COVID-19 Employee Story: Valcom Consulting Group Inc.
Written by the LMS Team at Valcom
86, 720. That’s how many soldiers, sailors, airmen and public servants have been educated about a new invisible and deadly threat, namely COVID-19.
A State of Emergency across the globe, one country at a time, was called. People were sent home for their safety, stores and businesses closed, and politicians came together to form a united front.
The Tactics School, Combat Training Center (CTC), 5 CDSB Gagetown, N.B., where instructors for the many schools operate and engage with soldiers throughout their training had been called to work at minimum manning. Soldiers, staff, and contractors had to vacate the premises in the name of safety. The threat was declared a Pandemic.
Developing the COVID-19 Awareness Training Package
The Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Center requested an education package for the Department of National Defence (DND)ND. The challenge was that it needed to be rapidly developed and launched from a delivery system that could be reached by all.
A group of Valcom Learning Management System (LMS) Administrators led by James Gowan and under the direction of Tactics School’s Brandon Good and Major Meaney took on that challenge. Given a PowerPoint presentation as the content, they were able to develop and deploy what would become the mandated educational package, COVID-19 Awareness Training for the entire Department of National Defence.
LMS Administrators Impact
LMS Administrators do more than provision of Learning Management Systems; often they are required to make corrections, last minute changes, additions & deletions, wrap/ unwrap courseware etc. Valcom’s LMS Team’s lead (James Gowan) was well-versed in a developer role and was able to immediately devise a plan, develop the course, and execute on the deliverables that would be accessed by all on-site and off-site DND members.
Using Rapid Development, the material was immediately developed and released, and it was mandatory training across the board. For the LMS Admins, there was no ramp-up time, no time to prepare for what could be an onslaught of users requiring assistance. On a typical day, Administrators work within the LMS, transmitted material, batched modules into courseware, and assigned user access for the many courses for the many schools across the Army. They were are often called upon to create workarounds for glitches that seem to happen within systems that had no rhyme nor reason.
Usability of Courseware
Nothing prepared us for the 86,720 users. Some users were very tech savvy and need no assistance whatsoever. I think those users would agree that other than the strain on the system, the lag that comes with that many users, and really, that’s a nice problem to have, it went very well. Other users, forced to take the training within their residences, found the process to be a bit troubling without their normal access to the Defence Wide Area Network (DWAN). Those were the users who came to us for help.
Sometimes it was as simple a task as resetting a password or resending a link. Other times it was as complicated as producing reports for the Chains of Commands or assisting users in another language. We provided assistance to hundreds, if not thousands of users, over the course of the training.
We assisted each other, we tag-teamed, we used our first responses as templates to help us help them. The numbers quoted here are just the numbers to date as we aren’t quite finished yet, but the bulk of the users have come and gone, and we are still standing.
One system. One team. What a team!