https://civilservice.blog.gov.uk/2016/03/07/a-site-better-for-learning/

A site better for learning

John Fitzpatrick
John Fitzpatrick

You may have heard that Civil Service Learning is making some big changes to the learning on offer to you. We’re working with expert suppliers and colleagues across government to create new, high-quality learning that’s relevant to our roles and has a clear impact on the work of the Civil Service. And it’s being designed so you can choose what you need, when you need it, in a format that works for you.

There’s already new learning available on our website, and we’ll be releasing more every month until the full offer is available in the autumn.

A new-look website

One of the crucial ways we’re improving our service to you is through improving our website.

If you’ve logged on to Civil Service Learning in the last week, you’ll have noticed it looks rather different – it’s a cleaner and simpler design, based on the successful GOV.UK style. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes for months to research user needs and to redesign the site based on your feedback.

Screengrab of CSL site.
The new Civil Service Learning website

What you see is an improved digital service that makes it quicker and easier to find the things you’re looking for – and a new booking system, designed around your needs, for the new learning we’re launching.

A work in progress

But this is just the start of the journey. The re-launched site is like a first draft – the new learning offer is developing rapidly at the moment, and that means we’re constantly adjusting how our users experience the site. Because of the pace we’ve been working at, you may well find the odd mistake – but we have a team of people who are continually improving and developing the website around your needs. We’ll be learning from your experience and how you engage with the service, to make it better on a daily basis.

The new site is the start of a better experience, but we’re also working with Government Digital Service to radically change and improve our digital service in the longer term. In future there will be a lot more that’s personalised to you – like tailored recommendations for learning you’ll find useful, and new tools to help you work out what learning you need. We’ll tell you more about that and share some early designs very soon.

Let us know what you think

We will be testing the new site, as we develop it, with users from across government. If you are interested in getting involved with user testing, please contact us on communications@cslearning.gsi.gov.uk. We are thrilled at how many people have already offered us their time to test. Due to the sheer numbers we may not be able to involve you straight away, but we aim to call on all of those who volunteer at some point over the coming months!

In the meantime, have a browse through the new-look site and see what’s on offer!

Update

Many of you have already used the new site and taken the opportunity to comment about it on this blog. John Fitzpatrick has responded to some of your comments here.

45 comments

  1. Denise Lancaster

    I was disappointed when I logged on to Civil Service Learning last week that I seemed unable to complete a learning module that I was half way through, even though I pressed the "Resume" button, it would not take me there.

    The result was I ended up going through the whole course again. I can't help feel that the time I spent a few weeks before was therefore wasted. Does the new system prevent you from resuming a e-learning course (or was it just the changeover?)

    Link to this comment
    • John Fitzpatrick

      Many thanks to those of you who have used the new site and commented on the blog. We are really sorry that some of you have been having difficulty finding your learning records. We want to reassure you that they are still there, and you should be able to access them. The transition to the new site has created a short-term glitch, and our designers are working around the clock to correct it. We really appreciate that this is causing problems for some people's PMRs, which we are trying to solve as quickly as we can.

      We have made the change now because the contract with our previous supplier came to an end on 2 March, and we needed to make a transition to some new contracts.

      We've consulted with departments and professions about what products should remain available while we're developing new ones, and we have kept the 50 most popular and highest-quality resources available. We have, though, taken off some older resources that are of less high quality. New suppliers took over the contract last week and we are developing new products, which should be of higher quality and more tailored to the specific needs of civil servants. We say more about that here: https://civilservice.blog.gov.uk/2015/12/14/making-learning-second-nature/

      Where you have specific difficulties, do look at our dedicated support page, where we share what we're working on and when we expect any problems to be fixed. And do please, also, report any new problems. We're trying hard to improve the learning available across the Civil Service, so we really welcome your comments and feedback to help us get better: https://civilservicelearning.civilservice.gov.uk/report-a-problem

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  2. Elaine

    I have been sent links to carry out pre course e-learning for MDP courses however these links no longer work, for example -
    • There is some pre-course learning; you can find it here: http://goo.gl/fzz6u,
    It now makes it slightly more difficult to establish which is the appropriate e-learning course if there are multiple options available when searching by the title/course name. Will these links be restored ?

    Link to this comment
    • Jane, from CSL

      Thanks for alerting us to this problem, Elaine. Would you be able to tell us which courses had faulty links, so we can fix the error?

      Link to this comment
  3. Phillip Dobbinson

    CSL is an absolute nightmare to use!, what IS actually needed is a lengthy indepth degree course to teach you how to use it!

