Employee training, learning, and development are fundamental to employee engagement and performance. From orientation of new employees to ongoing skills development and annual training, these learning opportunities not only create a culture of lifetime learning but also help to increase job satisfaction, productivity, and more.
“To help our community succeed within their work and careers, Georgia Tech strategically works across the Institute to provide training and educational opportunities to all its employees,” said Nelson Baker, dean of Professional Education. “Much like Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) has done for years to those not physically on Georgia Tech’s main campus.”
To successfully deliver these opportunities in an effective way, a robust learning platform is needed to provide the framework of the learning process.
“A learning platform is designed to quickly identify and enroll in learning opportunities, and assess individual and organizational learning goals, track progress toward meeting these goals, deliver the learning content and activities, and present data for monitoring and assessing the learning process,” said Yakut Gazi, associate dean for Learning Systems.
For the Workplace Learning & Professional Development (WLPD), the team dedicated to employee learning and development at Georgia Tech, a learning platform is a critical component to help employees grow their knowledge, skills, and abilities. However, the platform used to provide this content in the past was split between two systems – TRAINS and D2L – providing a fragmented experience for enrollment, tracking, and learner management.
“The system used by WLPD to manage in-person learning had been built in-house at Georgia Tech more than 20 years ago, while the platform used to deliver online learning was reaching its end of life in June 2021.” said Jeff Fischer, director of IT at GTPE. “As such, both systems were unsupported and out-of-date, bringing with it a myriad of security issues and a sluggish interface.”
After a recent move aimed at centralizing workforce development and professional learning at Georgia Tech, WLPD and GTPE came together to examine this user experience while seeking a new platform that would replace these two systems and make learning more accessible for all employees across the Institute.
But the experts quickly realized the learning ecosystem extended beyond TRAINS and D2L, with far too many platforms to manage.
“Across the Institute, we had several platforms for employee learning, from Quest LMS to RosterTech and Moodle,” said LaTrese Ferguson, director of WLPD. “This meant that faculty and staff were expected to search all of those systems to find relevant learning and training.”
So, the project scope – and team -- was expanded, as they worked to identify and implement a platform that could migrate all Georgia Tech employee training and professional development into a centralized location.
“By broadening our initial project scope, we were hoping to shift all learning and training to one single window,” said Ferguson. “This not only would simplify the number of platforms employees must access for training, but also create a unified learning record for employees and reduce the administrative workload associated with professional learning initiatives.”
The chosen product was Genius SIS and Canvas, to create a learning platform that could manage learning programs, present content, and assess learner’s progress.
“Genius sits atop any learning management system (LMS) to provide SIS-type functionality,” said Troy Courville, director of Learning Design and Analytics at GTPE. “It can also talk to multiple LMSs at the same time and aggregate course enrollments and completions into one learner record, allowing for learning operations to be easier, faster, and more reliable.”
The first phase of the project was launched in the Spring of 2021, focusing on procuring the new system and migrating courses from D2L prior to its end of life on June 30, and then launching the new platform. Once the team was able to complete this milestone, they quickly pivoted to the continued testing, and then subsequent piloting, of two major annual employee training campaigns to more than 15,000 employees Institute-wide – the Fall Cybersecurity Campaign and the Annual Institute Compliance Campaign.
The move to Genius also allowed for more dynamic reporting capabilities.
“We were able to onboard user support for employee training into ServiceNow in a very short amount of time,” noted Fischer. “Then, we used the data from our first large-scale Cybersecurity campaign to adjust our support process for the Annual Institute Compliance Campaign.”
This data not only allowed GTPE and OIT to enhance and add to the pool of Knowledge Base articles to mitigate common problems, but also handed off Tier 1 support to the Enterprise Service Desk. The overall effort resulted in a 90% decrease in support tickets from the year prior.
As the team moves into future phases of the project, they hope to simplify the employee learning activity data flow across many systems at the Institute, refine the user experience within the platform while looking at extending the course catalog to external users.
“Our learning management platform transition and the restructure of employee professional development is just the beginning,” reflected Gazi. “As we move to the future, we hope to extend professional development under one umbrella and platform for all our learners – internal and external.”