Government Elearning! Magazine

FALL 2015

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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32 Fall 2015 Government Elearning! Learning! 100 Linking Agencies at OPM Leads to Increased 'Cross-Domain' Collaboration The U.S. Office of Personnel Manage- ment has a vibrant training and learn- ing core based on a cross-domain com- munications model. For the agency's work in federal agency collaboration and technology, it was named a top performer in the 2015 Learning! 100 awards program. The cross-domain communications model is designed to allow a course or course content to be stored and main- tained in one centralized domain loca- tion so that it can be directly accessed by multiple agency learning manage- ment systems (LMSs). "Implementing the cross-domain communications model eliminates the need to distribute and configure copies of courses for various LMS configu- rations," says OPM's Will Peratino, director of innovation for Emerging Solutions. "And it eliminates all of the technical support staff hours associated with implementing the course in each agency's LMS. "Instead, the agency user signs into the agencies LMS, and when the course is selected, it is seamlessly launched and delivered to the user. Te most impor- tant point is that the training event re- cord is recorded via cross-domain com- munications back in the agency's LMS of origination. As a result, the agency has a real-time accounting of all of the employees training that has occurred within the LMS environment." Configuration management is also simpler, Peratino says, because as course content changes, the changes do not have to be sent out and implement- ed at each agency. The previous model used a re- lational database architecture and unique file names for each unique course. To reuse that course for any other purpose meant repro- gramming another unique instance. Conversely, using an object-oriented database architecture to house very low- level granular knowledge objects such as animations, an explanation of a concept, graphics, audio fles, PDFs and text con- tent allows agencies to reuse the objects multiple times for diferent purposes and only have one occurrence of the ob- ject in the repository. Tese knowledge objects in the content repository can then be assembled to compose not only courses but best practices, FAQs, just- in-time training, job aids, references, refresher training, and diferent levels of support for diferent target audiences — which all are accessed and delivered dynamically to meet multiple real-time requirements that can be adapted to the needs of the learner. Within the knowledge portal, con- tent fles are separated from the presentation layer, which can be a desktop computer, a website, a PDA device. "We don't care, because we have a skin for each device that frames, structures and formats the content that's dynami- cally populated from the knowledge object repository into that skin as it's delivered to the user," Peratino notes. Another factor in OPM's entry into the Learning! 100 competition was its HRU virtual university, for all HR spe- cialties (HRU.gov). Instead of being a typical LMS, it's an HR knowledge re- pository that's object-oriented. Agencies open their CDC from their LMS envi- ronment. Tey sign on to their LMS, see the table of contents in the LMS, click on one and are linked to where course is delivered from. "Te really cool thing is that fnishing course, instead of writing the completion data at OPM, it writes it back in the LMS at the origination agency, which is what the agencies have wanted all along," Peratino says. US OPM is a four-time Learning! 100 winner. AREA OF EXCELLENCE COLLABORATION Using an object-oriented database architecture to house very low-level granular knowledge objects allows agencies to reuse the objects multiple times for diferent purposes.

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