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ResourcesCustomer Stories

The US Department of Agriculture has the freedom to save with Totara Learn

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the U.S. federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, and food.

The Challenge

USDA was contemplating how to continue providing the best learning and talent development experience for their agency and external partners – beyond the restrictions of commercial product platforms.

After basing their AgLearn training platform on a COTS product for over 12 years, the team felt restricted and stifled by the lack of control and influence over the product road map and life cycle. AgLearn had a vision of freedom to innovate, freedom to evolve and the control to match their technology to their strategy.

The Solution

After carefully evaluating and analysing the Open Source landscape, USDA decided to adopt Totara Learn as the technology foundation because of its out of the box functionality and open source commitment. USDA was impressed with not only the core functionality, but in the ability for Totara users to mold that functionality based on their own innovative ideas and strategies. In addition the platform was robust enough to accommodate 140,000 end users, 30 unique agencies and over 2,000 administrators.

USDA and Totara were able to develop a plan that would allow the AgLearn platform to migrate from its legacy COTS application to a bespoke Totara environment to provide an end-user experience that would meet current requirements and provide a platform for innovation over the long term. This included custom functionality unique to the federal government, external integrations with partners and a responsive platform that would finally allow for non-PC access to AgLearn.

Recommended read: Leading performance management in government: 4 modern strategies

The Result
  • SF-182 external training request integration (OPM requirement)
  • External content integrations
  • Freedom to design and develop a personal technology road map and strategy
  • Cost savings that can be contributed to enhancing learning strategies rather than licences and technical fees
  • Freedom to design new functionality, integrations and user experiences for course creators that improve engagement and results
  • A more efficient and flexible administration experience for a decentralised and large administrator audience
  • Mobile-friendly access for all users

Over the past three years the AgLearn team successfully migrated from the restricted legacy COTS application to a Totara environment hosted in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) GovCloud. On September 17, 2018 the new AgLearn system went live and now provides a robust and secure LMS that accommodates our current 140,000 end users, 2,000 administrators, within thirty unique agencies

Jerome Davin, Director AgLearn, Enterprise Application Services, Office of the Chief Information Officer, United States Department of Agriculture
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