Another leap for e-learning

Office of Personnel Management officials have brokered an agreement that facilitates another step forward for government e-learning by extending its reach to products and courses previously available only to the intelligence community.

According to the agreements OPM officials signed with the National Technology Information Service (NTIS) and FasTrac, those services will become e-Training service providers. NTIS, part of the Commerce Department, and FasTrac, part of the National Security Agency, have provided e-learning products and services

primarily to defense, intelligence and homeland security

agencies.

The arrangement allows OPM officials to reach more agencies with a greater selection of products and contracting vehicles that provide e-learning products. The agreement also provides wider access to the governmentwide e-learning Web portal, GoLearn.gov.

GoLearn, a service provider, supports the federal government's e-Training initiative through the portal by offering Web-based workforce performance tools, including academic, technical and organizational courses for federal workers. GoLearn is part of a growing governmentwide e-learning initiative.

"With the new agreements, NTIS, FasTrac and GoLearn support the intelligence, defense and homeland security communities by enhancing the available training resources through increased savings by pricing, unification of governmentwide content and knowledge resources," OPM Director Kay Coles James said.

About 200,000 registered GoLearn users have completed more than 200,000 online courses. James said the agreements will

allow government

officials to improve

e-learning by streamlining information technology standards, enhancements and purchases.

"We are connecting their contracting vehicles and learning management systems into one single

governmentwide portal called GoLearn.gov," said Jeff Pon, deputy director for OPM's e-government program.

Despite the fact that these providers serve the intelligence communities, "the thrust of this new initiative was not, in effect, to create a new secure environment," said Norm Enger, OPM's e-government program director.

"It's not only expanding the course selection," Pon said. "We're raising the toolset [and] streamlining IT standards and purchases to meet the challenges of our government agencies and their missions."

Pon said the most secure e-learning environments will be supplied by intelligence agencies. "They provide another choice for all federal agencies to get learning management systems or content."

RELATEDLINKS

"Wanted: GoLearn thoughts" [FCW.com, Jan. 23, 2004]

"OPM builds multiagency training program"[Federal Computer Week, May 24, 2004]

"Learning to share" [Federal Computer Week, May 24, 2004]

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