e-training Transition Project

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1 e-training Transition Project Phase II e-training Communications Guide August 24, 2005 National Aeronautics and Space Administration

2 Communications Guide for the Phase II e-training Transition August 24, 2005 Approved by: Sheila Fogle e-training Transition Project Manager Date Dennis Conrad e-training Transition Deputy Project Manager Date

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION... 4 PURPOSE... 4 BACKGROUND... 4 PHASE II OVERVIEW... 5 COMMUNICATIONS FOR PHASE II... 6 COMMUNICATIONS OVERVIEW... 6 UNDERSTANDING AUDIENCES AND STAKEHOLDERS... 8 CORE MESSAGES COMMUNICATIONS ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES POTENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS VEHICLES PLANNING FOR COMMUNICATIONS EVALUATION AND FEEDBACK NEXT STEPS SUPPORT FOR COMMUNICATIONS... 18

4 INTRODUCTION PURPOSE The implementation of the NASA e-training Learning Management System (LMS), SATERN (System for Administration, Training, and Educational Resources for NASA), will change current training business processes, as well as systems that are used for training registration, enrollment and delivery. Attention to the human and organizational impacts of change, as well as the technical aspects of the system installation, is important for success of this initiative. The purpose of this guide is to assist NASA Centers in preparing for the e-training transition by providing information on planning for communications. Communications can facilitate the transition to the LMS by enhancing awareness, understanding and support for the e-training initiative throughout NASA and among interested and affected parties. This guide specifically addresses Phase II implementation and provides information that Centers can use to build and implement their e-training communications plans. Additional guides or updates will be provided to the Centers for other change management areas and for subsequent phases. BACKGROUND e-training is one of the President s Management Council approved e-government initiatives, supporting the President s Management Agenda (PMA) for improving the Government s responsiveness to citizens and efficiency of operations. The vision of the initiative is to create a premier e-training environment that supports the development of the NASA workforce through simplified and one-stop access to high quality training products and processes to support learning and development. Through the implementation of a centralized LMS, the training community within NASA will have new tools, functionality and capabilities for training administration and delivery. Three legacy systems will be transitioned to SATERN: AdminSTAR training administration system used by all Center training offices NASA Online Registration System (NORS) allows students to register online for courses and is integrated with AdminSTAR, but only used at MSFC and KSC, and Site for Online Learning and Resources (SOLAR) online custom content courseware system used throughout NASA NASA has selected the Plateau Learning Management System software, a comprehensive application which will provide timely, up-to-date information and enable NASA to continue process standardization. Centers will be able to identify training requirements, 4

5 deploy learning, and track its completion. The Plateau system will also allow for tracking of certifications, and assessment of competencies. It provides desktop access to training information and courses, online enrollment and testing, course catalogs and facility management. PHASE II OVERVIEW SATERN will be implemented in several phases. The focus of Phase II is to replace legacy systems (SOLAR, NORS, and AdminSTAR) and provide functionality to support online and classroom courses, training record keeping, e-learning delivery & management, and enrollment & scheduling management. The impact to the Centers of Phase II implementation will vary based upon current Center processes and functionality from existing systems. Additional features and functionality such as competency management and individual development planning will be configured in later phases as depicted in Figure 1. Phase II will not include the capability for full library management. A sub-team has been formed to determine if there is a workaround within SATERN that can be used until full library management capability can be implemented. PHASE I PHASE II PHASES III & IV Define initial configuration Launch of system NASA Purchase Card on-line course available Online and Classroom Courses Training Record Keeping e-learning delivery and mgmt Enrollment and scheduling External training (SF-182) Curricula and certification Online registration - NORS Centers (Optional for other Centers) FPPS Interface Training History Training Evaluation surveys Migration of items and custom content Archiving of Data Discontinue use of Legacy Systems Library Management Online Registration All other Centers (12/31/05) Competency Management Individual Development Planning Vendor Courses Sunset legacy systems (12/31/05) Center Unique Training Systems Virtual Learning System Communities Formatted: Font: 9.5 pt Figure 1: e-training Implementation Phases 5

