by Site Staff
December 1, 2004
Chief, E-Learning Services
Internal Revenue Service
As Chief of E-Learning Services for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Mitchell Chazan is responsible for continuing education for the organization’s nearly 100,000 employees. To help reach this large, dispersed workforce, Chazan worked with Centra to plan and implement a virtual learning environment in less than one year. Since its installation in 2001, the IRS has saved $18 million in travel, per diem and telephone costs.
The IRS also has enjoyed a return on its investment of more than 2,000 percent since the project’s commencement. In one case, more than 8,500 employees attended learning in the new collaborative environment, at a total cost of $1.5 million. The same program prior to the Centra partnership would have cost an additional $5.3 million in travel and related expenditures. Clearly, this collaborative tool has made a financial impact.
Moreover, the quality of training has improved. Over the past three years, the IRS has trained a team of 36 elite instructors who specialize in the use of the new virtual environment. These experts show other instructors how to maximize the educational potential of the new collaborative tool. Managers can now connect with subordinates, regardless of location, to provide just-in-time training. Any such process would have been profoundly inefficient before Chazan’s implementation of the system.
The project’s success is also evident in the IRS’ desire to maintain and expand its functionality. The use of the environment has tripled since its introduction. Instructors have completed new training since the system’s inception so that all course content stays consistent and up-to-date. The staff of virtual classroom instructors now weighs in at 1,300 members, all of whom have extensive backgrounds in both education and information technology. This allows the learning and education department to consult with IT specialists in topics such as Section 508 compliance, SCORM conformance, and the planning and execution of various e-learning programs. Students receive support regarding access and courseware launching so that the system is consistently available to those who need it most.