In charge of updating training policy at the FPS Finance
FPS Finance training unit’s manager in charge of new technologies
How do you train 28,000 public servants, spread all across Belgium, efficiently, quickly and cost-effectively? The Federal Public Service Finance (the Belgian federal treasury department) has come up with an answer. They have set up a large-scale e-learning system. To deliver training in the use of office software, they have chosen the MEDIAplus eLearning solution from ENI.
Unlike the other Belgian Federal Public Services, the FPS Finance is very much decentralised. Of its 28,000 public servants, around 6,000 are based in the main offices in Brussels. The other 22,000 are spread all over the country. Providing training for them all poses major problems in terms of journey time and cost.
Software training used to be provided by in-house instructors in specially equipped computer rooms. Faced with lengthening waiting times for access to training, sizeable travel expenses and an unfavourable comparison between time spent learning and time away from work, the managers responsible for training at the FPS Finance started to look for another way to train their staff.
The solution they found was e-learning. “We started by setting up a pilot scheme involving first 500 then 4,000 people, to see if e-learning met our requirements,” describes Mme Cassart, who is in charge of updating training policy at the FPS Finance.
The results of the large-scale test were very positive, except that the e-learning content initially chosen for training in the use of office software was not entirely satisfactory, being judged too rigid in terms of the methods it imposed. For this reason, the FPS Finance decided to invite new tenders, and this time the MEDIAplus eLearning solution was chosen for the office software training content.
“We have chosen the MEDIAplus eLearning solution because it corresponds perfectly to our office software training requirements: it is an open, flexible way of learning which accepts all methods of reaching the right result, and it is also possible to create tailor-made training programmes to suit the needs of particular target groups…” explains
The measure was then extended to include all 28,000 finance service employees. After signing on via the FPS Finance intranet and receiving authorisation from his or her own manager and the manager in charge of training, the learner is invited to a start-up session. This is a traditional face-to-face session, led by an external instructor “A coach provides an introduction to the LMS portal where the learners log on, he explains and demystifies e-learning and gets people started in the MEDIAplus eLearning system,” indicates M Luthers, who is the FPS Finance training unit’s manager in charge of new technologies. “When we did the pilot study, we realised that some people had never started their training programmes, simply because they did not know how to log on, for instance,” elaborates M Luther
Each learner continued training from his or her own desktop computer, via the FPS Finance intranet.
“We are running two communication campaigns to inform people about the e-learning programme, one aimed at all our staff, which uses posters, e-mail messages and leaflets to introduce the project, and another intended to persuade managers of the importance of their support,” explains Mme Cassart.
The first reactions are very positive. “People appreciate the flexibility and general user-friendliness of MEDIAplus eLearning. They find the interface simple and intuitive,” says M Luthers. Learners have access to the MEDIAplus eLearning training programmes for three years, so that they can review elements of the training at any time.
Encouraged by the initial results of their e-learning experience, the project leaders identify key factors in their success: testing the system on a target group representative of the organisation, planning each step in the project’s implementation, providing support for the learners, having a reliable system for keeping track of training, convincing and involving the hierarchy.