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  4. sue turner

    My staff are having difficulty finishing courses already started and finding their total days of learning completed so far this year, information they need to complete their PMR. Why do you pick the end of PMR/reporting year to make these changes, it is the wrong time to be changing anything. This should be done at the start of the new reporting year, not the end, it just causes stress and worry for staff already under pressure.

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  5. Andrew

    What happened to the profile page that displayed your profile picture alongside the total number of days learning completed this year? I can't seem to find it anymore...

    Overall, the site just seems more basic. That's not necessarily a good thing.

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  6. Chris Retallick

    I dont like the layout - it feels like a basic beta site. I find it hard to navigate because everything is in the same fonts etc and there are no graphics.
    For some reason i am not able to load it in IE anymore and have been using other browsers to gain access.
    I was looking at management training packages which were clearly defined previously but i find less so now - it would also be handy to have an option to only show certain types of learning. Im currently only interested in e-learning and would like to only see those types of packges. Perhaps a filter at the top of a page to allow me to do this would be handy

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  7. Mr Clive Fisher

    A list of courses with links please, it doesn't have to be pretty.

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  8. Wendy

    Had to use the telephone to book a training event as the link returned an error. Have we "fixed" something that wasn't broken?

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  9. Ruth Morris

    When working through a course the pages can take a long time to load after clicking onto the next section on the menu and the next button when working through a section. This is annoying and frustrating and wastes time. We are all required to complete a minimum of 5 days learning a year and CSL will inevitably be part of this for everyone. Making the courses easier to use by improving this problem will help.

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  10. Margaret White

    Last week I noticed that a particular course I had entered on my PMR under PersonaI Development is nolonger available as a result I will be unable to complete this Personal Development as agreed in my PMR. Due to business needs I left this particular Development to do in the 1st week of March as from experience this can be a quieter time. Why was this done at this time of year? Where is caring for colleagues? I agree with Sue Turner this should be done at the start of the new reporting year, not the end.

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  11. James

    "quicker and easier to find the things you’re looking for" - yes, by having to scroll down the front page for links, and having a search that returns umpteen links saying "Profile | Civil Service Learning
    Civil Service Learning. You are here. HomeProfile. × Error message. Please
    log in to access the site. Please log in to access the site. Sign in. ... " (but at least they link to sensible things despite that).
    The good thing about GOV.UK was the move away from putting information on individual department pages, not the user interface. It'd be nice if you could improve on their terrible (atm at least) search facility, e.g. filters/themes, page ranking, or make it a bit more bespoke depending on grade/profession(/department?), or maybe set up something whereby it can recommend courses?

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  12. Michelle Woodacre

    I dont like the site at all there is no longer a log of how many days learning we have done. I find the site difficult to navigate and it seems to regularly ask me to re log in, and start my e-learning and I regularly have to restart my courses as it doesnt credit me with them even after 24 hours.

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  13. Matthew Atkinson

    The site looks more 'gov.uk' like, but I'm not sure it's any better than it was before.

    However, when you actually start a course, it still opens a popup window, like sites used to in the 1990s. I'm surprised that GDS let this through, it's really unfriendly. It's not even a new tab, it's a completely different window, and to get it into your main window in Chrome is really tedious.

    Plus, when you get a certificate, you can still easily alter the details to show any score, date and name you like. To have such poor security like this is really unprofessional.

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  14. Jon Burnell

    I'm not a fan of the new CSL. The previous iteration was much clearer and simpler to use. The layout was more user friendly, rather than the unappealing civil service intranet layout. The training progress bar has disappeared and running reports now seems as reliable as HMRC online learning. Sorry, but I feel this is a backwards step.

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  15. Louise Silvester

    Two questions.
    1 Why were we not told in advance that CSL was changing ?
    2 Why on earth was the change not left until AFTER everyone had completed their end of year appraisal ?

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  16. Joyce Middleton

    I have just tried to find how many days of learning I have done and can not seem to do so, can you please let folk know where to find this as we need it for our PMR's.

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  17. Donna Barlow

    I couldn't get into it this morning to check learning history tried 3 times will try again the afternoon.

    Link to this comment
  18. Charlotte Smith

    I logged in yesterday and have very mixed feelings so far on the new format. I thought at first all the courses i did in the past had been erased. Fortunately i was able to find them by navagating and playing around in my user profile. What i miss already on the new CSL are two things. Firstly the visual bar that logged how many days one has done learning and the graphics that made things easy to know what courses you had done ie formal and informal.

