Regional Civil Service Development Institute, DGPA, Executive Yuan in Taiwan is founded to provide training to more than 100 thousands civil servants in local governments, and the annual training capacity has reached to 35,000. For the purpose of breaking the constraints of time and space and bringing new learning opportunities to local civil servants, the Institute has designed an e-learning system to its training programs.
By adopting “shared learning platform” strategy, the institute began to produce a number of e-learning courses in other public agencies’ learning platform in 2003. The professional courses are mainly for personnel, household registration, land administration and health management.
596 e-learning courses, total 1009 e-learning hours have been introduced in
e-learning center . The accumulated experience lays down a solid foundation for e-learning system.
In order to construct an integral e-learning system, the institute employed four strategies in 2006:
1.“Top-down first, then bottom-up” Model
In order to put sufficient pressure to subordinates, organizational leaders have to demonstrate the determination to support e-learning program, therefore, a top-down first strategy is necessary. On the other hand, e-learning activity is closely related to the staffs’ information technology literacy and organizational culture, and organizational members will have the feedback loop to organization. No matter it is positive or negative feedback, organizational leaders must seriously take it into consideration, then provide resources in time and declare the determination again.
The Institute adopted such a strategy to assist local governments setting an annual e-learning plan, and according to their business activity specialization, civil servants were required to take a number of professional courses. At the beginning, a reward incentive mechanism was initiated to let civil servants have a pleasant learning experience. Trying to create a positive correlation between training and performance and establishing the legitimacy of e-learning, it also encouraged organization members to improve their performance with e-learning.
2. Reducing the e-learning gap
Based on ‘The Readiness Rankings’ yearly report of 2006 and 2007 by the Economist magazine and IBM, the ranking of Taiwan was 23 and 17 respectively, and it indicates that the condition of promoting e-learning is mature. However, in order to increase local civil servants’ participation in e-learning and to reduce digital gap, it is necessary to set exclusive e-learning system and to broaden bandwidth to allow sufficient on-line reading at the same time. To reduce e-learning gap successfully, it also needs to balance distribution of learning resources and train seed teachers.
3. Knowledge management practice
The e-learning experience will enhance the personal working effectiveness; therefore, it should be systematically accumulated and organized as organizational common knowledge. Knowledge management practice has already been introduced to Taiwan’s public sector for many years, if e-learning can integrate with knowledge management, there is no doubt that it will add knowledge sources to organizations, speed up the creation of learning organization, and increase organizational competitiveness.
4. Integration of external resources
There are 52 public sector e-learning websites have been constructed in Taiwan webs by February, 2007. The contents of e-learning program include not only officially required knowledge and skills, but also other courses such as language, computer, health, tourism and culture. If these agencies could integrate and exchange their resources, and form strategic alliances, it could save a lot of money and the learning effects could be also multiplied.
After adopted these four strategies, seven action programs have been presented accordingly.
1. An exclusive Institute-owned e-learning website
The institute has provided core professional training courses to local civil servants for a long time. Due to the increasing demands of digital learning and problems of shared learning platform, the Institute decided to create the “E-Learning Center” which is an exclusive platform for local civil servants to learn on line in November 2006. Its advantage is to have more than 45 Mbps bandwidth which can afford 2,000 people to learn on line simultaneously. The decentralized network structure will provide convenient and effective transmission of digital content. On February 10 2009, the platform has been updated from ‘ORACLE ilearning’ to ‘Modle 1.93.’ The bandwidth has also been broadened to 1,000 Mbps, and the number of online learning can reach to 4,000 people which can met the needs of digital learning of local civil servants. Meanwhile, “E-Learning Center” is in line with the public sectors e-learning single login mechanism, which allows members to use the same login account and password to access all e-learning website resources in order to integrate digital resources effectively.
2. Facilitating local government to implement e-learning
“Program of promoting local governments to implement e-learning” was designed by the Institute in 2008. This program includes the following activities, such as “assisting local government implementing e-learning”, “cultivating talented digital people ”, and “benchmarking”, etc. Furthermore, the main purposes of this program are to help local governments to promote e-learning, to provide descent learning environment for civil servants, to offer core knowledge and skills for learners’ professional development, to save training costs, and to create knowledge economy. To fulfill these purposes, professional consulting team was organized to give advice to governments.
