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Electronic Staff Record

The National Learning Management System (NLMS)


ESR The National Learning Management System (NLMS)

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Contents Introduction...........................................................................................................


Case Studies

Case Study 0ne: Modernising staff learning opportunities...........................................................................................

Case Study TWO: Widening access to elearning for hospital staff.....................................................................................................

Case Study THREE: IT innovation widens access to elearning at

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Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.........................................................


The Benefits of NLMS............................................................................................


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Introduction About the NLMS The NLMS is a free-to-use elearning system available to all NHS staff with a record on ESR. If your organisation has not begun to use the NLMS, your Training and Development team should get in touch with your regional ESR Operations and Benefits Account Manager who will be able to review the implementation options available to them. You can find out more about the implementation options at

Elearning on the NLMS Once the NLMS is implemented in an organisation, individuals can currently access almost 60 national elearning courses, with 20 more planned by Dec 2009. All the courses available through the NLMS are supplied by National content providers who are, at present, e-Learning for Healthcare, NHS Connecting for Health, Skills Academy for Health Core Learning Unit and Social Care Institute for Excellence.

Support available to implement the NLMS The NHS ESR Central Team has support in place to help NHS organisations to get the most benefit out of implementing the NLMS locally. NLMS Account Managers are available to ensure project management, IT solutions and roll-out can all be effectively achieved. To get in touch with your local NLMS Account Manager visit

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Case Study One

Case Study 0ne: Modernising staff learning opportunities One of the main challenges facing the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust when they decided to implement the National Learning Management System (NLMS) was rolling it out to staff spread across a wide geographical area. With clear communications and effective project management, the Project Team successfully completed its roll-out plan and has advice to share with other Trusts.

About the Trust The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust is the main provider of acute care services in Cornwall. With 6,000 staff, the Trust serves a population of around 500,000 people, a figure often doubled by holidaymakers during the busiest times of the year. The Trust is responsible for providing services at three sites across the county: n Royal

The Trust decided to modernise the way it trains its staff by implementing the NLMS. The Trust chose the NLMS rather than any other products because of its integration with the Electronic Staff Record. It offers a comprehensive HR functionality including learning, performance and competencies management, skillsgap analysis and future development planning. The Trust was also attracted by the possibility of running local courses alongside national elearning. HR Director and Project Sponsor, Jo Perry, explains, “The NLMS has got the modern functionality to give benefits right across the health community and put Cornwall in the forefront of training management in the NHS. It appealed to the Trust as it’s a robust system underpinning many major NHS projects such as Agenda for Change and National Programme for IT as well as the Electronic Staff Record.”

Cornwall Hospital, Treliske, Truro Cornwall Hospital, Penzance n St Michael’s Hospital, Hayle n West

The Project Team n Debbie

Emerson, Administration Super User, Training, Education and Development n Merien Hicks, Information and Systems Facilitator n Dorota Savage, Project Manager n Jo Perry, Human Resources Director and Executive Project Sponsor n Mark Saddington, Training, Education and Development Manager and Executive Project Sponsor The Project Team worked closely with TREAD – the Training, Education and Development Team and CITS – Cornwall IT Services.

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ESR The National Learning Management System (NLMS)

Keys to Success

Hurdles to Overcome

n Make

n Provide

n Highlight

n There

sure that clear communications about the need for mandatory training compliance, by all employees, come direct from the Trust’s Chief Executive, as this will highlight the importance of completing the training the links between training compliance and Agenda for Change, which gives NHS staff the opportunity to engage more in the appraisal process and provides competencies for each post of using a robust project management methodology (such as PRINCE2) proved invaluable to the Trust – particularly the change management aspects

easy access to the training material by placing the elearning instructions next to the Log in link on the Intranet page so the users can use the system quickly and easily from their first log in is a genuine shortage of resources and time in the NHS so any additional demand is often unwelcome. Promote change as progress not an inconvenience - in many cases the resistance of change is fuelled by lack of understanding of what it entails

n Experience

What has the Project Team Learned? n Designing

n Build

the NLMS profile among staff. Adding a link to the NLMS to the Trust’s intranet homepage means many staff will see its availability on an almost daily basis

