The Swedish Board of Agriculture is the government's administrative authority in agriculture and food policy, handling issues that affect everyone in Sweden. The food, the animals, the environment and the climate - everything that creates competitive agriculture, a vibrant countryside and contributes to a sustainable society.
The Swedish Board of Agriculture is responsible, among other things, for training people to use plant protection products. About 25,000 people are required to renew their certification every five years - a challenge involving all 21 county boards. The Swedish Board of Agriculture is also working on knowledge development within the framework of the EU's rural program where 25 authorities, 50 organizers and several other parties are involved.
“Follow-up and reporting was inadequate” – Pia Kruise
Coordinating all this requires smooth and easy administration, most especially when it comes to reporting the results. The existing training system did not exactly offer the opportunities the agency needed, and it was perceived as cumbersome and time consuming - particularly the follow-up and reporting. It was also not possible to create the digital, blended learning solutions that the Swedish Board of Agriculture wanted.
The Swedish Board of Agriculture needed a better, easier-to-use solution in place. It also wanted greater freedom to create more innovative training solutions. To do this, it invited several suppliers to participate in its procurement process. Totara Partner Xtractor was one of only two vendors equipped to solve the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s challenge, and it was ultimately selected to create a new solution.
However, the project was under time pressure. The agreement was signed in June and delivery had to take place before the end of the year, when the old system would no longer be in use.
Xtractor's solution was based on the introduction of Totara Learn, a flexible enterprise learning management system. It knew that Totara Learn would help the Swedish Board of Agriculture ensure the quality of monitoring and reporting of user results and to simplify administration, both for certifications and for other training.
Collaboration between Xtractor and the Swedish Board of Agriculture was very smooth. Pia Kruse, the Swedish Agricultural Agency's project manager says:
“Xtractor are experts. It has its project model and a great project manager. We communicated a lot and the cooperation developed as we got to know each other.”
The solution also included a format for predefined course types with different structure, content and billing information. That way, people with different roles and permissions can use the same system, but in a uniform way, and basic functions can be shared across the platform.
Xtractor also introduced BankID as a login method, which meant simplifying the solution for many of the farmers and food producers who would use the system.
One key improvement was that users could manage their certifications themselves, by registering themselves and obtaining permission. This freed up the administrators’ time, enabling them to focus on strategic issues instead of these smaller tasks, and users were empowered to take more responsibility for their own learning.
Despite the tight schedule, the solution arrived on time. It quickly became clear what the new reporting capabilities meant: clear, comprehensive reports with fresh and accurate data, offering a much-needed overview and opportunity to dig deep into the statistics.
This was also a cost-effective solution for the Swedish Board of Agriculture, which now benefits from the great value of Totara Learn. Learners and administrators alike now have access to a solution that works as they need it to without great expense.
By managing Totara permissions, administrators can engage in more comprehensive tasks and not waste time on low-level, time-consuming activities. Not having to manage all registrations has helped save time, meaning their expertise can be used elsewhere.
“We now have a management group in place and we have an exciting journey ahead of us. If we had more time, we would have had much more. That means we are not fully utilizing Totara yet, but Xtractor has extremely professional, fantastic developers who make adjustments that go beyond expectations.” – Pia Kruse
With Totara Learn, the Swedish Board of Agriculture now has a platform with support for up to 200,000 users, which saves time and simplifies the work for everyone who works to develop Swedish agriculture and everything it contributes to their entire society.