Back to Top
APPEL Increases Curriculum Accessibility and Utility

Every year, APPEL works hard to improve its courses and offerings. This year, the Academy took things further by improving the way practitioners interact with the curriculum itself. 

APPEL supports NASA as a primary internal resource for project management and systems engineering development and training. As a result, the Academy delivers courses to thousands of participants across agency centers each year. To ensure those courses meet the needs of the NASA technical workforce as well as the agency’s missions, APPEL regularly works with stakeholders and subject matter experts to review and update courses as needed.

For fiscal year (FY) 2018, APPEL has taken its commitment to continual improvement a step further by enhancing the way people access and interact with the APPEL curriculum and catalog. This novel approach introduces new categories and browsing capabilities that improve practitioners’ ability to access the right courses to support their professional development goals and help ensure they have the skills and knowledge needed to advance mission success.

“Our goal is to improve the user interface for our stakeholders looking for appropriate the APPEL courses to take,” said APPEL Director Roger Forsgren. “By enhancing the ability of project managers and systems engineers to locate the right course at the right time, we can better facilitate their career development.”

APPEL courses now fall into six distinct categories:


NASA Fundamentals: Explore key principles and practices for project management, systems engineering, and building NASA teams.
Building & Leading NASA Teams: Improve team leadership and effectiveness to better accomplish mission-critical work.
Program/Project Management: Learn the principles and practices of program/project management that are essential to mission success.
Systems Engineering & Engineering: Improve the ability to develop and manage complex aeronautical/astronautical systems.
Lessons Learned for Mission Success: Develop effective decision-making skills through the analysis of engineering design and project management cases.
On-Demand Learning: Access training anytime, anywhere with learning materials that include virtual courses, lectures, in-depth videos, and much more.


The new categories are located right on the home page of the APPEL website. Each category is represented by an icon that allows people to quickly and easily identify courses in that category. Practitioners can hover their cursor over each category for a quick overview, or click on the icon to go to a list of associated courses. Of course, courses can also be accessed the traditional way: by clicking on the “Course Catalog” tab on the APPEL main menu.

“In developing the new categories, we did a deep dive into the way we organize, present, and provide access to the curriculum on our website,” said APPEL Curriculum Manager Donna Wilson. “The result is a richer, more focused experience for practitioners.”

We encourage NASA practitioners to visit the APPEL website to learn more about these novel course categories, some of which feature brand new courses and approaches to learning. For example, the Lessons Learned for Mission Success category will include new courses on stimulating topics such as critical thinking and problem solving, cognitive bias in engineering decision-making, innovative frameworks for analyzing engineering successes and failures, and much more. The first exciting new offering in this category is the course Complex Decision Making in Project Management (APPEL-CDMPM). Stay tuned for information about additional new courses in early 2018!

Practitioners are invited to stop by the APPEL website today to explore the new course categories and icons, and to browse the APPEL Catalog to learn more about APPEL courses.

About the Author

Share With Your Colleagues