OPM opens online learning center

The Office of Personnel Management launched its first e-government initiative July 23 — the Gov Online Learning Center, which will provide a virtual classroom for government workers.

The online center is one of five cross-agency e-government initiatives that OPM will create and manage. Four additional projects are in the works, including e-payroll, e-clearance, one-stop recruitment and enterprise human resources integration.

"The president has made it very clear that his intent is to put the very best training opportunities in the hands of federal employees and managers," OPM Director Kay Coles James said at a news conference unveiling the site.

The site (www.golearn.gov) will offer 20 to 30 Web-based courses, including frontline leadership, excellence in service and change management.

"It does not have the look and feel of government in the 20th century. It has the look of government in the 21st century," James said.

More courses will be added later this year from other agencies, including dozens of training courses for workers who cannot travel to another location to take a class.

Mark Forman, associate director for information technology and e-government at OMB, also attended the press briefing and described the site as "modern training. This is as good as any company training," he said.

Although Forman could not say exactly how much the Web site cost, he said the average cost of launching a Web site is in the millions of dollars, but the return on investment is also major. He said it will cost an agency "just pennies" to provide its workers with e-learning courses.

OPM said the first phase cost the agency $250,000, but it did not know how much other agencies contributed to developing the site.

The Web site will begin charging fees to agencies for some courses later this year.

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