Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Awards

Brandno Hall Group Excellence in Learning Gold Award Congratulations to two of my teams for winning two prestigious Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning awards this year. This was for work under the Department of Veterans Affairs Learning University (VALU) Career Technical Training (CTT) program managed by Anita Huffman-Strawser.  The Brandon Hall Awards program is the oldest in the learning industry, and has been called the Academy Awards for learning professionals. It features the best-of-the-best in global training, talent, and HR programs.

GOLD:  Best Use of Section 508 Requirements for Training Platforms for the VA Learning University (Jennifer Parrish, Claire Behney, Dan Holland, Alyona Nikitsina, Laura Bowen, Jackie Sigona, Wendy Heller, Kristy Townsend, Michelle Salkey, Jennifer Vincent, Katrina Laskowsky, and many more). This effort involved organizing 508 compliance reviews for training materials created for more than 60 courses delivered to the VA CTT program during the last four months of 2014. More than 160 individual items had to be reviewed and validated as 508 conformant, then submitted to the VA 508 Office for an independent audit. In an amazing display of dedication and grit, the team used Kanban principles and lots of sweat and tears to complete all of the reviews and revisions on time.

BRONZE:  Best in Compliance Training – Hazard Communication-Globally Harmonized System Labeling and Safety Data Sheets (Jennifer Vincent, Yvette Kalkay, Stephen Martin). This course for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) involved creating a compliance training course to teach people about a new system to label hazardous substances. The course utilized scenarios, branching technology, and some small doses of humor to prepare VA employees for these new labels. Most impressive was that this project went from zero to complete in 55 days. Due to contractual issues, we were delayed in our start, but the deadline was fixed by an immovable OSHA requirement that all employees at VA be trained by a certain date. Not only did we have to create, develop and deploy a 508- and SCORM-conformant course, but we had to give the VA enough time to get their employees through the course. We were tremendously helped by really good partners and subject-matter experts (SMEs) in the OSH-Safety team. Hat-tip to everyone on this team for rolling up their sleeves and just getting it done!

My old Strategy and Performance Group colleagues at SRA won three more awards for their work:

  • GOLD:  Best use of Video for Learning – National Cemetery Administration Caretaker Training Program (Tony Ingle, Wendy Heller).
  • SILVER:  Best Learning Measurement Approach – VA HR Academy Learning Evaluation project (Lynne Davis, Ken Reynolds, Alena Nikitsina, Lance Gordon)
  • BRONZE:  Best Use of Blended Learning – VALU Blended Learning Programs (Laura Bowen, Jackie Sigona, Wendy Heller, Kristy Townsend, Michelle Salkey, Jennifer Vincent, Katrina Laskowsky, Heidi Bellemente, Michael Anthony, Jennifer Kuhnel, Katarina Derek)

Congratulations to everyone who contributed. Same for all of the other 2014 winners, who are doing their small parts to rescue the world from bad learning programs and eLearning courses.


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