Increasing digital training capacity

COVID-19 training

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, several working practices have had to be adapted to a digital format. We have seen schools, colleges and universities moving to deliver educational courses online via such platforms as Google Classroom, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and others. 

In this blog from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, the trust explores what they are doing in this space and the benefits they are experiencing from new ways of working.

At Guy’s and St Thomas’, we had already been delivering online statutory and mandatory training with 18 courses available digitally before the pandemic hit. At that time, traditional classroom training was offered for those who preferred the face-to-face experience. Since the pandemic, a further six courses have now become digital and ten digital induction topics were accelerated and introduced. The trust is now also looking at ways to provide digital training in basic life support and manual handling.

When we first introduced digital training in 2017, there was some initial resistance, but this was quickly overcome when we were able to demonstrate to staff the quality of the courses and displayed how they improved compliance. 

Digital training has also expanded into medical simulation training which has seen high engagement levels and positive feedback from the students. The trust has also looked at how we can deliver student supervision differently, using a variety of live Microsoft Team sessions, quizzes and assessments.

Introducing a successful system

Our team at the trust found that planning and ensuring you have the right infrastructure to support the learning, was key to a successful digital training experience.
Top tips to introducing a new training system:

  • Liaise with IT at the very beginning to understand what platforms are ok to run on your systems and how content will work for your delegates.
  • Have a platform that is easy to use and simple to log in to.
  • Have regular run throughs to ensure you know the content and what works.
  • Have two people to facilitate an online session and one person to monitor any live chat box.
  • Provide an email address for staff to send issues or questions to throughout the module.
  • Have a system to log attendance at the beginning and end of a session.

We also found that content needed to be regularly updated to reflect changes to policies or procedures, so we have introduced a topic lead for each area, to take responsibility for this.

We have begun using Padlet on some e-learning modules, which is an online post-it note function, which allows staff to ask questions anonymously.

Also, it cannot be assumed that all staff will have access to a computer, so providing a central place for staff to book and use is key to a successful implementation.

What’s next?

The trust is also looking at which other statutory courses could be moved to the digital platform, producing video training sessions and moving leadership training online.

We believe the way we deliver training will continue to evolve as staff become more confident in accessing digital training. The trust will continue to work to produce online training sessions to provide flexible and learner focused sessions, that support both mandatory and non-mandatory objectives.

This blog is a collection of views from Ruth Sivanesan, Richard Goodwin and David Dutton, members of the Training and Development team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

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