3. E-learning competition activity
The Institute connects e-learning with performance appraisal system of Central Personnel Administration, Executive Yuan. In 2006, the Institute used “E-Learning Center” website to hold the “ E-Learning Competition of Local governments” and set rewards for “The Most Participating Group”, “The Most effective Group” and “Contribution of Best-led person.” From 2007 to 2009, it also rolled out “Award for the most effective person”, “The Best-led group in public Forum”, “E-Learning Material Competition”, etc. and all 23 local governments in Taiwan were actively involved.
4. Cultivating e-learning teachers
Since 2007, the Institute held education training program for local government e-learning seed teachers. The list of qualified teachers was delivered to local governments to solve the teacher shortage problem. In 2008, the Institute held basic and advanced courses for how to make e-learning teaching materials, and 1,290 civil servants were trained and e-learning materials were also produced for training purpose. The Institute also prepared necessary materials such as manual of website operation, teaching materials and promotion films.
5. Expanding blended learning
In 2007, the Institute developed an annual blended learning plan to integrate “e-learning center’” with actual classroom courses. According to the plan, blended learning modes of “E+C” and “E+C+E” were proposed. It is a learner-oriented strategy and will have a synergy coming out from the learning platform. During this period of time, accompanied with incentive mechanism, civil servants were encouraged to prepare designated e-learning courses before they went to the classroom, to help them to study online, to discuss with other participants through “public forum”, and to establish a communication channel among teachers and learners. Hopefully, it could stimulate learning atmosphere, and enhance the learning effect.
6. Establishing “public forums”
The Institute added “public forum“ function to “E-Learning Center” in 2008 in which an exclusively individual forum for each local government was designed, and each local government may at least select four discussion subjects and assign six moderators to manage the forum. Based upon the number of articles published, 9 grades were created to keep the game competitive
(see Table 1). At the end of the year, the Institute will reward those members who belong to the highest degree. In 2008, the total articles published in the forum were 186559, and 22 administrative cases were produced from them. The Institute launched “Elite Internet Forum” hosted by professors from different college in March 2009, and 3 subjects were scheduled to be examined in every quarter. For the purpose of rewarding, according to the content of article, 3 category of above average, good and excellent were employed, and gave “knowledge currency” of 5, 10 and 15 accordingly. The “knowledge currency” mechanism not only helps to improve the discussion, but also is expected to produce more valuable administrative cases from the forum.
Table 1：Public Forum Member Rating
1. Assistant administrator
After one person published an article in the area of self-introduction and was certificated.
3. Deputy assistant manager
Up to published 10 articles
4. Assistant manager
Up to published 30 articles
Up to published 50 articles
6. Deputy General Manager
Up to published 100 articles
7. General Manager
Up to published 200 articles
8. Chairman of the Board
Up to published 500 articles
Up to published 1000 articles
7. Enriching e-learning courses by multiple methods
Based on training needs of civil servants, the Institute cooperated with professors from various universities and experts in public sectors to develop e-learning courses systematically, and transformed core professional knowledge into digital courses beforehand in order to enhance the effectiveness of classroom training. In addition, it is also important for the Institute to regularly purchase high-quality digital courses to provide learners studying online promptly. Furthermore, owing to the fruity of e-learning resources in public sectors, the Institute established a reciprocal exchange mechanism among agencies such as: Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, Executive Yuan; Research, Development and Evaluation Commission, Executive Yuan; National Palace Museum; Council of Cultural Affairs,’ ‘Department of Civil Servant Development, Taipei City, etc., and it did help to transform information instantly. Nowadays, “E-Learning Center” has 150 regular courses, and they are kept update continuously.
From the day of opening “E-Learning Center” website to May 31, 2009, the number of member login reached to 146,174, and the total certificated hours amounted to 4,356,871. Among them, 112,490 members which are 76.95% are local civil servants. This data indicates that the goal of establishing “E-Learning Center” is fulfilled.