6 COMMUNICATIONS FOR PHASE II Effective communications is critical to the success of the e-training project, because it is vital to building awareness and commitment for change. Because communications increases acceptance of change, it is essential that NASA employees impacted by the SATERN system understand the drivers and purpose for the program, and the personal and organizational benefits that will result from implementing SATERN. NASA employees are dealing with ongoing changes that occur across the Agency. The implementation of SATERN represents just one of those changes. Understandably, such changes can create concern, anxiety, and resistance. Well-designed communications can play a critical role in addressing these reactions with messages that are meaningful to the audience, and conveyed via audience-accepted channels COMMUNICATIONS OVERVIEW The communications process (Figure 2) is a cycle of basic, repeatable activities which define what information needs to be communicated (messages), who needs to receive this information (audiences), and how the information will be transmitted to target audiences (communication channels or vehicles). These activities include developing and delivering relevant content to key audiences, motivating and directing behavior in key stakeholders, and collecting feedback to measure the impact of the communication efforts. Utilizing a disciplined process where content is regularly received by clearly identified audiences is a best practice. Messages Vehicles / Channels Feedback Key Audiences Figure 2: Communications Process Communications Principles While each communication effort is unique, a few basic principles remain consistent. When formulating e-training communications plans, NASA Centers should consider the following principles in order to increase effectiveness of communications: Cascading Communications. Plans should reflect the principle of cascading communications, where information is distributed to management and then to employees. The aim is to have no surprises for leadership when communications reach employees, so that managers are prepared to address their concerns. However, all staff must receive the same messages, so that they do not receive communications that management has not received, and messages are not distorted as they cascade. 6

7 Few Messages, Many Messengers. With the communications principle of few messages, many messengers a communications plan focuses on a few key messages, and identifies several different means for communicating those messages to ensure that they reach every individual in each audience. Variety in the communications methods and vehicles helps reach more of the target audiences by appealing to a variety of communications styles. Repetition. The principle of repetition should be considered as the actual communications are developed. Each communication should begin by referencing and repeating the key messages communicated in the last communication received by that audience, and should conclude with a preview of what will be communicated next. Frequent and consistent communication of the same messages maximizes the probability that it will be heard and understood. Two-way communication. Feedback received from the audiences is just as important as the information going out to them. Soliciting questions and comments through feedback channels signals sensitivity to the audiences concerns, and provides valuable input into what should be addressed in future communications. Therefore, each communication should provide a point of contact or mechanism for the audience to direct questions and concerns back to the appropriate e-training contacts at the Center. Communications Objectives The implementation of e-training communications at the Agency and Center levels will help to initiate behaviors that support the SATERN implementation. The following communication objectives have been identified: Build awareness of the e-training project and foster advocacy for the initiative through the communication of the purpose and benefits of the project Increase organizational change readiness for SATERN by educating users on the details of the implementation Manage the expectations regarding SATERN through clear communications of functionality, impacts and timeline Promote stakeholder involvement and buy-in by communicating the importance of their role in the success of SATERN and providing opportunities to ask questions and raise concerns Encourage communication on the e-training initiative by providing key stakeholders with the information necessary to explain the project objectives, impacts and benefits 7

8 UNDERSTANDING AUDIENCES AND STAKEHOLDERS Every employee in NASA will be touched by the implementation of the SATERN system. However, the significance of the impacts or changes that users will experience will differ according to the audience segment. Understanding the stakeholders and different audiences that are impacted is the key to delivering effective communications. Because stakeholders and audiences vary by Center, this guide specifically focuses on key audience groups that are common across all Centers. It is important that Centers with significant audience segments not defined in this document use the format outlined here as a guide to define desired behaviors and key messages for these additional groups. Key Audiences Effective communication requires up-front identification and analysis of key audiences who are critical to the e-training project success. Within this document, Center level audiences (versus Agency level) will be the primary focus. In identifying these audiences, it is important to group them together in manageable segments. An effort should be made to understand the perspectives and issues of each key audience group. This will help ensure properly targeted vehicles and relevant content. The following table provides a summary of the key audiences in the Center that should be the target of e- Training communications: Audience Segment Executive Leadership Team Senior Management Supervisors HRD Training Office Employees HRD Specialists Organization Training Coordinators NASA Employees Contractor Employees Description The senior leadership team at the Center. Usually the Center Director and his/her direct reports. Center Division chiefs and Department/Office Managers Civil servant employees with the responsibility for planning the work, monitoring and assessing performance, and developing the skills of NASA employees. Specialists and Administrators in the Center Training Office who provide support to Center employees for training-related requests Specialists located in Center human resources office who provide organizational development support to the divisions leadership and staff Point of contact for training within the directorates or divisions in the Center. Civil servant employees who will utilize SATERN for training Non-civil servant employees who will utilize SATERN for training Figure 3: e-training Audience Segments 8