    I also miss the discussion forums. Why take that away? It was a very useful means of communicating with other CSL users about say a potential problem with a course due to glitchy software issues. And the user reviews of a course.

    I dont think it is very accessible or easy to read for those with visual problems/disability either.

    Sorry to sound so negative. I dont intend to be. And additionally the list of courses to come is just the same as what we had before. There is nothing really new that i can see at all. Also a a final comment, there has been a missed opportunity with the revamp of CSL to include volunteering work done as part of one's personal development. This should also be recognised too.

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  19. Shirley Murray

    The current prolonged lack of access to management reports is disappointing, especially as we are reaching the End of Year. I phoned today and asked when I would be able to access the reports for my team - the answer was, 'we don't know'. I was told that only 'Super Users' can access the information and even they have to obtain a link from CSL to do this.
    My staff and I are also having problems getting learning to register as 'done' and yes, I am aware that a user can ask CSL to manually update their record.
    Giving the website a new look doesn't make it a better!

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  20. Natalie

    The old CSL site had a function whereby your line manager was able to view your PDP and learning history.

    From what I can see this functionality doesn't appear to have been included in the new site but it was very helpful for both staff and managers as it avoids duplication of work by having to create a separate PDP and as mentioned above by Sue, the old site also allowed learners to view total training time completed info.

    Please can you advise if this function will be restored and confirm that staff will be able to link/show accounts to their managers.

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  21. Court Clerk

    I went on it last week and when I worked out how I was able to find and complete one course. When I went back to try another it sent me round in circles and I was unable to access any of the others. I'm unlikely to have the opportunity to try again for some time so I'm afraid I'm not very impressed.

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  22. Gill Stockley

    I have tried 7 times to get into the new site today, but each time at different stages, I have been thrown out. From feedback I have received the site is difficult to navigate and staff have been thrown out while undertaking learning. Although as I haven't yet got in I can't tell! Bring back what used to work.

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  23. Glyn

    Unfortunately the CSL site now blocks me with the message:
    'Sorry, too many failed login attempts from your IP address. This IP address is temporarily blocked. Try again later or request a new password'.
    This has not happened before and incidentally it is completely untrue - I have not had any failed login attempts. Nevertheless I have reset my password and tried again but I still get the same response. I am at a loss to understand why you would start tinkering with the site at such a critical time of year.

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  24. A. DADA

    It's hard to navigate the pages. You can't see the 'Next' button
    You can't maximise the page to flip through the tools menu

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  25. John Ellis

    The previous version of CSL provided you with the accumulated number of days L&D that you had achieved with each successive event that you did throughout the year, but I have not noticed this on the new version. As we are constantly being told that we must do at least 5 days L&D a year, it would be helpful to have this same facility, otherwise we will have to start keeping clerical records and adding up all those little e-learning modules that we do, that can last an hour or less to see where we are against the 5 days. That is unless the 5 days L&D per year has been dropped?

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  26. Hayley F

    I'm probably mirroring what a lot of people have already stated, but I too miss the simplicity of seeing how many learning days I have completed this year. I also miss my Personal Development Plan which seems to have also dissappeared!
    This is terrible timing to lauch such changes as everyone is getting ready for their end of year reviews.

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  27. Jenny Butcher

    Why can't we all log onto HRMS and access our training courses required for that role, with links going straight to the course and using the traffic light system, so every individual knows exactly what they are required to do. This would save time going to various sites looking for courses. The system we have is terrible! Not liking your upgrade so far!

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  28. Klare Clark

    The progress bar on your 5 a year learning on your PDP has disappeared, (turning from red to green on completion) This was an important tool in ensuring staff were aware of how much development they've actually undertaken, especially around L&D questions on the staff survey.
    Can we have it back please?

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    • Kimberley

      Hi Klare, we've found that if you type Personal Development Plan into the search bar it provides the link to your PDP and tells you how many days you've completed. No progress bar but at least you can see where you're up to.
      I've phoned support and they've said they're aware it is necessary for people to see this info more easily and they're working on a fix but no idea when it'll go in.
      Would have been good to know this was going to happen in advance and timing could've been better but as John says in the introduction the contract has run out so they had to do something rather than it just disappear.
      I'm still hoping the site will improve with feedback as it isn't really very user friendly and we need that if we're to stand any chance of staff using it.

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  29. Barbara

    Glyn,

    The same thing has happened to me. I simply cannot access the CSL site now.....Progress???? I think not!