a new elearning content approval process that involves subject matter experts gives authoring status and a level of ‘ownership’ to content

n Don’t n As

one of the pilots for NLMS implementation, the Team ensured that they promptly and correctly reported any problems – this meant that other pilots and NHS organisations implementing the NLMS in future will not encounter similar difficulties

underestimate the value of appropriate levels of communications to the correct groups of people. Although elearning has been a hot topic in the NHS for a long time, the Trust still found it difficult to establish its importance among some groups of staff, so communication needs to be tailored for this need

n Use

what already works for your organisation and your staff. As Dorota explains, “We used tried and tested ways of communicating updates with staff across the Trust - all user emails and a dedicated email account for the Training, Education and Development Team both helped to spread the key messages”

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Case Study One

Life before the NLMS Education and Training Department within Cornwall NHS provided a range of training opportunities for staff within the health community, from mandatory training through to qualification courses. Within the Cornwall Health Community capturing local data for general skills and competencies training was labour intensive for the training department members who carried it out, and often resulted in incomplete data

The NLMS future for Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

n The

n Managers

had no easy method for monitoring training undertaken

n Trust

managers also had difficulties in fully analysing staff training needs

NLMS has been fully adopted by the Trust and the Project Team is keen for it to be promoted as a mechanism to modernise training delivery which would benefit all current and future staff at the Trust. With 700 courses to date accessed by staff, the project has already brought major success, but the Trust will continue to work to place elearning at the heart of Royal Cornwall’s culture. As Dorota explains, “Using the NLMS can help any Trust to become a ‘learning organisation’ at all levels – one that is skilled at creating, acquiring, interpreting and retaining knowledge, and then modifying its behaviour to reflect that new knowledge”.

Life with the NLMS For More Information n Staff

at all Trust sites have a clear view of training activity linked to their own workforce competencies and the training needs of the health community improvements to the Trust’s IT infrastructure, more training can be delivered through elearning. It also means that learning at all sites throughout the county can be managed remotely

If you would like an informal discussion about the experiences of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust then please contact

n With

Dorota Savage, NLMS Project Manager at


reports highlighting the approach of the expiry dates provide a strategic tool to manage the staff compliance. Training and human resource professionals understand that people are any organisation’s greatest asset. Appropriate training through NLMS is essential to ensuring competency and best practice in the workforce and increases employees’ productivity and morale Electronic Staff Records | 5


ESR The National Learning Management System (NLMS)

Case Study TWO:

Widening access to elearning for hospital staff When you set yourself the challenge to implement the National Learning Management System (NLMS) for more than 10,000 staff across one of England’s largest teaching Trusts, it’s vital that you have effective project management. The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust shares its experiences. Valerie Cullen, Acting Head of Learning & Development at ORH says, “We have been using elearning at the Trust since 1995. It’s an effective alternative to classroom based learning and a useful way of widening participation in statutory and mandatory training. Having been part of the original 2008 NLMS pilot project, we were keen to take it further and be one of the first NHS organisations to make sure all our staff could access the elearning available. We decided to focus on one course – the Core Learning Unit’s Fire Safety Awareness – as this learning is a key requirement for all staff within the Trust.” Due to the size of the organisation, statutory, mandatory and essential training pressures and the need to meet NHS Litigation Authority compliance levels the Trust

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needed to adopt a strategy which would enable it to increase training provision - while keeping within budget constraints. All these factors influenced the Trust’s decision to become part of the National Learning Management System (NLMS) elearning project. In August 2009, the NLMS went live across the whole Trust and is now available to all 10,250 staff.

About the Trust The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust (ORH) is an acute teaching Trust, with 10,250 staff working across three hospitals in Oxfordshire as well as satellite clinics within the county and in neighbouring counties.