(1) Participation rate
According to the statistics, in February 2007, the ratio of local civil servants participate in e-learning was under 3%. After the e-learning competition practice was initiated in March 2007, and the number of civil servants participated in e-learning activities changed to 32,437 which constituted about 30% in total in July 2007. At the end of the same year, the number of civil servants participating in e-learning boosted to 83,978, and the ratio is 89.7%. In fact, the “E-Learning Center” website is the best website compared with other public agency website.
(2) Average certificated hours
In 2007, there were 108,945 local civil servants who totally received 856,308 certified hours, and the average of certified hours per person is 7.86 hours which is far beyond the officially required 5 hours. In 2008, the total number of civil servants participating e-learning was 110,470, and the total certificated hours amounted to 1,626,182. In average, local civil servants received 14.72 certified per person. The change is substantial.
(3) Cost-effectiveness evaluation
The annual cost invested by the Institute is about 18,421,465 N.T. dollars ( equal to US $ 562,316) (including personnel cost (per staff cost annually 774,495 * 7 persons= 5,421,465) + the cost of building and maintaining platform (6,000,000 per year) + the cost of creating e-learning courses (7,000,000 per year).
The benefits are as follows:
A) Make up the shortage of training needs, and reducing training costs
The training cost of the Institute is 700 N.T. dollars per day. If 700 N.T. dollar is used as the calculation baseline, then converted the certificated e-learning hours to days in classroom ( 6 hours = a day), and it appeared that 114,611,000 N.T. dollars (US $ 3,498,504) of training cost in 2007 and 238,163,800 N.T. dollars (US $ 7,269,957) in 2008 were saved.
B) The reduction of personnel cost
The saved personnel cost was 26,418,347 N.T. dollars (US $ 806,421) which was equal to 34.11 manpower in 2007. In 2008, the savings were double and amount reached to 54,897,819 NT dollars (US $ 1,675,758) which was equal to 70.88 manpower.
C) The reduction of the costs of teaching materials, papers, and printing
In this category, the amount of 1,109,885 N.T. dollars (US $ 33,879) was saved in 2007, and the amount of 2,508,366 N.T. dollars (US $ 76,568) was saved in 2008.
D) The reduction of travel expenses
Based on the single travel expense of 1,000 NT dollars per person, the total amount of 54,576,666 N.T. dollars (US $ 1,665,954) was saved in 2007, and the amount of 113,411,333 N.T. dollars (US $ 3,461,884) was saved in 2008.
E) The reduction of the cost of contracting out
The institute has exchanged 97 courses (total 216 learning hours) with other public sectors, and saved 18,514,286 N.T. dollars (US $ 565,149) in production cost.
If the investment costs (18,421,465 NT dollars) are deducted from the above savings, the result is 196,808,719 N.T. dollars saving in 2007 and 409,074,139 N.T. dollars saving in 2008
(see Table 2).
Table 2：Cost-benefits analysis of "E-Learning Center" in 2007 and 2008
Training costs saving in classroom courses
Personnel costs saving
Teaching materials, paper, and printing costs saving
Travel costs saving
total annual savings
The exchange rate: U.S.: NT = 1:32.76 (June 10, 2009)
(4) The cost of certification per person per hour in “E-Learning Center” is decreasing yearly. Based on the annual investing cost of 18,421,465 N.T. dollars, the total certificated hours were 982,380 in 2007 and the average cost was 18.75 N.T. dollars(0.57 U.S. dollars). The total certificated hours amounted to 2,041,980 in 2008, and the average cost decreased to 9.02 N.T. dollars ( 0.28 U.S. dollars) which is less than half of 2007 cost (Table 3). JI HUI QING(2007) reported that GoLearn of the U.S. (the U.S. federal government's Public Service-Learning Website) spent 3 years to decrease the cost of per person per e-learning course from 150 U.S. dollars to 0.7 U.S. dollars, and it only took two years for the Institute to break this record.
Table 3："E-Learning Center" in 2007 and 2008
amount of certificated people
average cost of certificated hours
18.75 N.T. dollars
9.02 N.T. dollars
(That person who gets certificated includes central and local government civil servants.)
