Pathlore Gives Training a Lift at Maryland Transit Administration
With an annual budget of $720 million, the MTA runs bus, subway, light-rail and commuter rail services as well as a freight rail system. The agency’s employees range from bus operators and mechanics to directors and general managers. Each will use the LMS to manage their career development plans as well as register for classes and track professional certifications. MTA managers also see the high-tech system as a means to streamline training activities across the agency.
“This system changes the way we think about developing our employees,” said Joseph Seitz, manager of organizational development at the Maryland Transit Administration. “We’re giving them the power to direct their careers, and we’re holding everyone in our organization accountable.”
In the past, Seitz says training records were kept by hand, or with a variety of computer spreadsheets. This caused employees extra work. If, for example, an MTA worker applied for a job as a mechanic and she wanted her training history added to her application, then she had to call several people to verify which courses she had taken. Seitz and his colleagues fielded those calls. But that’s changed. Now, with the LMS, workers can access their training records via computers throughout MTA or from home.
For MTA executives, the LMS serves up a real-time snapshot of what people are working on with regard to career development. According to Seitz, managers can use the LMS’s analytical features – which chart gaps in a person’s know-how – to critique workers during performance evaluations. Seitz says the system is easy to use, too. Supervisors tap a desktop computer to pull up any employees’ training transcript, which documents classes and certifications taken. If a manager sees that someone needs to take, say, a refresher course on emergency evacuation procedures, the LMS alerts both boss and worker.
MTA also sees its LMS as a new line of attack in the fight to save time and money. For example, the Federal Transit Administration regularly audits MTA’s certifications and compliance with training requirements. By all accounts, responding to the audit requests was a tough chore. But with the LMS in place, auditors can have the records they want in a few keystrokes.
To stretch its training dollars, MTA’s organizational development team will rely on Pathlore’s product to see who’s registering for classes well in advance of scheduling instructors and classrooms. By watching enrollments in real-time, Seitz says he can use the LMS to project not only when and where instructors must teach, but also what they’ll lecture about. Seitz has also harnessed the LMS to tell his team what size classrooms the agency needs on any given day, how many instructors MTA must schedule and who’s waiting to take classes.
“The LMS keeps training on track like an air-traffic control system keeps planes on route,” adds Seitz. “It also lets our workers see detailed descriptions of the training well in advance of their classes.”
“There’s no question a learning-management system can play a critical role in giving employees a hand in charting the training to improve their careers,” said Carrie Picardi, senior research analyst with Stamford, Conn.-based META Group. “But managers can also use such a system to forecast the frequency, quantity and type of training that employees need, which makes for an equally powerful application of the tool.”
“Our customers likely get greater value from our enterprise LMS than any competing product on the market today,” said Steve Thomas, president and chief executive officer of Pathlore, “That stems from the fact that they’re using the product’s features to go beyond simply automating the delivery of e-learning.”
Founded in 1995, Columbus, Ohio-headquartered Pathlore develops software that manages, tracks and reports on corporate training. Customers use Pathlore’s products to increase sales, comply with government regulations and adhere to quality initiatives. The privately held company’s client roster includes Delta Air Lines, NEC America Inc., Novartis, PNC Bank, Southwest Airlines, more than 100 hospitals and health care providers, and government agencies in more than 30 states including California, Ohio and Texas. Pathlore also has offices in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit http://www.pathlore.com.