The project team n Rainy

Faisey- Deputy Director of Human Resources and ESR Executive Sponsor n Valerie Cullen - Acting Head of Learning & Development and Project Lead n Pat Giles – E-Learning & KSF Advisor and Project Manager n Phil Pinney – Head of Information Management & Technology, Oxford Health Informatics Services (OHIS) IT Shared Services

Case Study Two

Keys to success

Hurdles to overcome

n Communicate

n PC

n Raise

n Access

the benefits. Publish your intentions to launch the NLMS and issue ESR logins and passwords widely and early. Tell staff what the NLMS is and what elearning they will be able to access from their PCs, and crucially, when and how they will be able to access it awareness of the NLMS. Ensure that you have measures in place to ensure that the rest of the organisation is fully committed to accessing and using the elearning available through the NLMS

n Implement

project structure and resources appropriate to the needs of the Trust. The Project Team at ORH found that in most instances they were able to deal with any issues and risks that arose in line with protocol and expectations

Java configuration – a review found that the Trust had several versions of Java software installed, in addition to the one recommended for using the NLMS. Since some system updates within the NLMS Project the risk of incompatibility has been eliminated to the NLMS - With 10,250 ORH staff needing usernames and passwords this could have proved unachievable for the two system administrators to undertake – threatening successful implementation. The Trust was able to take up the offer of a free service from the NHS Central Team and the accounts were set up with agreed dates

n Giving

out usernames and passwords to staff members – To save time, the Project Team agreed to send these details to staff through departmental line managers rather than to each individual user

n Supporting

uptake - The Trust ran multiple drop-in sessions to offer one-to-one support for users logging in for the first time – not only was this helpful for first time users, but it also led to fewer than anticipated calls to the IT helpdesk / support line

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What has the team learned?

Life before the NLMS

The project team found that sticking to a few key project management principles enabled them to maximise the success of the NLMS implementation within the Trust:

n The

Engaging critical resources is essential from the outset. The ORH created a Project Board to ensure all relevant parties had both a presence and input into the direction and decisions required during the project. Ensuring that managers understand and support the need to allow staff time to carry out elearning within their working day. Where this is not possible it will be necessary to put in place an approved process for recording and managing time off in lieu.

Trust wanted to address issues around the number of elearning providers and access points used n Recording and reporting processes needed to be improved by reducing the need to transfer data from multiple databases with varying levels of user progress and learning history n Data had to be transferred manually from the provider databases into the employee’s ESR learning record n Staff frequently had to be away from their work to attend essential classroom based learning, creating pressure on clinical areas

Life with the NLMS n As

Working closely with related projects within the Trust. As with most NHS organisations, there are numerous projects being worked on simultaneously at any one time and the NLMS Project Team had to work closely with the Registration Partnership Project (RPP) Project Manager to ensure the Smartcard and NLMS projects worked together rather than cause any major conflict. As a result of communications within such working relationships, and the implementation of NLMS, the number of expected Smartcard users expanded from 100 to 10,000.

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a direct result of implementing the NLMS the Trust has stopped using their local Fire and Safety course and now actively promotes the national course provided by the NLMS

Case Study Two

The NLMS future for Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Every staff member - 10,250 people - at ORH now has access to the NLMS so the focus for the Project Team in future is to ensure that take up is strong and maintained. The Team will review the processes and structure they have in place to ensure that it continues to be the best model for the Trust. Recognising that users have differing learning styles and abilities, and that staff join the organisation frequently, the team also expects to carry out refresher training from time to time. At the same time the Team intends to increase the promotion of national and local courses available to users. This will include the new e-Learning for

Healthcare course, Safeguarding Children and Young People, as well as e-Audiology and the forthcoming National Blood Service courses (available late 2009). As the Team expects to increase the use of elearning for all staff, it is likely that they will also introduce remote access for learners, which will improve accessibility. Valerie adds, “We have a very supportive SHA (NHS South Central) which offers a content hosting facility for all Trusts within in the region. We are looking forward to sharing our knowledge and experiences of the NLMS - and perhaps local content - with other Trusts in the region.�

Further information If you would like to know more about how Oxford implemented the NLMS, or have any questions from reading the above please contact Pat Giles, E-Learning & KSF Advisor, 01865 231646.

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Case Study Three

Case Study THREE:

IT innovation widens access to elearning at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust Recognising a need to expand elearning access for staff within one North West Acute Trust, to help them comply with changes to the mandatory training programme, led to the development of an innovative IT solution for implementing the National Learning Management System (NLMS).

About the Trust Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust is an Acute Trust of approximately 3,000 staff split over two sites which are approximately eight miles apart. The Trust went live with ESR in October 2007.

