e-learning – a note from Skills for Health

by | Jan 3, 2008 | Articles

Following our series of health care case studies at the end of 2007, Jonathan Evans from Skills for Health,  has provided Towards Maturity readers more information the collaborative work that they are involved in to develop a joined up approach to e-learning in the health sector.

E- LEARNING –A NOTE FROM SKILLS FOR HEALTH

Recent and current healthcare policies require the healthcare service to adopt and utilize new modalities to support the transformation of healthcare services. Just as in service delivery, this transformation is also expected within the context of the delivery of training and education. There is, consequently, considerable interest in how new learning technologies can be of benefit to healthcare training and development.

During the past ten years a wide range of initiatives have been implemented around e-learning. However, it is fair to say that such developments have often been piecemeal and poorly coordinated

In order  to encourage the strategic adoption of e-learning developments the National Workforce Group (NWG), in November 2005 published a  framework document, ‘Supporting Best Practice in e-learning across the NHS ‘.  A key proposal within this framework was the development of a “road map” to establish how the health sector could develop a “joined up” approach towards the adoption and deployment of e-learning, to ensure maximum appropriate use of these modern learning initiatives with minimum duplication or waste.

The roadmap was published in the document, ‘Modernising healthcare training: e-learning in healthcare services’. It called for the development of “a clear business case” – informed by both evidence of need. In making this recommendation, reference was made to developments which were:

  • Designed to maximise impact in the workplace.
  • Linked to major initiatives e.g. the NHS  Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) and National Occupational Standards (NOS).
  • Focused on seeking out best practice solutions.
  •  Able to offer portability of recognition for learning
  • Able to help the sector make optimum use of its purchasing power.Based on standards and guidelines for e-learning

The benefits of developing such a business case were identified as follows:

  • Reduces the duplication of effort in designing what are often costly and complex specifications.
  • Assist in ensuring the development of ‘joined up’ solutions linked to national priorities and initiatives.
  • Facilitates the commissioning of materials
  • Improves the engagement of employers with education and training provision
  • Improves patient care.

Since the publication of the road map, a number of steps have been taken to move the agenda forward including the recent establishment of an “E- Learning Alliance for Health”. This is a four-country group which reports to the Skills for Health Board. Represented on this group is the Department of Health e-Learning team and the Core Learning Programmes Unit,  both of whom enjoy close working relationships with Skills for Health

The Sector Skills agreements developed by Skills for Health include reference to the types of education and training solutions required by employers. These include more “just here, just now, just enough” provision,  “the use of the workplace as a key learning resource” and the  development of innovative education and training solutions which make best use of the latest technologies. Skills for Health is actively exploring e-learning approaches, with partner organisations within the sector across a number of themes. Potential for further work includes:

  • Analysis of the type(s) of E-Learning design solutions required by employers within the sector
  • Analysis of existing e-learning provision and any gaps therein
  • Interoperability across public sector organisations to maximise shared developments and usage of resources.
  • E-learning developments which more fully demonstrate and test  skills acquisition
  • Development of a costed business case for e-learning activities development for Skills for Health

Skills for Health is the sector skills council responsible for developing solutions in the health sector. Please contact them directly for further information


This article was originally created by the Work based e-learning project at e-skills UK and is reproduced with kind permission.

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