Blackboard recently hosted a Federal Strategies Workshop focused on developing emerging training professionals. With speakers from a variety of government agencies and consulting firms, the discussion tackled how to foster learning and development in a multi-generational workforce.

It was exciting to see a consistent theme emerge from the presentations: it is time to throw away our dated perceptions of “training” and instead embrace the opportunities to foster learning each and every day, particularly to address succession planning needs in preparation for the silver tsunami of baby boomer retirements. So, what’s the difference? As one of our speakers, Randy Bergquist of the U.S. Department of Justice explained, training is done to or at you, but learning is done for you.

People of all generations today recognize we’re living in an on-demand kind of world, and this concept certainly applies to on-the-job learning as well. Our speakers were consistent in their recommendation that it is important that agency leaders think about ways to provide learning opportunities to address employee needs each and every day as the need arises, not only in some formal, classroom-based training event – particularly as government human capital professionals consistently cite the need to address skills gaps as a key agency challenge and priority.








Angela Bailey of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, pictured below, stressed how important it is for agencies both to provide the tools that help employees stay at the forefront of their positions, and to capture the knowledge of those leaving it. As more and more government workers, particularly millennials and younger, expect to learn on the go and have the ability to immediately access information and learn skills that they can apply to their jobs, agencies need to embrace a more “on demand” style of learning and training. This may include not only mentor programs but also technology solutions that enable employees to share and discuss what it takes to be successful on the job.











It’s an exciting challenge for those responsible for agency learning and training – how to reimagine learning and professional development throughout an agency to connect learners to what (or whom) they need to help each and every worker move forward and support their agency’s mission. Blackboard is excited about the work we’re doing with the federal government to help them accomplish these goals and inspire not only professional development, but also lifelong learning among government employees.

For more information on Blackboard’s government training solutions, visit



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