February 28 is Digital Learning Day, created by the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed). This is a day dedicated to raising awareness of innovative practices in learning, to ensure that “we have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities”, no matter where we are. Here is the view of eLearning For You‘s Lauren Smith.
An industry that’s ever-growing, health and social care in the UK is beginning to harness digital learning so that staff are equipped with the skills and knowledge to maintain a high standard of care.
Digital learning comprises many different tools and applications that help to support learning. This includes eLearning, which is completing training online; or blended learning, which refers to a combination of online and face-to-face training. The explosion in technology means that care providers can offer employees a more flexible way of completing their essential training. This can save the entire organisation time and money.
The digital age has given the sector the opportunity to manage almost anything from a mobile device, such as updating patient medication charts.
The most popular way the industry is implementing this type of learning is through the deployment of a Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS is a software application that allows you to create, deliver and report on your training in your organisation. It handles the management and delivery of your organisation’s eLearning, giving your staff the ability to complete their training wherever they are, at any time. CoolCare, an intuitive care home management software system, provides users with a training matrix to aid compliance when managing mandatory training, making it easy to understand who is and who isn’t compliant, which is vital in all organisations and is a CQC requirement.
Digital learning is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. With an array of benefits, it’s easy to understand why the industry is adopting an online training approach. Whilst face-to-face training, the more traditional form of learning, offers a practical lesson to learners, it can be extremely costly and a single training course could take between 4-8 hours. However, eLearning means you no longer have to consider the costs of the trainer, travel, resources, or the cover costs of the staff who are completing their training, saving you hundreds or even thousands on your learning and development budget. This is why digital learning is so favourable in the industry because, often, care providers can deploy a new learning solution quickly and train their team for a less.
Digital learning also offers employees the ability to complete their training at any time, whether they are at home or at work. It’s easily accessible, and in an industry where people are stretched for time, learning digitally makes it easy for employees to return to an online course at a more convenient time, rather than being sat in a classroom session for a whole day.
It’s clear to see the benefits of digital learning, and in an age where technology is only going to advance and improve, there’s no doubt that the demand for online training will grow. However, it doesn’t come without its limitations. Sometimes in health and social care, there are some subjects where online content can only scratch the surface which means employees might not fully grasp the subject matter in hand. For example, an online training course like Basic Life Support can introduce learners to the basics of what they need to know. However, face-to-face training for this same course can enhance their skills and knowledge, as learners are physically able to see, understand and practice how to administer CPR in order to save someone’s life. This means that a more blended approach to learning might be required so that employees receive face-to-face interaction in order to gain a better understanding.
Another limitation associated with digital learning is people not having the skills to complete training online. We live in an era where people are living longer and the retirement age is increasing, and with the industry experiencing a lacking workforce, it’s not uncommon for staff to work beyond retirement age. Whilst technology is becoming bigger and better, it doesn’t come without its challenges. With screens reducing in size and complex systems being put in place, it’s likely that many in this industry are finding it hard to adapt to this new way of working. For many care providers, the implementation of a new digital system can be a cultural shock for many of their employees because of the sudden change to their usual working methods in order to accommodate this new technology. This can diminish their enthusiasm to engage with digital systems, leading to fewer people completing their training thus affecting compliance. It’s essential that care providers support their staff with their online learning, giving them the opportunity to implement what they have learned from their training within the home or care environment so they are able to put into practice their knowledge and skills.
Digital learning is leading the way in training for care providers, where in most cases face-to-face training can be replaced by an online or blended learning programme. Whilst there are limitations to online learning, such as little or no face-to-face interaction, it’s easy to understand why digital learning is the preferred option for care service providers, and why we are celebrating the advances in this technology today. Digital Learning Day is a celebration of innovation in high-quality online learning and the efficiencies of using modern day technology to strengthen the learning experience for learners. By the care industry adopting modern tools to enhance learning, this gives staff the opportunity to succeed further in their role as they gain further knowledge and skills with improved training. A plethora of benefits and cost savings, there’s no doubt that digital learning will continue to lead the way in the industry of health and social care.