9 Key Audience Requirements In crafting a communications plan, it is important to understand the behaviors or actions Centers hope to elicit from each audience, and the information these stakeholders need in order to take these actions. Some information, such as the purpose and benefits of SATERN, will be important for all stakeholders. The table below outlines key requirements by audience segment. Audience Segment Desired Behaviors / Actions What They Need to Know Executive Leadership Team Senior Management Supervisors HRD Training Office HRD Specialists Organization Training Coordinators Civil Servant Employees Contractor Employees Articulate e-training core messages when communicating to staff and other Center audiences Provide general support present no roadblocks to the SATERN implementation Take a leadership role in communicating with staff about the SATERN implementation, new processes, etc. Take an active role in the implementation of SATERN to ensure a successful implementation at their Center. Participate in planning activities, stay aware of developments, and raise questions and concerns to the project office Be proactive in articulating e-training core messages and providing updates to staff in divisions Be proactive in articulating e-training core messages and providing updates to staff in their organization Take an active role in the implementation of SATERN as required Exhibit awareness that SATERN is coming and be able to articulate how it benefits NASA as an Agency and its people Purpose and benefits of e-training Impacts to people, systems and processes; implementation phases (high level) Rationale behind decision to implement SATERN Where to go/whom to contact for information Purpose and benefits of e-training How and when SATERN will impact employee training, and business processes Where to go/whom to contact for information Purpose and benefits of e-training Impacts to people, systems and processes; implementation phases Major project milestones and schedule (data migration, implementation) Implementation plans/progress Where to go/whom to contact for information Purpose and benefits of e-training Impacts to people, systems and processes; implementation phases Where to go/whom to contact for information Purpose and benefits of e-training Impacts to people, systems and processes; implementation phases How and when SATERN will impact Training Coordinators: - what will change; what they will be doing differently - new processes Purpose and benefits of e-training Rationale behind decision to implement SATERN High level timeline Where to go/whom to contact for information 9

10 CORE MESSAGES Core messages serve as anchor concepts and provide the discipline for the various communications elements. They are based upon the requirements of the audience segments and the communications objectives. In successfully implementing SATERN, communications will play a critical role at the strategic, tactical, and personal levels. Regardless of the vehicle face to face, or newsletters many of the questions that users have can be addressed by core messages from one of these levels. Center communications should incorporate and build upon these critical concepts. Messages will need to be customized to each Center s specific culture and adjusted by project status. Strategic Core Messages Strategic communications is the means of aligning the performance of individuals and the organization with NASA s mission and strategy. Words and ideas can enable employees to understand and commit to the goals and objectives associated with the SATERN implementation. Strategic core messages answer the question: What are we doing and why? e-training is an e-government initiative and NASA is required to participate. e-training is one of the President s Management Council approved e-government initiatives, supporting the President s Management Agenda (PMA), for improving the Government s responsiveness to citizens and efficiency of operations. Because e-training is a PMA initiative, NASA is required to participate. The e-training initiative is expected to improve Agency services and save taxpayer dollars. The Federal Government expects that the e-training initiative will enable Agencies to better able to attract, retain, manage and continuously educate the highly skilled professionals needed for a flexible and high-performing government workforce, while saving tax payers about $784 million over the next 10 years. NASA will reduce costs through the consolidation of multiple learning systems. At NASA, the implementation of SATERN will achieve economies of scale through the consolidation of multiple learning systems. Three legacy systems will be transitioned to the e-training LMS: o o AdminSTAR training administration system used by all Center training offices, NASA Online Registration System (NORS) allows students to register online for courses and is integrated with AdminSTAR, (at MSFC and KSC), and o Site for Online Learning and Resources (SOLAR) online custom content courseware system used throughout NASA. 10

