Training opportunities explode exponentially via WSU website

Professional training opportunities for Washington State University faculty, staff and students statewide multiplied exponentially on Monday, June 27, and became available online at the touch of a computer mouse.

This new instructional venue — sometimes referred to as e-training — is the result of a partnership among Human Resource Service (HRS), Business Affairs and Information Technology Services (ITS), and a service contract with a company named SkillSoft.

SkillSoft offers professional development training and information with more than 2,100 online courses and 7,000 reference books. Plus, it’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from work or home.

“This new service provides managers and supervisors with an excellent tool for planning training goals for their staff and for improving their unit’s skills and efficiencies,” said Dave Schmidt, Human Resource Services.

SkillSoft provides training services worldwide to more than 2,000 organizations including Honda, Merck, McKesson, Shell, Mellon Financial, University of Washington, Cornell University, University of Iowa, University of Tennessee and others.

Given the timing of this launch, the first major training program that WSU is promoting via SkillSoft is for Microsoft Outlook.

Outlook is part of WSU’s ongoing Exchange Project, which, according to Information Services, will provide greater productivity, flexibility and effectiveness for all employees. WSU employees and offices are being encouraged to make the switch this summer or fall to Outlook for their e-mail program (and in time to their schedule and meeting planner).

About 20 different Outlook courses are being offered based upon a person’s level of experience with the software and their needs. To explore the training available to WSU faculty, staff and students for Outlook and many other topics, go to and sign in with your university network ID and password.

As in the past, live training is available through Human Resource Services for select courses. But unlike the past, many training opportunities will be offered only via SkillSoft, or offered via both live and online.

Programs that will continue to be offered live, for example, include File Maker Pro, Data Warehouse, cash handling, travel arrangement, purchase card training and programs regarding employee, budget and student data.

Many courses, however, will become online only, such as Dreamweaver and all programs in the Microsoft Office Suite.

Leadership Training courses will be offered both live and via SkillSoft.
And, the online books and reference tools can be accessed at any time to help answer day-to-day on-the-job questions. 

As people login for training – whether from work or home or an independent site – their training efforts are tracked and cataloged.

“One concern people have expressed is that if they try to do their training at their desk, they can be easily interrupted by the phone or other people,” said Schmidt, “which is valid.

“As an alternative, training machines will be available via Student Computing Services and Instructional Support Services. These computers can also be used by people who use Macintosh platform computers, which the WSU-SkillSoft system does not support at this time.

“On the other hand, one of the advantages this system offers is that people can access, stop and restart their training as time is available.”

“We are hopeful employees will recognize the benefits of this program and will take full advantage of these opportunities.

For more information about SkillSoft corporation, go to

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