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Creating a Campuswide Professional Learning Platform

Centralizing training to better meet institutional needs
University Business, May 2018

When it comes to professional development and compliance training for faculty, staff and student employees, many institutions rely on a large number of siloed, separate systems. By moving to a central, shared learning platform, institutions are able to track and report on the progress of training, plan better for the future, and more effectively meet business needs across departments.

This web seminar discussed the advantages of implementing a central platform for professional learning. Leaders from The Ohio State University responsible for BuckeyeLearn, a shared online learning professional training platform serving OSU’s faculty, staff, student employees, contractors and volunteers, described how they developed the platform and some best practices for taking this approach at any institution.

SPEAKERS

Julie A. Wuebker

Release Manager

The Ohio State University

John Votino

Application and Operations Manager, BuckeyeLearn

The Ohio State University

Julie Wuebker: There were some things we found the most helpful as we were going through this process.

Identifying and engaging champions and sponsors. This happened three years before we even got the system on campus. And that got us people who were cheering us on. We had folks who were saying, “Yes, this is important.” We had folks who were willing to put financial backing behind it, and they were on board and excited about it.

Data governance. We started from day one with standards, and we have refined those and found what is important to spend time on. One thing is improved user experience.

Content standards. How can we make sure things are accessible? How can we make sure that when I jump from one training to another that I’m having a good, consistent experience?

Retention policies. We want to ensure folks understand what it means to deprecate a course. When something is gone, what do we do with that?

Internal and external audiences. We have a huge volunteer population. We had to think about how to manage that, and it’s a lot more complex than it sounds.

Change management. You’re helping people see that you’re moving to something new, and that it can be positive.

Flexibilities in business processes. Departments have different businesses. Recognizing and appreciating those and configuring your system from a technical standpoint to manage them was a big deal for us.

Implementation process. We discovered a lot of new things. A lot of the assumptions we had, changed. That’s not a bad thing, because we discovered ways we could further assist with the university’s goals.

Administrator governance. To have a good administrator means to have a good partner. It’s important to foster that.

Tracking and reporting. Can we at any one time tell people what’s going on? We absolutely can. And I have to say that is extremely exciting. One of the ways we’ve maintained sponsorship and champions is that this team actually does sit in the IT building. They work with these technical people all the time. However, they have a strong attachment and a strong connection to HR. That way, people don’t see this as an IT thing, they see it as a university thing. We serve the university.  

John Votino: We have that in all of our implementation presentations that we do with each group we meet with, so that they fully understand that they do have some ownership when they become part of the operative team. It’s not just a system that’s managed and housed in one area of the university.  

Julie Wuebker: We have 10,000 learning objects, all created by folks at the university. That would not have been possible if we were totally centrally managed. We improved the system for configuration and implementing new features as delivered, so we’re able to continuously improve our system even further.  

John Votino: The four of us on the Buckeye Learn support team are 100 percent dedicated. The rest of the operations committee, which we work so closely with, sometimes have additional responsibilities tacked on to the rest of what they’re doing. It’s great, because it allows for distributed administration; we wouldn’t be able to handle this as only a four-person team. But when we get into more of the technical discussion, even testing or voting on some of the functionalities, that’s where we can sometimes run into a little bit of an issue. The responsibilities that distributed administrators should have—explain them to those people clearly during your implementation meeting so they fully understand what they’re signing up for when they become an operations admin.  

Julie Wuebker: I can speak from my perspective too. I am one of the distributed administrators. I don’t get a chance to participate 100 percent of the time. It’s a little frustrating for me because I might think, “Oh, I didn’t get to vote on that feature.” But I know that’s the case and I know that I have the opportunity to engage and I know that it’s a conversation I have to have with my manager. I know it’s going to take me X number of hours per week to truly participate and to give John the feedback he needs to do the testing. It’s important to go in with eyes wide open and knowing what you need. If you put that against the key competencies and you look at both things together, it starts to give you a good picture of the folks who will help you implement and have long-term success.

To watch this web seminar in its entirety, visit universitybusiness.com/ws032018