11 Ease of access and improved functionality will support the development of NASA employees. SATERN will offer learners one-stop access to a robust training environment to support employee learning and development. SATERN will enable management of training information and courses, certifications, competencies, and individual development plans. NASA will achieve improved consistency and efficiency in training operations. SATERN will allow for the continued implementation of standard training processes, on-line access to consolidated training data, and ease of delivery and administration of training courses and schedules. Tactical Core Messages Tactical communications carry the specific messages of what changes will happen, who is affected, when, why and how. Tactical core messages answer the questions: How will we accomplish our goal? What actions are desired? Implementation of SATERN is a significant transformation effort. The system functionality will be implemented in phases. The goal for Phase II is to implement functionality to replace the three legacy learning systems. Additional functionality will be rolled out over time. The impact to the Centers will vary depending on the Phase. We do not have all of the answers regarding the timing and impacts of the implementation, but commit to sharing what we know as schedules are finalized. Involvement from Center representatives and SOLAR disciplines is key to the success of SATERN. Representatives from each Center and each SOLAR discipline have been involved in making configuration decisions and working to standardize processes. This involvement is critical to the success of the SATERN implementation and to ensuring that NASA reaps the benefits of a centralized learning system. Implementation of SATERN will involve changes to the Center s current business learning processes. As we implement an Agency-wide system for learning management, we must also move from different approaches toward common processes that all Centers use for learning administration. Because Center learning processes are currently not consistent, the impacts of the process changes will vary by Center. However, this is an important first step toward preparing Centers for the move to the NSSC. The e-training initiative is aligned with other Agency transformation efforts. The team is aligned and working with the NSSC to achieve the goal of a smooth transition of training processes in the future. Contacts have also been established to understand and integrate SATERN with future automation initiatives. 11

12 Tailoring Tactical Messages to Specific Audiences Additional tactical messages will vary by audience in terms of content and level of detail. For example, SATERN s phased implementation means that certain Centers will be impacted differently in Phase II than others. The senior leaders and managers must have a clear understanding of the specific changes that will take place at their Center. The following questions should be addressed: How does the implementation of Phase II functionality affect our Center? Will our Center lose any of its current functionality? How will our Center processes change? Who is involved in the Phase II activities? What is my role? Personal Core Messages Personally, communication can be a motivating force when the message carries a credible "what's in it for me?" and therefore is meaningful for employees. For communications to be successful, the Centers will need to communicate the benefits of the SATERN as well as how it will affect the daily activities of each audience. Personal core messages address how activities will be impacted on a day-to-day level and answer the question: Who will be impacted and how? NASA employees will be responsible for online and onsite class enrollment (for Centers that implement online registration functionality in Phase II). In Phase II, learners will utilize the system to enroll in courses and schedule training. Approvals for onsite classroom training will be routed electronically. Learners will be able to check the status of their enrollment and training history from their desktop. The SATERN system is easy to use and support will be available. SATERN is an intuitive easy-to-use system to assist in planning and managing learning activities. The system will send reminders on scheduled training that can be imported to the learner s calendar. Self-paced training, informational sessions, job aids, and helpdesk support will be available for learners. Training will be made available to employees in roles significantly impacted by SATERN. Specialists in the training office and etraining coordinators in the organizations will have the opportunity to participate in training on SATERN. Automated approvals and electronic documents will improve routing. Their expertise is required and important to help with acclimating learners to the new system. Tailoring Personal Messages to Specific Audiences Additional personal messages will vary by audience in terms of content and level of detail. For example, Center Training Office employees will experience the greatest change in what they do, and how they perform their job duties. Thus, communications and other change management activities must address the concerns and need to knows for these audiences. 12

