Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives (300 words maximum)
The Public Service is the largest employer in Singapore with 153,000 public officers working across 16 ministries and more than 50 statutory boards. To meet the rising demands and expectations from citizens and businesses; and to cope with constant changes and disruptions brought about by technology, Civil Service College rolled out LEARN – a central digital learning platform in November 2018.
Targeted at all Singapore public officers, the objective of the initiative was to leverage technology to develop core skills and knowledge among public officers with speed and at scale. To this end, Civil Service College launched LEARN, a whole-of-government digital learning platform that can be accessed both via web and mobile devices. It enables self-paced and personalised learning for officers based on their job profiles, interests, learning preferences and competency needs, anytime, anywhere.
With its multi-tenancy model, LEARN provides learning platform-as-service (also known as Tenancy Service) for public agencies to deliver digital learning to their workforce seamlessly. With this new shared service, agencies can host training specific to their operational needs within LEARN, and this allows them to re-direct scarce resources to capabilities building instead of the development and maintenance of their own learning management systems.
Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category (100 words maximum)
To remain an effective and accountable public service in the face of rapid changes and heightened demand for better services from citizens, our public officers need to be constantly upskilled and reskilled. As a digital learning platform, LEARN can deliver on-demand, bite-sized learning to public officers, who can learn anytime and anywhere at their own pace without having to keep to an appointed training time which could be disruptive to their work.
LEARN is part of Civil Service College’s digital learning transformation effort to provide a fast and effective channel to develop public service capabilities to deal with today’s challenges and to be future-ready. It supports service-wide capability development of public agencies and their officers to fulfil their missions and deliver high quality public services.
a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation (200 words maximum)
Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (4.4)
Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions (16.6)
Developing and uplifting the capabilities of public officers through LEARN programmes enhance their abilities to discharge their public service duties with high degree of efficacy and professionalism, which in turn contributes to the social and economic development and governance of the country.
LEARN democratises learning through offering a wide range of more than 30,000 relevant pieces of content across 17 domains. Programs range from building foundational and horizontal skills like digitalisation, citizen engagement, leadership and communication, to developing specialisations such as human resources, enforcement, public policy and science & technology. Public officers can access these learning programmes on LEARN that are tailored to their developmental needs and career aspirations. In conjunction with the launch of LEARN in 2018, a service-wide training policy of allocating 4 hours for digital learning monthly was instituted to encourage officers to embrace life-long learning.
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms (100 words maximum)
Prior to the implementation of LEARN, majority of public service trainings were conducted in face-to-face classroom setting. These were difficult to scale quickly due to constraints like the availability of trainers and training facilities. Further, scheduling training was also hard for many public officers, especially for those in frontline officers who were on shift duties.
LEARN allows officers to build skills and capabilities at their own pace and convenience. Furthermore, digital learning content can be updated quickly online without drawing on much resources.
With a ready shared learning platform, the Tenancy Service on LEARN now provides a sustainable way for agencies to deliver specific business and operational trainings relevant to their officers without having to commit additional resources to implement their own learning management systems.
a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
The pace of innovation and disruption has changed the political, social and economic fabric of our society. The expectations and demands of our citizens and businesses have become more complex and that requires our public officers to respond to these needs with agility and high level of professionalism. Beyond today’s work demand, officers also need keep pace with the development in their functional areas and emerging skills that will prepare them for future works. Digital Learning became an important avenue to equip our sizeable public service workforce with core knowledge and skills in a fast and efficient manner to deal with these challenges and be future-ready.
Our experience in shifting majority of training online, supported by LEARN amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament that our investment in digital learning is a step in the right direction.
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
Other than allowing public officers the opportunity of self-directed learning anytime and anywhere, LEARN also serves the following groups of stakeholders:
1) Centres of Government – we partner central agencies to develop and deliver digital programmes on horizontal skills to all public officers in a timely manner. For example, LEARN delivered the Digital Literacy programmes to the whole-of-government within a few months to support the public service transformation towards a Digital Government.
2) Functional Leaders in specialised domains – we work with lead agencies to provide digital programmes to develop vertical skills that are relevant to the job functions. With LEARN, officers can not only be inducted quickly into their new functions, but also hone their knowledge and skills continuously as they progress in their career development to take on higher roles within the same job families.
3) Agencies – the LEARN tenancy service enabled agencies to deliver agency-specific training to their officers in a fast and cost-effective manner, without having to invest in their own learning platforms.
a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
The conceptualisation of LEARN was initiated as part of CSC’s Digital Learning Transformation in 2017.
