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National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) doubles revenue without changing the cost of their training

The National Center for Construction Education and Research (“NCCER”) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) education foundation created by the construction industry to develop standardized curriculum and assessments with portable credentials and certifications for skilled craft professionals. NCCER provides a comprehensive workforce development system that includes accreditation, training, assessment, certification and career development solutions for the construction and maintenance industries. 

The Challenge

In order to meet the evolving training needs of craft professionals today, NCCER was faced with the monumental task of transitioning their training and assessments from a paper-based approach to an online learning and testing model. A strategic initiative of this magnitude would require NCCER to break away from third-party partnerships and legacy systems to bring processes in-house and employ a more coordinated enterprise technology solution.  

Legacy systems had reached the end of support in their lifecycle and were presenting operational challenges and technical limitations. Any system updates required third-party involvement which impeded NCCER’s ability to be responsive to dynamic training needs. Additionally, the system architecture was limiting the ability to integrate with other platforms in NCCER’s enterprise which created silos of disparate solutions. In order to achieve the business objectives of NCCER’s transition, operational and technical changes were a must.    

The Solution

NCCER's assessments shown on a desktop, laptop and tablet

Following a review of several commercially available learning management systems, NCCER decided that Totara Learn’s robust feature set and open source architecture were key differentiators and therefore best positioned as the flexible enterprise solution required by the move in training approach.  

Totara’s freedom of choice empowered NCCER to be able to shift from a client-hosted model to a cloud-hosted model through their Totara Partner, Synegen, in order to gain added control and increased level of access.

Totara’s open APIs allowed for real-time integrations with Salesforce and the NCCER Registry (proprietary credentialing system) to create a seamless experience capable of updating results and credentials in real-time. This presented NCCER with a single, coordinated enterprise solution capable of promoting the flow of data and access to user information throughout their enterprise to effectively grow their training programs. 

Screenshot showing NCCER's practical exams on Totara Learn

The initial focus was on their high-stakes practical exams, which are assessments and analytics (psychometric reporting) which are very unique to NCCER and critical to both the legal and performance side of their business.

Other vendors tried to support NCCER’s practical exams and custom scoring algorithm in digital form, however were unsuccessful, while Totara had many of these out of the box, which could then be expanded upon where needed.

asseessment dashboard NCCER

Taking full advantage of Totara Learn’s freedom to innovate and open source architecture, NCCER and Synegen were able to extend the quiz module functionality to build custom assessments and scoring metrics in order to successfully migrate practical exams.

NCCER practical exam setup

Totara Learn’s multitenancy provided the ability to create training organizations based on their current business model and easily adopt a parent-child setup with related privileges that could be automated compared to their legacy system and processes that were manual in nature. 

NCCER began with a soft launch of their new assessment platform, allowing customers a six-month period to transition from their old paper-based testing. Beginning 2021, all 600 NCCER Accredited Assessment Centers and more than 1,000 Authorized Assessment Sites will be testing exclusively using the NCCER assessment platform built on Totara Learn. 

NCCER TestAssignment

The Results

NCCER could not be happier with their decision to use Totara Learn powered by their partner, Synegen. Totara Learn offered an advanced feature set and unrivalled flexibility compared to other vendors they considered.

Synegen was uniquely qualified as their partner of choice due not only to their standing as a Platinum Totara Partner, but also their standing as a registered Salesforce partner. These capabilities helped NCCER take full advantage of Totara Learn’s open source flexibility and “achieve the impossible” and tailor the platform to their unique training requirements, while integrating with Salesforce and other systems within their enterprise architecture.

Totara Learn and Synegen have provided NCCER an immediate return on their investment while providing the training organizations and craft professionals they serve an enhanced online training experience. Additional organizational and craft professional impacts include: 

  • An intuitive online training experience that has led to an increased adoption rate compared to paper-based model with over 4,000 tests taken as part of the soft launch alone! Totara Learn allows their craft professionals to get in, get trained and get back to the job site
  • An ability to bring operations in-house rather than split revenue with a third-party provider has delivered significant bottom-line impact by doubling revenue without changing the price of their training   
  • Totara Learn’s automation and intuitive interface for both admins and learners has led to less of a burden on training staff through reduced admin time as well as a reduction in the number of calls and assistance required by learners.
  • Increased operational visibility by making data more accessible, accurate and integrated throughout their enterprise architecture. 
  • A reduced go-to-market timeframe to build and launch an assessment has allowed NCCER to be more agile and responsive to industry changes and dynamic training requirements of craft professionals

"In our NCCER efforts to migrate from printed curriculum to an online digital experience, we’ve selected Totara as our LMS due to its open source, highly customizable characteristics. Working with Synegen as our Totara and Salesforce Partner has turned out to be the right choice as they have proven highly competent on both platforms, creating a well-integrated, smooth experience for our customers."

Mik Hartel, Director of Information Technology, NCCER
Screenshot of NCCER's Proctor Console