13 The following questions should be addressed: What does this mean to me and my job? Will this change how I perform my work? If so, how and when will it change? What support will be provided to me during Phase II and beyond? COMMUNICATIONS ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES Each NASA Center has identified a change management representative who is responsible for the coordination of e-training change management activities (communications, training and process) at their Center. For the SATERN implementation, the e-training Agency change management team will play an overarching communications role while change management representatives at the Center will focus on local communications. The e-training Project at the Agency level is responsible for creating a communications strategy and plan for impacting Agency-level stakeholders and for providing core messages that can be tailored by each Center. Center change management representatives will coordinate all Center communications efforts with those of the Agency, and their messages should be consistent and aligned with Agency messages. The e-training Project change management team will support Center communications efforts by providing communications support, and communication tools and templates. Summary of Communications Roles and Responsibilities e-training Center Representative: Ensure all Center communications are executed as appropriate. Participate in various e-training communication activities. e-training Center Change Management Representative: Coordinate and execute all Center communications with Agency Team or as appropriate. Provide consistent messages that are aligned with Agency core messages. Have all communication products approved via the proper channels. Participate in various e-training communication activities. Work with their Center e-training Representative to carry out communication plan. e-training Agency Change Management Team: Overarching role to communicate the right information at the right time to the right audience. Create communications strategy and plan. Provide Agency core messages and other appropriate messages. Support Center communications efforts by providing tools and templates as needed. Lead change management conference calls and other e-training change management activities. Work with the Agency e-training Project Team to carry out Communication Plan. Figure 5: Summary of Communications Roles and Responsibilities 13

14 POTENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS VEHICLES Communications channels and vehicles are the means by which the right messages get to the right audiences. An important communications best practice is to use a number of different vehicles to convey consistent messages to key audience groups. These include the channels currently in use in the organizations. Center representatives will need to determine the most appropriate and effective vehicle for each audience and type of communication. A variety of print and technology-enabled communications vehicles exist at NASA as well as a number of established face-to-face meetings. Centers will need to leverage existing, active communications channels and seek out new vehicles for communicating with key audience segments. Centers will need to select and prioritize based upon anticipated effectiveness for reaching targeted audience in a timely manner. The following is a list of vehicles for possible use for e-training communications. Print and technology / e-enabled vehicles Center websites Center newsletters Center-wide directed s Posters and flyers Face to Face Vehicles Town Hall Meetings Staff Meetings One-on-one Briefings Open House / Marketing Booths 14

15 PLANNING FOR COMMUNICATIONS Consistent, core messages are essential to the effectiveness of the Center communications plans for the SATERN implementation. Centers will need to tailor messages with the audiences in mind. This is no easy task given the variety and diversity of stakeholder groups with different levels of knowledge, awareness, experience, and viewpoints of the SATERN program and its objectives. Accordingly, the initial focus of Centers should be on increasing awareness of the e-training initiative among stakeholders. However, as the project progresses, more tailored and frequent communications to audience segment groups will be required, as well as a shift in messages. The table below outlines a suggested schedule for planning for communications. Timeframe Audience Segment Content Potential Vehicle(s) Awareness Understandin g 8-12 weeks prior to launch 6-8 weeks prior to launch Executive Leadership Team Senior Management All Audiences HRD Training Office Organization Training Coordinators All audiences High-level overview Purpose and benefits of SATERN Major milestones and schedule Detail on implementation plans and progress Project status and schedule High level process impacts Impacts of SATERN on each audience One-on-one briefings Staff meeting presentations Talking Points Town Hall Meetings Center-wide s One-on-one briefings Directed s / Talking Points Town Hall meetings Staff meetings Center website / newsletter Implementation Feedback 4-6 weeks prior to launch 2-3 weeks prior to launch 1-2 weeks prior to launch Launch and post implementation (ongoing) All audiences Administrative Users (HRD Training Office, Organization Training Coordinators and others) Details on training approach and schedules Information on support plans Update on implementation Pre - Go-Live announcements SATERN Process and functionality Course Announcements Center website / newsletter Town hall / Staff meetings Center-wide s Training sessions Job Aids All learners How to use SATERN Self-paced training / Job Aids Informational sessions All audiences Go-Live announcements Update on SATERN implementation progress and future phases Feedback and lessons learned Figure 6: Suggested Schedule for e-training Communications Feedback sessions Help Desk Center-wide s 15

