Computer training apps grow on Agriculture agency

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is hybridizing the way it does training.


The Agriculture Department agency prefers to train employees in person, said Charlotte
I. Miller, information technology training coordinator in Fort Collins, Colo. But the cost
is high when the agency has to lease classrooms with networked computers, she said.


Computer-based training works better for remote offices, Miller said. That is the only
type of computer training that APHIS has taken agencywide; classroom training is handled
locally.


APHIS employees monitor agricultural diseases and pests and watch out for their
introduction at U.S. borders.


After APHIS rolled out Lotus Notes 4.52 for Microsoft Windows 95 in late 1997, users
could learn at their own pace with a product called Network-based Training for Lotus Notes
4.5 from ReCor Corp. of Evanston, Ill. The federal reseller was DPEC Inc. of Columbus,
Ohio.


APHIS also purchased a training product for Lotus Approach, Freelance Graphics,
Organizer and WordPro 97 from Individual Software Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif.


It paid $52,500 through a General Services Administration Information Technology
Schedule contract held by Force 3 Inc. of Crofton, Md.


Agency users began working with Lotus SmartSuite after IBM Corp. delivered new
computers with SmartSuite 96 under APHIS’ Integrated Systems Ap-plication Project,
Miller said. SmartSuite 97 be-came the agency standard when the Notes deployment began.


The SmartSuite license for 5,000 users includes an upgrade to Individual
Software’s training product for SmartSuite’s Millennium Edition, said Steve
Fried, vice president of sales at Enterprise Training Solutions Inc. of Ardsley, N.Y.,
Individual Software’s federal reseller.


The SmartSuite training product, which users can access on their LANs or local hard
drives, tests knowledge at the beginning and end of the course. Managers can track
enrollment, user activity and progress through a LAN module.


Enterprise Training Solutions, a multimedia training integrator, has sold site licenses
to two USDA agencies, Fried said. The company discounts the price to $10 per user per
course for Microsoft Corp. software training, he said.  

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