Knowledgepool trains 18,000 staff at the Home Office, to support IT upgrade

KnowledgePool, the learning services company, is running a major blended learning programme – involving 300 instructor-led seminars, bespoke e-learning and live coaching – to help 18,000 civil servants at the Home Office upgrade to Windows XP and Office XP from older versions of the software. KnowledgePool has a ten-year ‘managed learning’ contract to provide upgrade training to the Home Office for end-user applications and telephone systems. This contract was awarded in 2001 by Sirius – a consortium comprising Fujitsu, PricewaterhouseCoopers and telecoms firm Global Crossing – which has its own ten-year £350m contract to provide the Home Office with information technology and related services. For this XP upgrade project, Sirius is providing the infrastructure, including Pentium 4 PCs with flat-screen monitors, and the new software. KnowledgePool has worked closely with the Home Office internal training organisation, Opportunities,

Training & Development, and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate College to ensure a high quality training solution is provided to support the upgrade. KnowledgePool will deliver briefing seminars at Home Office sites across England and Wales. Lasting around two-and-a-half hours, these face-to-face sessions will demonstrate the latest versions of Windows and Office and explain how they differ from their predecessors. Participants will also be given an overview of the accompanying e-learning course, developed specifically by KnowledgePool. The e-learning focuses on the new features in Windows XP and Office XP and also explains some of the Home Office’s policies for using the software. The new XP desktops will contain an online link to the e-learning course. As the software is installed at each site, KnowledgePool’s trainers will provide desk-side coaching, as needed. The company is also providing laminated A4 quick-reference summary guides and it will run a telephone helpline for users. For anyone unable to attend one of the briefing seminars – because of holidays, illness or maternity leave – or for those who want a refresher, KnowledgePool has developed a 15-minute video, covering essential extracts. This will be available at each of the Home Office’s 166 sites. To manage the administration of the classroom briefing seminars, KnowledgePool is using its automated web-based booking system, Livebooker. In the run-up to the software roll-out at each site, the system invites end users to a briefing seminar and books their place in real time. It then provides confirmation of their booking, with an overview of the briefing seminar and details of the location. The system also captures end user feedback about the briefings and the follow up desk-side coaching.
“KnowledgePool’s Livebooker system ensures the administration process for the briefing seminars is very efficient,” said Chris Davison. “It also helps us to measure the success of the training programme.”

The software roll-out began in July 2004, after a successful pilot. It should be completed by April 2005. Over the summer, the briefing seminars have been running with an attendance rate of over 97 per cent.

Helen Kitchen, Head of Learning and Development at the Home Office, said: “We like the fact that KnowledgePool listen to what we need in the Home Office, they don’t try and bring in a solution that someone has needed elsewhere. KnowledgePool work with us and not ‘at us’. This partnership approach is proving highly beneficial in this project.”

For more information about KnowledgePool, please call 0800 783 1765 or e-mail

“Upgrading to XP and providing this training should help to improve our productivity,” said Chris Davison, the IT Training and E-learning Services Manager in the Home Office’s Opportunities Training & Development team. “Undoubtedly there are major cost savings from blending e-learning and instructor-led briefings. The e-learning course lasts around two hours but people can focus on what they need to learn by dipping in and out of it at their desktop when it suits them.”