OPM to add fee-based e-learning

Fee-for-service courses will supplement the free courses at the Gov Online Learning Center

Gov Online Learning Center

The Office of Personnel Management is planning to introduce fee-for-service e-learning material via the Gov Online Learning Center.

Since OPM launched the online center in July, it has logged more than 35 million hits, signed up more than 30,000 registered users and counted more than 560,000 unique visitors. The center is one of President Bush's 24 e-government initiatives and is designed to provide federal employees one-stop access to e-training courses and services.

Next month, OPM plans to introduce fee-for-service technology that will give agencies access to new e-learning courses and services, supplementing the free courses available now on the site.

OPM will negotiate a price and a catalog of courses for each agency that wants to take advantage of the fee-for-service option, said Michael Fitzgerald, the e-training project manager at OPM. "The fee-for-service is a bundled service," he told Federal Computer Week. "We bundle the strategic tools to help [agencies] support their initiatives."

Having a targeted and customized course selection for agencies makes it easier to justify the cost, time and effort involved in taking online courses, he said. "Just because a course is online doesn't mean anyone will take it."

OPM has signed up SkillSoft, NETg Inc. and Karta to provide more than 3,000 courses for the fee-for-service portion of the site, Fitzgerald said. GeoLearning Inc. and Plateau Systems Ltd. are providing the core learning management systems.

OPM also plans to launch several other new features on the GoLearn.gov site next month, including integrating an information technology road map developed by the CIO Council. The tool will help IT workers align competencies with their occupation and available resources to support career development.

"We hope to use that with other communities of practice," Fitzgerald said at a lunch Dec. 19 sponsored by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management.

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