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Google Classroom is streamlining virtual training for Iowa employees

Organizations are pressed with the need to engage, retain, and upskill employees with many positions staying fully or partially remote as the pandemic continues. The Center for Digital Government (CDG) reports that 74% of state and local governments believe they will continue hybrid operations for the long-term. This transition is the latest in a long list of reasons agencies are looking for solutions to help train their workforce digitally. Some have found Google Classroom to be the perfect solution.

The State of Iowa knew about the advantages of digital classrooms even before the pandemic. They were already successfully using Google Classroom for in-person training, making the transition to digital seamless when the state closed down. Jessica Van Heuveln, a Google support specialist for the State of Iowa CIO’s Office, says the switch to digital doesn’t deprive workers of hands-on training. “You can use Google Classroom for many different environments, so if you’re doing self-taught, in-person or virtual training, it’s going to work with all those approaches.”

The logistics of a digital classroom

Iowa uses Google Classroom to onboard and upskill employees as well as train volunteers. When the pandemic shifted the state’s workforce to 70% working from home, they needed a  platform that could not only handle a vast range of topics and teaching styles to support remote workers but also scale to meet their demand. Van Heuveln notes that Google Classroom was particularly helpful for handling compliance training, especially with its integration with Google Meet. These trainings often require an entire sector of the workforce to attend a single class with more than 100 attendees, according to Van Heuveln. The logistics of these larger sessions cuts down on the number of total sessions the state needs to host. Iowa also found that employees were less apprehensive about learning when they could do it from the comfort of their own homes.

Iowa follows a train-the-trainer model to train employees expected to instruct using Google Classroom. Trainers working in departments across the state learn to use Google Classroom to create and host virtual learning experiences specific to their own departments. 

Collaborative classrooms made simple

Google Classroom meets many needs for Iowa, such as setting up training, managing attendance, reviewing uploaded coursework, and communicating with attendees. Both course attendees and trainers have everything they need in one place, and robust engagement tools help attendees stay focused while giving trainers the feedback they need from their lessons. Built-in survey options let trainers gauge attendee knowledge, and the chat function ensures no one ever misses a question. The reporting dashboard gives trainers access to analytics to track engagement and attendance, providing insights that can improve future training sessions.

Google Classroom also makes it easier to ensure attendees stay on board throughout the training program. Coursework can be uploaded directly into Google Classroom, and training sessions can be recorded and archived. This feature allows employees to work at their own pace or lets them catch up when a scheduling conflict means they might miss a session.

The enterprise version of Google Classroom Iowa uses interfaces with other Google Workspace tools such as Google Meet, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and Gmail, which streamlines training and leads to more collaboration between employees and trainers. It can also interface with applications from other providers, further boosting its utility as an effective virtual classroom. Google Drive stores training materials securely. Lastly, Google Classroom enterprise comes with 24/7 support to make sure agencies always have everything they need for success.

Helping employees be better prepared to serve

Google Classroom can be a powerful part of any training program, whether it be digital or in-person. Building virtual connections empowers organizations to deliver better experiences. Google Classroom is helping the State of Iowa accomplish this for their constituents. Designed to scale and be accessible from anywhere, the platform helps public employees better serve the public. Virtual training strategies are essential for agencies that are looking to grow their workforce and build employee skill levels. The most important thing, however, is that training programs enable employees to further your agency’s mission. To learn more about Google Classroom and see more solutions designed with government in mind, check out the Google Cloud for government page.

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