillsoft Blog

Learning Leaders in Action: a U.S. Federal Agency features “Course of the Month”

By Randy Ranaudo

Skillsoft has many long-term relationships with U.S. Federal agencies. One of these Federal agencies wanted to bring a structured professional development program to their learners across the country in a creative way utilizing technology, various learning modalities and resources, and live instruction and collaboration to create an engaging, interactive and valuable experience.

Each month for the past four years, they’ve identified a critical organizational topic and then find a Skillsoft online course with that focus. At that point, they broadcast nationally the “Course of the Month” (COTM) which is open to all learners, at all levels, in any location. Learners go online to take the course, and then a few weeks later participate in a live webinar to discuss the key takeaways and how they apply to their organization, office, department, or to them as individuals. In addition, they use supporting Books24x7 books, chapters, summaries, and videos as further supporting resources about that topic or skill during the webinar. After the webinar, the presentation and list of supporting Skillsoft and Books24x7 resources is shared with participants and posted for others who are interested in that topic.

When the COTM program began, the agency and Skillsoft together identified pertinent topics. Then, they focused on a course and online books from Books24x7 that aligned with the topic and would give learners a broader exposure and understanding of the topic, as well as ways to apply the knowledge on the job. Now that the program has been established and is part of the agency’s learning landscape, the agency generally identifies appropriate Skillsoft resources independently. However, during the regular strategy and brainstorming sessions that are held every other week, the agency and Skillsoft team members discuss various learning trends and organizational needs for future COTM sessions, and Skillsoft provides recommended resources.

The COTM is advertised through email and internal learning and development sites within the agency. Last year, their Chief Learning Officer, (CLO) with their in-house graphics team,  created a four-minute video that played on their intranet learning site showing the CLO in a café ordering Skillsoft courses and Books24x7 books and videos from a menu, declaring that there’s something for everyone – from small bites of learning to full meals!

The value to this agency is multifaceted. They’re able to be inclusive with people in remote sites. It provides people an opportunity to interact and learn from others that have different professional levels, roles, and experience. It’s a small investment of time with no investment in travel expenses. Though it’s not a mandatory program, many participants regularly take each course and attend each month’s Course of the Month webinar. The program is endorsed by the agency’s CLO, training officers, and managers, and they attend, too. That’s creating an engaged workforce!

And the COTM program is just one example of how this agency utilizes Skillsoft resources. A few years ago, with their training budget cut significantly, they knew they needed to use existing learning resources and technology in a more efficient fashion. That included working with Skillsoft to create a blended online approach for training classes rather than strictly three weeks onsite for classroom instruction; using Books24x7 resources to support a quarterly webinar with various agency executives as presenters; utilizing Corporate Folders on their Books24x7 site; and they look first to Skillsoft for resource alignments for a variety of topics, whether for individuals or for large groups within the agency.

Randy Ranaudo is a Solution Services Program Manager at Skillsoft.

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