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Beyond an LMS: Cultivating a Modern Learning Ecosystem in the Federal Government

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Fri Sep 01 2023

Beyond an LMS: Cultivating a Modern Learning Ecosystem in the Federal Government
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Priority 1 of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) is to strengthen and empower the federal workforce by creating a workplace environment that supports the entire talent management life cycle, including attracting, hiring, developing, and empowering federal employees.

While four strategies have been outlined to support this priority, Strategy 2 Goal 2.2 focuses on making “every federal job a good job, where employees have opportunities to learn, grow ... and thrive throughout their careers” and outlines many tactics related to building and cultivating a modern learning ecosystem.

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The world is increasingly moving toward adaptable, holistic, and interconnected frameworks for employee learning, and if the federal government is to lead the way as a model employer, it must engage and empower its workforce by reimagining and transforming antiquated learning approaches, processes, and systems. In this blog, we’ll define what is meant by a modern learning ecosystem, highlight its importance, and identify the key components for building and cultivating one within a federal agency.

Leverage a Modern Learning Technology Platform

A modern learning management system (LMS) is a necessary first step toward investing in a federal workforce that learns and grows. Modern LMSs let you leverage automation, record data accurately and consistently, provide transparent insights into compliance and completion of learning tasks, and have improved end user accessibility. Thereby, a modern learning ecosystem starts with a modern LMS, hosted on a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud platform, is FedRamp certified, and is consistently updated to meet today’s needs. While many federal agencies have a platform in place to manage training and meet compliance requirements at scale, in today’s dynamic world, a modern learning platform serves as the baseline that unlocks capacity for transformational workforce engagement and development.

Unlock Employee Engagement and Development Through Learning

The federal government employs some of the most dedicated and passionate members of the nation’s workforce, yet often lags in opportunities for and recognition of employee learning and development.

One reason for this is because learning is often seen, especially in fields with significant oversight like public service, as a means to achieve compliance. To be clear, these guardrails are an important and necessary component of employee learning. However, to fully engage and empower your workforce, learning must also include upskilling and reskilling, equipping today’s federal workforce to be mission-ready for tomorrow.

Most skills are learned through doing work, not just in the classroom, and it is important to recognize and capture the different ways learning can take place, whether it’s on the job, conferences, boot camps, or assessments (and the list goes on!). Providing learning paths for end users within your LMS that are adaptable and accessible to all is a critical component to a modern learning ecosystem. When it comes to formal training, it is important to consider that different training delivery methods will land more effectively for different audiences. A modern learning ecosystem should include a content library that reflects this reality by offering not only in-person training, but a variety of other modes as well, such as synchronous and asynchronous online and micro-learning courses to name a few.

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An expanded definition for learning and increased access to upskilling and reskilling empowers the federal workforce to proactively seek out learning opportunities. It also communicates that employee growth and development is valued. This critical transformation, that prioritizes learning in all its forms, has the potential to unlock new levels of federal employee engagement and development.

Envision a Holistic Learning Ecosystem

Learning can (and should) happen in the flow of work, equipping employees to perform at their best. A holistic ecosystem puts learning in alignment with everything a federal employee does and is informed by related areas, such as performance reviews and career progression plans. These interdependent components work together as a complete whole in a modern learning ecosystem. To unlock the potential of these interdependencies requires agencies to work across functional boundaries to align strategic, technical, and administrative priorities for the ecosystem. A coordinated effort will ensure an integrated framework that supports continued workforce engagement, empowerment, learning, and growth.

Build and Cultivate a Framework That Lasts

Federal organizations must work to cultivate modern learning ecosystems that are accessible, adaptable, scalable, and address compliance while building toward long-term employee development. The federal workforce is engaged and equipped to be mission-ready when it is afforded opportunity and progression through learning. This is only possible when organizational culture and priorities, allocation of resources, goals, and expectations point toward this vision.

Educe helps organizations of all sizes navigate each stage of their talent management journey. Contact us to learn more about how to cultivate a modern learning ecosystem for your Federal agency.

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