Modernizing & Refining Systems
MIL Corporation’s FAA client had operated the Procurement Request Information System (PRISM) for many years and was planning a major upgrade in 2017, going from version 6.5 to 7.2. This would increase the customer base by an additional 5,000 purchase card users. As part of FAA’s earlier implementation and support of PRISM, they offered computer-based courses / courseware for new and existing users through their eLMS learning management system. FAA authorized MIL to update the eLearning courses to be consistent with the new version of PRISM as part of the overall PRISM upgrade project.
During initial planning, we worked with FAA to determine what software and artifacts they had in their possession for the current eLearning courses. We found FAA’s original courseware material only existed in executable format and both the developer and FAA staff involved with the original development were long gone. This would mean a complete re-development of the courses since the neither the course source code nor authoring tool existed at FAA. Additionally, on further analysis of the PRISM upgrade’s impact to the existing courses’ content, FAA and MIL determined that what was originally anticipated to be a course screen updating task now required a partial rewrite of the courses due to the upgrade’s impact to business processes and system functionality, as well as changes necessary to bring the courses into 508 compliance.
With the scope better understood, it became apparent that the amount of time allotted for course development would not be sufficient unless additional resources were brought to bear and a more creative approach was taken for courseware delivery. With the horizon for the PRISM 7.2 upgrade fast approaching, the MIL FAA team had its work cut out for them to develop 19 courses since FAA users would need the updated eLMS training in time to use the new version of PRISM!
Given the now larger scope and time box, the MIL determined a need to bring on new staff with the exact skills quickly. We brought on a highly experienced courseware development lead who analyzed the source code for the existing PRISM courses and recognized the file structure as originally authored in Xyleme. Based on this knowledge, we were able to parse out the narrative portion of the existing courses to use as a basis for developing the new courses, thus saving considerable time and effort. Since there was no existing courseware authoring tool for the old courses at FAA, MIL provided to FAA an analysis of a selection of authoring tools. Our analysis included factors such as market share and costs, as well as built sample courses using the different tools. FAA selected Adobe’s Captivate for the courseware tool based on our analysis and because it was organizationally supportable since it was also used in other FAA divisions.
MIL worked with FAA to determine the course requirements, templates, styles, 508 compliance, and web accessibility guidelines (WCAG). Due to the information coming out of the initial requirements analysis and timeline, MIL determined that we would also need to bring on board additional PRISM subject matter experts (SMEs) to update and refine the content, validate business processes, update narratives, and capture PRISM 7.2 screen shots. The developed courses contain key features like the demonstration/exercise component, which plays a recording of functions being executed in a simulated PRISM environment, followed by an exercise where the learner can attempt to perform these functions themselves. They also feature a short quiz as an alternative to the exercise for 508 accessibility reasons. These courses are part of a required curriculum for all PRISM user roles.
Nearing the PRISM 7.2 implementation date, MIL identified a bottleneck on FAA’s side of courseware review process. To alleviate this, MIL worked with FAA to deliver finalized versions of the courseware in priority order. By prioritizing the delivery order of the tested courses, FAA eLMS reviewers were able to focus on the most critical training courses needed for successful implementation at the right time.
In the end, MIL delivered all 19 high-quality 508-compliant courses under budget and on-time so that FAA would have a successful rollout of the new version of PRISM to a trained customer base. We partnered with FAA to develop a workable approach for the scope and timeframe through developing and following useable standards and guidelines, as well as bringing on the right highly-trained staff. Through our analysis of authoring tools and recommendations, FAA has not only the executable courseware, but also the source code and proper licenses to maintain the courses in the future. Keeping in mind the lessons of more thorough scope planning earlier in the process, coordinated and consistent communication on the flow of work between the vendor and client organizations, as well as consideration to long-term product support can lower project and strategic support risks.See more Financial Services Case Studies