AgLearn includes Web training

The Agriculture Department plans to make online education a priority with AgLearn, a new departmentwide program that USDA officials announced this week.

With AgLearn, USDA officials expect employees to take courses via the Internet to receive additional training and education, said Cynthia Bezz, USDA's eLearning project manager.

AgLearn makes it possible for agency employees and citizens to search course catalogs, sign up for online or classroom training and take courses online.

The department is offering access to the program in phases, Bezz said, beginning with 12 agencies that have expressed a high level of interest and have courses ready to go. The program will be open to all USDA employees by Oct. 1.

For the program, the department will use Plateau Systems Ltd.'s learning management system software and the hosting services of General Physics Corp. Both companies are under contract with the Office of Personnel Management for that agency's GoLearn portal, a Web site offering access to a variety of business and information technology courses.

In announcing AgLearn, USDA Secretary Ann Veneman issued a statement that said, "USDA is committed to unleashing the fuller potential of [IT] for our employees and customers."

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