Karen Lin, Photo Editor

After using a Yale-specific Training Management System for over 20 years, the University is currently reviewing options to modernize its system to provide and track training and career development programs for Yale employees. 

Jane Savage, associate vice president of union-Management and strategic initiatives, told the News that the University has established a Learning Council to “guide the development of standards for managing staff learning.” The Council is composed of over 25 leaders on campus who design, deliver and oversee staff learning and development within their own departments. 

“[The Council] will be instrumental in implementing new processes and in informing the design of the new learning technology platform,” Savage said. 

Savage added that the Organizational Effectiveness and Staff Development group — a division of Yale’s general Human Resources office — provides the University with authorized training, including curriculums on management at Yale. As of now, each school or office has individual, decentralized training programs in addition to training designed by Human Resources. For example, Yale Hospitality has specific training for customer service and knife skills, Savage said.

Savage explained that all Yale divisions complete required trainings mandated by state or federal law, including sexual harassment trainings and safety trainings for those who work in labs. However, there are also trainings required by the University, such as business standards for business conduct. 

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The current system — TMS — allows tracking of training programs, both those mandated by state and federal law and those provided by the University. But Savage said the system is “clunky” and “not current.” 

Karina Julius, director of financial training and development at the School of Medicine, wrote to the News that TMS was only designed to last a few years, and now, having been in use for over two decades, it does not have the capability to support more current, innovative training techniques. Additionally, she said that reporting tracking data is very difficult and labor intensive. 

However, Savage also said there has been some progress in modernizing current offerings for career development, including moving the in-person training for managers at Yale to an online platform called Novo Ed which is supported by some social aspects such as chat features, and allows for some training tracking. 

Savage is a part of a group of four sponsors who are working on an initiative led by Jack Callahan, senior vice president of operations, to improve learning and development at the University. Savage said that a key goal of the initiative is modernizing the training platform, which she hopes will help improve tracking data and communication. 

To achieve the goal of modernizing the training platform, the initiative led by Jack Callahan could benefit from exploring cloud-based LMS solutions. Cloud-based LMS solutions can offer a variety of benefits, including easy access for remote learners and trainers, scalability to accommodate growing user bases, and advanced analytics capabilities to track user performance and engagement. By leveraging these solutions, the University can not only improve the training experience for learners but also gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of its learning programs. This can ultimately help the University optimize its training efforts and drive better outcomes for its students and staff.

“I think just to have data that we can report on more easily and to be able to send staff notices  through the software will be a nice addition and to have data connected in a more effective way to our human capital systems,” Savage said.

Callahan said that preliminary planning for the new platform is set to begin in March, and the platform will most likely be rolled out in early 2023. It has yet to be determined where it will be piloted, but Callahan said that the School of Medicine is one of the select units that is being considered, although the pilot may include other units as well. 

He added that while the group has not yet finalized which platform they will use, they are currently evaluating learning tools used by the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning and those offered by leading vendors such as Workday. 

Julius wrote to the News that modernizing the learning management system will allow for stronger integration of training offerings and make it easier for staff to access the learning opportunities they need. The modernized system will also allow managers to have a dashboard to monitor their staff’s training and will make reporting training easier, and they will be able to diversify training options beyond the limited forms that TMS offers. 

In addition to the process of evaluating TMS and designing a new platform for career development and training opportunities, Savage said that the Learning Council is focusing on defining standard processes. 

“Because we’ve had this decentralized training for a long time, we don’t have a lot of standard processes for defining what a course is and so forth, so we’re also doing some process improvement to clarify terminology and processes for managing learning at Yale.That’s a parallel effort we launched in the fall,” she said.

Savage added that they are working on analyzing which trainings should be offered through the University’s Human Resources department and which should come from specific units. 

Callahan emphasized the work that is being done to rethink how Human Resources develops training programs in conjunction with individual units and schools. 

“We’re trying to update the role that human resources plays on the staff side and in overseeing the tool and pulling together different training programs,” Callahan told the News, “But HR can’t develop all the training programs.”

He added that there are new Six Sigma Certification programs for management and information technology training, and he also hopes the modernization of the University’s training system will include new options — such as finance skills — to promote career development. 

Yale’s Human Resources office is located at 221 Whitney Ave.

Sarah Cook is one of the University editors. She previously covered student policy and affairs, along with President Salovey's cabinet. From Nashville, Tennessee, she is a junior in Grace Hopper majoring in Neuroscience.