The key milestones of LEARN to date
1) Platform Product Development
a. Tender for the development of the platform was awarded in May 2018;
b. Beta version of the mobile app was rolled out on 30 November 2018 to 80,000 officers;
c. Web version was deployed in January 2019;
d. Enhancements to usability and administrative functions were gradually rolled out in multiple releases throughout 2019 -2021.
e. Pilot for Tenancy Service (Tenancy Lite) commenced in April 2020; and the full features for the service were implemented in August 2021
2) Content Acquisition
a. Adopt the 3Bs approach as a sustainable content acquisition strategy.
i. Buy – acquire quality learning resources on business, organisation and personal development from established digital learning providers;
ii. Build – develop learning resources that are unique and contextualised to the public service.
iii. Borrow – partner with public agencies and institutes of higher learnings which have relevant learning resources
b. Collaborated with CSC’s institutes to develop over 200 programmes within the first year of LEARN implementation [Build]. This library has since grown to more than 400 in 2021.
c. Integrated with Udemy for Government and Harvard Leading Edge to provide seamless access to their learning programmes and articles via LEARN within first the year [Buy].
d. Signed MOU with institutes of higher learning to share learning resources prior to the launch of LEARN [Borrow]
3) Policy & Outreach
a. CSC worked with Public Service Division to issue a new policy that provides 4-hour protected digital learning hours for officers.
b. Series of roadshows at agencies’ premises and service-wide events, and other publicity campaigns were rolled out in the initial months following the beta launch to promote LEARN to officers. Today, CSC continues to engage Agencies to promote LEARN and regularly sends out Electronic Direct Marketing emails to LEARNers with thematic curated learning programmes.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
Civil Service College faced various challenges on our journey of developing LEARN and driving the adoption of digital learning in the public service:
1. Adopting the right product development strategy – between buying a ready solution and building from scratch
• Rigorous research on learning platforms and emerging innovations in the ed-tech space and media space
• Proof-of-concepts with learning platform providers to identify key features and functionalities to provide impactful learning, seamless learner engagement and administration
• We landed on procuring a product with base features for learning and customising it to meet CSC and our stakeholders’ needs.
2. Developing In-house digital learning content development capabilities as most CSC course designers were only familiar with designing interventions for classroom training.
• Engaged external consultant to provide advisory services on the design and development processes for more digitally based learning.
• Learning and experimenting with course designers to build digital learning content and establishing guidelines for content development and curation
• Invited beta testers to help College improve the digital products
• Share learnings internally and refine our learning and development practices over time.
3. Building up digital learning resource library quickly and continuously keeping it updated and relevant to our learners.
• Research and conversations with key content library providers
• Partnering third-party content providers and negotiating content licensing model to provide relevant and value-for-money learning resources
4. Understanding Learners’ preference and behaviour to better promote a culture of continuous learning
• Conducted proof-of-concepts to study learners’ behaviours on learning consumption, as well as pre- and post-survey to collect information on their motivations, and preferred engagement mode
• Service-wide outreach efforts to create awareness of the learning opportunities offered through LEARN
• Promote learning as a daily habit with bite-sized learning resources
• Support from the Senior Public Service Leaders who “walked the talk” and evangelised the importance of digital learning.
More importantly, the support from the Senior Public Service Leaders cannot be undermined – other than moral support, senior leaders “walked the talk” and evangelised the importance of digital learning.
a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
LEARN was Civil Service College’s maiden attempt to build a whole-of-government platform and deliver learning differently at scale. We viewed this as a journey of continuous value creation and maintaining an agile mindset to start small, learn fast and pivot was key. We started the project in 2018, with no digital product management nor digital learning design and development expertise. Putting learners and agencies in the centre, we continuously improve the usability of LEARN and grow the organisational muscles in digital learning design and development.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how those were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
A department of 14 staff was setup to oversee the implementation of LEARN as well as to collaborate with rest of College’s departments and external stakeholders to support and sustain delivery of digital learning at scale. The total project cost was approximately S$17 millions over 5 years.
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
LEARN adopts a cost-recovery model through subscription which is funded by the budget set aside by agencies for staff training purpose
CSC is able to exploit economies of scale through acquiring credible learning resources centrally, and agencies also benefitted as they save on resources to build/maintain their own learning platform and produce learning content that is common across agencies. Part of such saving would then be channelled to LEARN as subscription fee to CSC, which then uses the money to finance the operations of LEARN.
a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how it was situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how the institutional relationships with those have been operating). (200 words maximum)
As an indicator of success, the number of agencies and learners have grown steadily over the last three years, from 80,000 in 2018 to 135,000 as of November 2021. A number of service-wide surveys have also revealed that a larger proportion of officers found digital learning valuable to their capability development.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
The design and implementation of LEARN was a collaboration between CSC LEARN team and technology team from Government Technology Agency of Singapore.
Beyond platform development, the digital learning content acquisition and institution of learning policy involved collaboration and partnership among internal CSC’s departments, and numerous central government agencies.
Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
1) Increasing Adoption of Digital Learning
• Public officers and learners appreciate seamless learning experiences that are purposeful, personalised, visually rich and interactive to fulfil their learning needs.
• This gives rise to the need to constantly grow our L&D expertise in designing digital interventions that enhance learners’ engagement and knowledge retention.
• Adoption of AI to drive personalisation tailored to earners’ competency development needs
2) Emerging Innovations
• Continuous research and experimentations on digital learning platforms and tools to keep pace with industry best practices
3) Adopt an Ecosystem approach in building and stacking the best-of-breed technologies/tools
• Single product is not able to meet all requirements and less adaptive to changing business needs
• Build and expand enterprise and data infrastructure with continuous exploration of digital tools and services to be integrated into LEARN for seamless user experiences.