VA healthcare office seeks better e-learning tools
The Department of Veterans Affairs Department is on the lookout for a contractor to upgrade a web-based classroom – or virtual learning environment (VLE) – for employees of the department’s Chief Business Office of Purchased Care (CBOPC), which manages activities that support the delivery of health care benefits for veterans.
Today, CBOPC employees can access VLE modules through the VA legacy Talent Management System (TMS) which provides much of VA’s core training, administration and knowledge management. But TMS does not offer “the facilitated, interactive learning experiences needed to efficiently train CBOPC employees on laws, regulations, policies and procedures,” according to the RFI.
Consequently, the CBOPC wants to improve its VLE capabilities to offer a web-based, hosted classroom platform to provide 24/7 access to information and foster training anywhere at any time.
“It is critical that the VA supports a culture where application of new skills acquired from a training event is transferred to the worksite. Linking learning to worksite performance requires a high degree of learner interactivity,” according to the request for information.
“Also, as the VA puts forth efforts for recruiting and retaining the next generation of VA employees who possess a degree of technical competence, supporting and offering web-based classroom training and e-learning will be critical to meet the learning needs and styles of future employees.”
The chosen vendor will be expected to offer services that include maintaining the software on their server, maintaining sufficient bandwidth for uninterrupted work flow and providing full software maintenance. The CBPOC said other VLE features it seeks include:
- Capacity to accommodate up to 1,000 active users at any point in time.
- A web-based encrypted hosting environment
- Role-based user access for instructors, students, teaching assistants, administrators and guests.
- Infrastructure for managed hosting services and day-to-day maintenance of the physical hardware and other supporting IT components.
- A mechanism for delivery of a variety of educational materials, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat PDF, HTML, digital images, digital audio files, digital video files and interactive multimedia assets such as Flash.
- Synchronous online collaboration tools that allow instructors and participants to hold audio and video conferences to share documents, applications, and presentations.
- Customizable instructional design that enables CBPOC to build sequential learning modules that establish paths through content and assessments, create folder structures to organize content and announcement capabilities.
In addition, the department is looking for a robust set of course management features, including the ability to create and edit courses, setting default course properties to use as a basis for new courses and interactive tools such as discussion boards, blogs and wikis.
The VA said a small business set-aside would be considered for the job, but that “potential and eligible firms of all sizes” are being identified prior to determining how it wants to acquire and technology and issue a solicitation.
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