FLC partnered with Blue Sky eLearn to create a learning center for online professional development curriculum.
Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer

The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) is a formally chartered, nationwide network. It promotes, facilitates, and educates labs and industries about the process of moving federal technologies out of laboratories and into the marketplace. By increasing the impact of new technologies, FLC aims to grow new industries, businesses, and jobs that benefit the U.S. economy, society, and national security.

Challenge

Education is at the heart of FLC’s mission to enhance federal technological transfer. The increased turn toward eLearning in response to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic necessitated a cohesive, reliable learning management system. With a network of 300 federal laboratories, agencies, and research centers, their eLearning community comes from various roles and contexts.

Over the years, FLC gathered learning content onto a website that listed everything available without any organization by level, career path, or content type. Responding to the shifting educational landscape, they brought on Amy Thomsen to guide the process of organizing decades of learning content into cohesive curriculum pathways for FLC careers.

Experienced with several LMS systems as both a learner and an instructor, Thomsen was well aware of how academic LMS format scan lock users into dry and rigid content delivery and assessment. She was seeking an LMS that engaged FLC learners interactively and creatively.

FLC also had to consider how the new LMS would integrate with their existing technologies. Such integrations are notorious for challenges, headaches, and gotchas which delay launch, reduce features, and increase costs. The FLC team needed to be able to build and move independently and sought a consultative partner that would enable internal people to learn how to manage courses on their own.

Solution

With concerns about upfront costs and time-consuming onboarding, FLC talked to 5 different vendors before deciding on Blue Sky eLearn’s Path LMS™ for their online learning center. Other LMS systems fell by the wayside as FLC found that Blue Sky was ready with personalized answers to their questions and willing to work within their budget. Even more, Path LMS has a single sign-on integration with its existing association management system, Impexium.

Thomsen, FLC’s Director of Professional Development, said, “We eliminated other LMS platforms mainly because the Blue Sky staff was incredible at getting all the answers I needed in a timely manner, as well as working with me on my budget. I was brand new to the job, and Blue Sky did not take advantage of that. They went above and beyond explaining how contracts work and what questions I should be asking. They stood out among other vendors who just wanted a quick sale.” 

FLC and Blue Sky’s Learning Strategy & Development Team dove into developing interactive, easy to navigate learning content with Storyline 360 by Articulate, an interactive course development software that integrates with Path LMS. A big proponent for engaging adult learners, Thomsen emphasized the value that Storyline 360 brings to FLC’s content. Instead of 200 pages of content or an hour and a half video of a talking head, Thomsen loved being able to interweave interactive questions, voiceovers, videos, and visuals into content delivery to create “continuous movement for the learner.”

Unlike other LMS experiences Thomsen has had, with Path LMS, “you’re not stuck with an off-the-shelf kind of LMS. All the samples are completely different, and there’s so much creativity that I can bring to it, or you can give them the idea, and they are quick to come up with mockups for options. The support you get from Blue Sky has been unmatched from anything else we’ve ever seen.”

Using Path LMS, FLC has been able to gather detailed data on how learners navigate material in a way Thomsen never experienced with academic LMS offerings. With learner data, FLC could make strategic marketing and course development decisions moving forward. Gathering this data revealed a need for more intermediate and advanced content. FLC is now working with Blue Sky eLearn on developing those learning pathways!

Integration and deployment of new courses took some troubleshooting, and Thomsen found the Blue Sky eLearn team’s approach refreshing, even under pressure. With Blue Sky’s personalized and flexible coaching, Thomsen was able to maximize and customize the benefits of what Blue Sky eLearn has to offer, bringing FLC’s Learning Center to life.

What FLC Had to Say

“Path LMS is not just a learning management system. The service you get with the contract is above anything I’ve ever seen…The staff will not stop until you are satisfied!”

– Amy Thomsen, Director of Professional Development at FLC

Goals

  • Move content from a disorganized list to an interactive platform that guides learners through different career paths
  • Replace talking head videos and pages and pages of text content with interactive curriculum that engages learners
  • Tailor educational offerings to suit the needs of a variety of audiences

Solutions

  • Coaching from Blue Sky staff provided the guidance needed to enrich FLC’s curriculum with interactive content
  • FLC now uses Path LMS as its virtual Learning Center with up-to-date courses
  • The flexibility of Path LMS allowed FLC to add or fix whatever needed adjusting

Results

  • The Learning Center on Path LMS is now accessible via their website, providing access across their nationwide network
  • The platform includes courses, hosted virtual live events, and an on-demand video library covering a breadth of topics
  • FLC is now working with Blue Sky eLearn to develop new intermediate and advanced content based on data they’ve gathered from Path LMS
  • Having shared their process with other departments at FLC, their marketing and outreach staff are now looking into ways to use Path LMS as well

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