2. Intangible benefits
(1) To construct a fair learning environment among local public servants and shorten the gap between urban and rural areas.
(2) To strengthen local civil servants’ knowledge management and work improvement ability.
(3) To develop an active learning attitude in civil servants, and update their working knowledge in time.
(4) To integrate public sectors e-learning resources.
(5) To increase local civil servants’ cohesion, and introduce e-learning system effectively.
(6) To provide a life-long learning channel, and let the public understand public policies and Institute business.
E-learning will continue to develop and become the new mainstream of public sector learning system. To build a time and space barrier-free e-learning system is one of the missions for the Institute. To increase life-long learning resources continually for civil servants, to offer high-quality digital learning resources and to assist public servants to improve their service quality and efficiency through e-learning are Institute goals in the future.
The Institute will take the following efforts on e-learning in the near future.
1. Producing shareable courses
In the recent years, Taiwan government and the academic
organizations have taken their efforts to implement SCORM standard, therefore schools and public sectors are required to purchase digital learning platforms and digital programs with SCORM 1.2 or SCORM 2004 standards. The first step for “E-Learning Center” to program their future courses is to make sure that the necessary knowledge of local civil servants is identified, then, scholars are invited to design courses with these components, and finally, private manufacturers are responsible for the development of multimedia courseware. In this case, Shareable Content Object (SCO) rather than multiple sets of customized courses that can not be divided is produced. Owning to the unified style of these courses and SCORM standard, it can be re-composed with any teaching needs. If the courses have to be updated in the future, the only thing the Institute has to do is to renew the necessary parts. It is not only cost saving but also fasten the speed of courses update.
2. Introducing the non-linear learning model, and establishing knowledge management and searching mechanisms
Problem Based Learning Mechanism (PBLM) is a mechanism which allows learners no longer to rely on professional experts, but rather is a mechanism for civil servants to construct an ability to solve problem, to make appropriate judgments and decisions by their own active exploration, and to learn how to feed back. This is a model that put LMS in the central part of management and takes control of the linear digital-based curriculum database and problem-oriented knowledge base, then adds outside experts into the system accompanying with incentives to constitute a virtual and physical, and liner and non-linear co-existence learning model.
“E-Learning Center” will introduce Business Intelligence (BI) in 2010 to facilitate the convenience, speed and accuracy of knowledge searching, and final goal is to make knowledge searching and quotation barrier free.
3. Providing a mechanism for wireless learning
The usage of 3G (UMTS, CDMA2000) mobiles has become more popular and the environment settled for faster transmission of 3.5G (HSDPA) and 3.75G (HSUPA) is rapidly mature, therefore more and more people use 3G mobile phones or devices with 3G mobile (e.g. PDA) to watch movies or animation. These devices are easy-carrying and internet installed and will become the universal digital information receiver and transmitter in the future. Therefore, e-learning will be extended to the action (Mobile) e-learning, even streaming audio and video-based e-learning courses will not be a problem. This allows local civil servants to become “mobile” workers and learners. Wireless learning not only can improve the organization’s performance and productivity, but also offer more effective decision-making support for organizations. To sum up, the courseware e-learning will be guided to the performance ware oriented mobile e-learning.
To acquire global competitive advantages, one of the most important steps adopted by countries in the world is ‘to speed up digital economy or knowledge (or intelligence) economy.’ The Economist magazine also reported that every corner of the world needs e-learning. It can be concluded that e-learning should be implemented right away. According to the” e-learning promoting program of the Executive Yuan”, the e-learning program is divided into “introduction, development and promotion” stages. Due to central and local governments’ efforts to promote e-learning activity during these two years, this program has been stepped up into development and promotion stages, and it demonstrates that Taiwan's public servants are gradually adapt to e-learning and also can gain knowledge from it.
As Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric Company, said that “Only one organization which can pack with fast learning ability and exercise knowledge as soon as possible enjoys the best competitive advantage.” Time has changed, how can civil servants face the future challenges if they still use old-fashioned way to gain knowledge? As a result, our government will continue to include e-learning promotion into national policy, and our civil servants must continue to study, to enhance performance effectiveness and to create public value.