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  30. Diane Connell

    I do not find the new version of CSL site user friendly. It is interesting to see that so many people have already indicated this to you, and I agree with all of the above.
    I had to re-do my self assessment-I have done it twice now, and twice it has not let me review my responses!

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  31. Chris Retallick

    Went through the Self Assessment tool yesterday as i have recently changed grades, so thought it would be relevant. Did the whole thing but i was unable to download any of the results or plans etc. Just kept bring up an error. The template of using the whole gov.uk website is so unappealing. I could have created something better looking on Paint!

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  32. Laura Wilkins

    Just a bit of feedback on the site. I think the site is now much more easy to navigate and better to direct staff to relevant resources and tools. I have found that the videos haven't really been working though.

    The site does now look very basic, which is good for navigation and such but it is much less appealing. I am trying produce guidance for staff to point them to some excellent resources that CSL have, however, I do think to make it more appealing it would be better to put back some of the imagery, icons and such to make it a little more interactive. It feels a little like we have taken a backwards step in this regard.

    Very happy with some of the new resources though!

    Link to this comment
  33. Bill Spiby

    There are definite improvements in terms of ease of navigation which are very welcome. However, a point which I've raised before has still not been addressed, despite feedback saying that it would be incorporated into the design of the new site. Specifically, the descriptions of course levels do not map over to the grading structure in NOMS. The majority of NOMS staff will simply have no idea whether the courses are aimed at them or not. The risk being that if it's all too hard to work out, they'll simply give up trying. The grade mapping to be fair is a wider problem which also impact upon advertising of cross-Departmental vacancies and general guidance and correspondence. NOMS staff are consistently forgotten about in this respect and therefore disadvantaged.

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  34. Knulp

    The old version of Civil Service Training worked well, now we have a new version that does not work well!! Is this a case of change for the sake of change, and yet again it is the Taxpayers that have to pay for it.

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  35. Anthony

    It would help if the Civil Service Learning courses led to proper qualifications & then if those qualifications led to higher pay.

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  36. Susan

    I tried to do a group booking for training yesterday. On the positive side I now have 5 people signed up, and they all received confirmation shortly after I did this.
    On the downside I struggled to follow the instructions, some of which made no sense. I spent a hour trying variations and finally I ended up keeping my fingers crossed. I also called CSL and talked to a helpful man in Operations. However the problems I was encountering were design-based, not technical. We were both baffled.
    In short, more work needs to be done on checking the design works.
    Finally, both the timing and the lack of comms undermines your efforts. I inadvertenly came across this blog via Twitter today; not good enough.

    Link to this comment
    • Dave Mercer

      Hi Susan, I'm sorry you had problems with your group booking and would like to understand more about the issues you faced so that we can improve the service. Would you mind sending some more information about the experience to csl-booking-issues@digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk please?
      Thank you.

      Link to this comment
  37. Kev

    Your history of completed courses used to show the percentage scored (or N/A) which I found useful but the scores are no longer recorded against the training record.

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  38. Concerned

    The 'new' design has proven more troublesome for many in my team to navigate. We don't really have a great deal of time to make much intensive use of CSL but when we are 'encouraged' to update our details we are often struggling to locate the areas we need to update.

    When we find the places we need to go, the interface of updating (your learning) is sluggish and could be a great deal more intuitive. The learning count counter could be more accessible as opposed to only appearing to be available once you've updated your learning.

    It appears to me that the CSL site is following the regime of many other Government changes . . . one step forwards, many steps back.

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  39. Flummoxed

    I have completed my self-assessment in readiness for my PDP this reporting year only to find that from the eleven resources recommended, 6 led to 'now unavailable' links, 2 led to broken links (1 went to an archive of some sort?) and the 3 left were 'read me' documents with no assessments as to whether I understood the reading, nothing interactive at all.
    This has left me struggling to use CSL at all to set up next year's learning plan.

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  40. A. Kay

    I used to love visiting the old CSL website; I probably was one of the few who was enthused by it. I love change as it often heralds something new, something exciting. However the new CSL website leaves me pulling my hair out each time I visit. I tend generally to upskill myself with CMI courses which were easy to find on the old website but on the new website I have to find them by running a search! And this, each time I require information. It feels to me now that information is more hidden and therefore those unfamiliar with the old CSL and courses previously offered will not necessarily find much of use on the new website.

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  41. Fran

    It looks like a mickey mouse site for kids, like others have said its a backward step not at all inspiring. My biggest gripe of the old site was searching for courses and this hasn't improved, why is the A-Z OF COURSES hidden right at the bottom of the web page, it should be at the Top, where everyone can see it.

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