The United States Department of State trains thousands of Passport Acceptance Agents every year. These agents process passport applications and help U.S. citizens and residents obtain the passports they need to travel outside of the country. This is no easy feat: the documentation required to apply for a passport varies according to a person’s age, citizenship status, and any recent name changes. The Department of State recognized that, in order to be truly effective, this training needed to be engaging and interactive
As a member of the DV United joint venture, Web Courseworks installed our CourseStage Learning Management System platform and created online modules for training, tracking, and certification of a projected 50,000 Passport Acceptance Agents. Our instructional designers met with subject matter experts and conducted in-depth interviews to ensure a believable, relevant approach to curriculum development. We recommended and built a curriculum that incorporated scenario-based learning. Scenarios are simulations of real-life situations that employees are likely to encounter in their work. They provide learners with opportunities to apply what they’ve learned to what they’re likely to be doing in a way that is realistic. These scenarios allow learners to explore what happens when they do what they’ve been trained to do—and what pitfalls they may encounter if they don’t. This approach to learning is much more engaging and emotionally resonant and helps learners better retain the course content.
We also built self- assessments directly into the LMS. This allowed the instructional design team to analyze the efficacy of the assessment questions and to revise them as necessary. Acceptance Agents receive a certificate upon successful completion of the final assessment.
The online training for Passport Agents went live in March 2017. Web Courseworks successfully imported the users who had already completed the previous training enabling them to access the specifically designed Refresher Training. Acceptance Agents will return each year to CourseStage to complete that Refresher Training.
The Department of State and Web Courseworks are pleased with the outcome of this more interactive and engaging approach to training. During the next year, Web Courseworks will continue to work with the Department of State to develop additional scenarios for the Refresher Training. Additionally, Web Courseworks will develop Refresher Training for Acceptance Agents who execute applications for Special Issuance passports. The system will train and certify an estimated 50,000 Acceptance Agents, with the ability to scale as necessary.