16 Communications Phases As outlined in the previous chart, messages to targeted audiences will change based upon phases of communication. Phases include: awareness, understanding, implementation, and feedback. As the implementation of the system approaches, stakeholders will require more detailed and targeted information. Communication Phase Description Desired Behavior of Target Audience Awareness Provide high-level overview information on SATERN Demonstrate awareness of SATERN Understanding Provide project status and details to assist audience in their understanding of SATERN and how it affects them Demonstrate understanding of SATERN impacts to them and their organization Implementation & Deployment Transition Feedback and Follow-up Provide details on deployment, training, and support activities Provide evaluation of SATERN communications and document lessons learned Figure 7: Communication Phases Attend training, ask questions, and perform all necessary predeployment activities Be able to use SATERN and provide feedback for improving SATERN communication and deployment efforts for future phases EVALUATION AND FEEDBACK Feedback received from the targeted audiences is just as important as the information going out to them. Feedback mechanisms can help NASA Centers measure the reach, impact, and overall effectiveness of the communications effort. Soliciting questions and comments through feedback measures signals sensitivity to the audiences concerns about the SATERN implementation and assures audiences that they are being heard. Centers can adjust and improve communications activities based on audience and stakeholder feedback. In addition, continuous feedback from the audiences can provide insight into the effectiveness of the current communications vehicles and messages as well as valuable input into what should be addressed in future communications. Feedback Channels It is recommended that Centers establish an address for questions from learners and administrators regarding the SATERN system, and conduct face-to-face feedback sessions to allow for airing of concerns. When conducting feedback sessions, the following questions may be useful in assessing the effectiveness of completed or ongoing communications activities, and in soliciting suggestions for how to adjust and improve subsequent communications efforts. What communications have you received about SATERN? Was the information clear and understandable? 16

17 Was the information useful to you? Was the information given to you in a timely manner? Do you feel you received too much, too little, or enough information about SATERN? What additional information do you need to know? What changes would you like to see made to ensure effective communication about SATERN in the future? NASA Centers can also use event-based mechanisms to gauge the effectiveness of specific communications vehicles. Examples include: Reply cards distributed at presentations and marketing fairs Evaluation forms provided at the end of information sessions Feedback links embedded into websites and messages Face-to-face focus groups or feedback workshops, to get a continuous understanding of communication needs and how to meet them Mini-surveys via or telephone Periodic assessments can also be useful to track progress and/or identify challenges. Examples of periodic feedback mechanisms include written surveys, personal interviews, and focus groups. The e-training Agency Change Management team will implement these mechanisms on an Agency-wide basis as appropriate. NEXT STEPS Using the information contained in this guide, Centers can build a communications plan that outlines the audience segment, vehicles and messages that will be implemented at the Center level. In summary, there are seven key steps to implementing Center communications plan for SATERN: Establish Center communications goals Define any additional audience segments Create / modify core messages for each audience Select vehicles for each message and audience Identify timing for each message Implement plan Gather feedback and evaluate communications 17

18 The matrix below is a sample template that can be used for Center planning. Audience Message (Content) Vehicle Delivery Date Delivery Owner Figure 8: Sample Template for Center Communications Planning SUPPORT FOR COMMUNICATIONS The e-training Agency change management team is available to address questions on communications planning and to provide support and assistance to Center change management representatives in the creation of Center-level plans. Communications tools such as sample memos, articles and, Talking Points that can be tailored to each Center will be delivered to Center contacts to help facilitate implementation efforts. Questions on this guide or requests for communications support should be directed to Yvette Robinson at or Gregory McHugh at

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