Get connected to e-learning - for social care providers
How to recognise good e-learning
Classroom-based training can vary a lot on the day according to the trainer and also other learners. With e-learning I know my staff are all getting the same information. I do all the courses myself first.Joy at Smartcare Epsom
Many of the factors that make e-learning effective are common to any good set of training materials, so your skills and experience in evaluating any type of training will help you evaluate e-learning. It is hard to judge a course’s quality without taking the course yourself, so spending that time will enable you to judge if it hits the mark.
Skills for Care produces a general guide for care organisations on buying training: Care Training Code for Purchasers.
It also provides guides for learning providers and for learners.
If any training providers are unwilling to let you see whole courses and to undertake assessments before you buy, you should be wary of proceeding. By completing the course yourself, you will have a chance to evaluate if it contains the right depth of information.
Look out for:
- insufficient depth: sometimes content can be very good as an introduction, but not go into enough depth to cover all your training needs. You might still want to use it but work out what supplementary information you need to give and how.
- too much depth: sometimes the training can assume you know too much at the start and use unfamiliar technical terms and unexplained jargon. This is very likely to put learners off.
Good e-learning requires the right topics to be covered. It might be mapped to Skills for Care Knowledge and Skills Sets for example, written by an expert in that area or come from an organisation with an established reputation such as SCIE. The course should have accurate information reflecting up-to-date best practice, and also fit with your own organisation’s policies and practices.
A good learning experience
e-Learning will only be effective if it is interesting and engaging enough to hold the learners’ attention. This can be achieved in a number of ways:
- well-written texts
- inclusion of interactive activities to allow learners to test their understanding and get them involved in their learning
- powerful images
- high quality audio and video to bring content alive.
In addition you need to consider:
- Is it easy to navigate? Getting lost in the system, or being baffled by passwords or usernames gives learners an off-putting experience.
- Can you support and integrate it? People will only have a good learning experience if it works with your organisation’s IT systems, and it works with the rest of the training system.
- Do your staff have the IT skills to access it? Ask learning providers what skills are needed to access the course, and whether they provide any support for learners to acquire these skills.
For the content to be effective it needs to be at the right level for staff and their job role.
Does the level of the training reflect the level of action and responsibility in their daily work?
E.g. information designed for nursing staff can be good content for nurses, but could give less experienced staff the wrong idea about what was expected of them.
Good e-learning is not just about enjoyable learning. It needs to be effective and result in an improvement in the way staff go about their work, and deliver care. There are a few ways that you can help make sure that you get these good outcomes.
- Is the testing robust? e-Learning producers tend to have a vested interest in learners passing. This can mean that the testing can be very easy. As well as doing the course yourself, make sure you also take the assessment. If the testing isn’t up to scratch, or testing isn’t provided, consider supporting the course with assessment of your own.
- Is it making an impact on staff? It is easier to see if you are making an impact on the way staff are working if you are monitoring the learners’ progress. As discussed in the previous section, this is easier if you have a learning management system.
e-Learning should enable staff to deliver services more effectively. You are unlikely to find that out straight away. Allow several people to complete the training, and also some time afterwards to let them use the knowledge they have gained in their work.