Public utility streamlines learning and assessment with SAP and Questionmark

Background

Nebraska Public Power District is the largest utility in the state, providing electricity to 91 of its 93 counties. Working within a highly-regulated industry, NPPD requires rigorous training and sound assessment of employees’ knowledge and competencies to keep its 2,200 employees safe and ensure they provide outstanding customer service.

Scenario

NPPD wanted to create a user-friendly, “one-stop learning shop” that combined streamlined learning management with comprehensive testing and assessment capabilities. Already an SA P customer for 10 years, NPPD deployed SAP’s Learning Solution in 2009 as a core component of their new system, centralizing content and records that formerly resided in multiple legacy systems. To further support compliance with strict training, testing, safety and record keeping requirements, NPPD sought to augment SAP’s capabilities with a broader set of assessment authoring, delivery and reporting capabilities.

“Everybody here, at some point in their career, will take exams,” explains NPPD Information Technology and Telecommunications Analyst Tim Pospisil. “Our nuclear facility, with 800 employees, is our heaviest user of assessments. The people who work there are required to take multiple exams yearly along with other qualifications, so we needed a best-in-class examination system that would give us one place to manage all our questions and exams.”

Integrating SAP and Questionmark

NPPD has integrated Questionmark with SAP Learning Solution through the Questionmark SAP Connector, through which Questionmark assessments can be scheduled from SAP and launched by a learner using the SAP Learning portal. Questionmark delivers the assessment and passes the results back to SAP Learning Solution.

NPPD considered many issues in selecting Questionmark to manage assessments. One goal was to make it easier for instructors and subject matter experts to create and manage questions. Simple browser-based authoring tools were among the capabilities that drew NPPD to Questionmark. The wide variety of question types available in Questionmark was another plus: instructors appreciate the ability to create math questions and are incorporating multimedia files into some assessments.

“Our previous system limited us to multiple choice, true/false, and yes/no question types,” explains Pospisil. “Now that we have more than 20 different question types to work with, we’re able to challenge our students in new ways.”

Security was another major consideration: NPPD valued options such as requiring a proctor to log in before a participant, and using QuestionmarkSecure to lock down participants’ desktops and prevent task switching during high-stakes exams.

Questionmark has enabled NPPD to bring together all of NPPD’s exam question banks from multiple locations, in numerous formats, and manage them all in one place. For classroom exams that still must be delivered on paper, Questionmark’s printing and scanning solution makes it possible to upload participants’ scanned responses into Questionmark for scoring and reporting.

“We’ve been able to eliminate a lot of the paper processing we had to do with exams and materials,” comments Pospisil. “Questionmark has also given us efficient ways to record and store test results for long periods of time, in keeping with state requirements.”Questionmark’s ability to run course evaluations has helped NPPD save costs by retiring a third-party system that was previously used for surveys.

Results

The Questionmark /SAP integration has allowed NPPD to give its students one place to go to schedule and take all types of training—classroom and computer based—as well as online exams.

“We’ve been able to give our students the one-stop shop that we’d hoped for, including the ability to review all of their qualification data in one system and from one place, and this includes everything at our nuclear facility,” remarks Pospisil. “We’re really happy about that and our students are very grateful for that. For the future, we’re looking into the ability to deliver exams in a mobile format. We have technicians that are out in the field who don’t necessarily get to a computer every day, but we’d still like them to be able

to access training material and do assessments from a mobile environment. We’re also looking to use Questionmark Live browser-based authoring a lot more and implement some new capabilities in the SAP Learning Solution too.”