Fed e-learning uniting on Web

Federal employees will soon have e-learning services at their fingertips.

The first phase of an initiative to unify e-training services across federal agencies by the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management Budget will debut this month.

Through the Gov Online Learning Center, e-training services will be only a mouse click away for federal workers, according to Norman Enger, e-government program manager at OPM.

"We are in the process of establishing one-stop shopping for federal training, where a federal person can go to one Web site for a vast array of training services," Enger said.

As part of the 24 e-government initiatives that support the President's Management Agenda, the training site will reduce duplication and standardize coursework across agencies, he added.

The engine driving the new site will be the GeoMaestro learning management system developed by GeoLearning Inc., a Des Moines, Iowa-based company that was awarded a four-year, multimillion dollar contract to host the site.

GeoLearning will provide the software, hosting services and security for the new site (www.golearn.gov), slated for debut July 23.

GeoMaestro enables users to launch, track and manage online training across an enterprise via a 3-D graphical user interface. It will serve as the storefront for the site, noted Frank Russell, president and chief executive officer of GeoLearning.

"We created a site that has visual appeal and is also sticky," meaning that once someone uses the site, he or she will come back again. However, he noted that the site is Section 508 compliant to meet the needs of visually impaired users.

During the first phase of the Gov Online effort, federal workers will be able to access more than 30 free online training courses ranging from computer security to ethics to supervisory development to desktop computer skills and project management.

Content for the site will be provided by e-learning content developers NETg Inc., a Thomson Learning company, and SkillSoft Corp. The second phase of the project, slated for a November launch, will include additional training courses, products and services, according to Enger.

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