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APPEL Knowledge Services Wins Headquarters Honor Award for Team Excellence

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard present Chief Knowledge Officer Roger Forsgren an award at the NASA Honor Award ceremony Thursday, November 8, 2018 at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Merger of APPEL and CKO creates synergies that strengthen both functions. 

The team who worked to merge the Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership (APPEL) with NASA’s Chief Knowledge Office (CKO), to create APPEL Knowledge Services was recognized on November 8, with the prestigious 2018 Headquarters Honor Award for Team Excellence.

“This past year we had a huge task to integrate APPEL and CKO and the team responded with the usual enthusiasm and dedication they’re known for,” said Roger Forsgren, NASA’s Chief Knowledge Officer and APPEL Director. “It’s great to work for an agency that takes the time to recognize your hard work and accomplishments.”

With the merger, the Office of the Chief Engineer created a powerful new resource for NASA’s technical professionals. This new resource for training and knowledge sharing significantly expands the effectiveness of both crucial functions.

Before the merger, more than 3,000 members of NASA’s technical workforce turned to APPEL each year for training, becoming better equipped to succeed. Likewise, thousands turned to the CKO to share and access lessons learned and case studies, enabling them to learn from the experiences of others in similar situations, speeding their path to success.

By merging these two key functions into APPEL Knowledge Services, a team from multiple contractors working together seamlessly with civil service leadership, created a central, agency-wide resource. The team removed communication barriers, adopted shared technology tools, and developed procedures to work effectively across the two functions.

Through the merger, however, the team went beyond this, creating a synergy between the two functions that amplifies the reach and effectiveness of both and advances the mission of Headquarters to educate and train the technical workforce.

An example of this synergy is the APPEL Knowledge Services website, which has 25 percent more traffic than the former websites, combined. This means the APPEL team is now reaching an even higher percentage of NASA’s technical workforce with these critical resources, which increase efficiencies and performance, further supporting project and mission success.

“I am very proud of how our team pulled together and solved the challenges this project presented. Our new website is a one-stop shop for NASA’s technical workforce, that we have continued to enhance in the months following the merger,” said Steve Angelillo, APPEL’s Deputy Director. “This award is a great honor.”

The team also innovated with the training curriculum. Between July 2017 and June 2018, the APPEL Knowledge Services team delivered 187 courses to 3,444 members of the NASA technical workforce. These courses provide attendees with the skills they need to achieve mission success. In post-course surveys, overall customer satisfaction is a near-perfect 4.8 out of 5. That impressive satisfaction level reflects this team’s deep commitment to customer service.

Following the merger, the team has incorporated knowledge from the CKO function into the training curriculum, increasing the profile and expanding the reach of these crucial knowledge resources. The APPEL team has also created a new curriculum category—Lessons Learned for Mission Success—with seven courses that highlight CKO resources in the training environment. Conversely, incorporating these relatable CKO resources, such as lessons learned, into training has helped increase how relevant NASA’s technical workforce views the courses.

The team uses the four-level Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model to gauge the long-term, real world effectiveness of all training, and the results far exceed expectations by the model’s creators.

The merger also incorporates NASA’s network of chief knowledge officers from across the agency into the new APPEL Knowledge Services team, contributing innovative ideas and experiences to enhance training and knowledge sharing. This integration of the training and knowledge sharing disciplines has given the NASA knowledge community increased exposure to training courses aimed at strengthening NASA’s learning culture.

This award recognizes that APPEL Knowledge Services is a highly visible resource for NASA’s technical workforce that innovates by integrating training and knowledge sharing in a way that serves as a model across the federal government.

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