The Project Team Sharon Partington, HR Director and Project Sponsor at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust explains, “We decided to pursue the NLMS route to address the needs of mandatory training and role specific training within the Trust. Our IT team developed an innovative solution to PC configuration which helped us to save time and costs when implementing the NLMS across the Trust – it also meant that they are able to provide support to users much more easily.” During the last couple of years the Trust had made some elearning content available to staff but found that recording results was dependent on candidates printing certificates and the Training & Development team (2.8 whole time equivalent) manually inputting results into their existing LMS (the ESR OLM module). This was time consuming and could be a somewhat unreliable process, and the Trust realised that it could be significantly improved with the deployment of the NLMS.

n Sharon

Partington, Director of HR – Project Sponsor Halliday, IT Co-ordinator – Project Manager n Sue Bland, Training & Development Manager – Project Support n Colette

Keys to Success There have been three important aspects to the Trust’s NLMS implementation; planning, IT engagement and testing. n Thorough

project planning is of paramount importance to the initial and ongoing success of this roll-out. While there was a plan in place for the initial small-scale pilot project, the approach was informal and the roll-out organic. The larger scale full roll-out required more detailed planning and needed close attention at each stage. The Trust planned several workshops where the NLMS Implementation Consultant was available to help staff registering and logging on for the first time

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ESR The National Learning Management System (NLMS)

n Project

Manager & IT Co-ordinator Colette Halliday has an excellent relationship with the Trust's IT team which helped the implementation project enormously. As Colette explains, “Although we overcame our technical issues with a centralised server solution, this was only possible because we put a great deal of effort into keeping the IT team informed about the project, the drivers for the project and the project progress. If the IT team can understand the benefits of having such a system in place, they become much more enthusiastic about helping.” When it comes to working across departments within an organisation, communication is vital and the main message here is to make sure your IT department is involved from the very start of the project and is aware of the business need for elearning pilot project focused on testing the system. During full roll-out, the team continued with this principle and tested the implementation approach by reviewing new processes and the national content, as well as their user guides, the user roll-out approach and the messages delivered at the launch sessions. There's not always a tried and tested approach for every task in a project plan, and the team found that having some ‘critical friends’ and testers on hand along the way really helped

n The

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Hurdles to Overcome 1. Too much time out of the workplace for mandatory training and no means of having assurance that learning had taken place. With an increasing number of subjects being made mandatory it became essential to review the mandatory training process and make more content available as elearning. While this will not reduce the amount of learning required it will make it much more flexible to access and will enable departments to manage their own training more easily. It also reduces the amount of time spent inputting by the Training & Development team since the NLMS is part of ESR and, therefore, all progress is available on the staff portable training record. As more staff access the online courses the frequency of the face-to-face delivery option will decrease which will make a considerable saving in delivery costs. 2. Limited elearning access due to wide range of PC specs, software / plug in version conflicts. The IT department identified obstacles in deploying and maintaining software to support a learning environment across 2,000 PCs. Conflicts with other significant applications for the Trust meant that in the format originally conceived by the Training team the project would have required more resource than the IT team were able to provide in the timescales. The IT team devised an innovative solution using remote access to negate the impact of software incompatibilities and intensive update schedules, while providing access to the NLMS to all computer users in the Trust. Deployment time was reduced from weeks – even with software deployment technology – to a matter of days.

Case Study Three

Updates required to support future new courses can be tested without affecting users in the ‘live’ training environment and technical support queries since deployment have been virtually nil, relieving potential burden on the Trust’s helpdesk. Users connect to the learning environment through a remote desktop session which runs directly on the server. The server contains the software and links necessary to access the NLMS and is also used to deliver news and updates on the NLMS, such as course listings, user guides and FAQs. 3. Learner: Support ratio The Trust had a limited amount of resource for the project due to the size of the Training & Development department so the success of the project depended on the commitment and hard work of the small project team. As part of an extended pilot project for NLMS implementation, intensive and hands on support was available from the ESR Central NLMS Team. Future implementers will be able to access advice and project management guidance from the NLMS Account Management team. Colette says, “We decided to hold interactive drop-in days when staff could come along to the IT suites to log in and activate their elearning accounts as well as learn more about the system. We issued over 1,250 accounts at these sessions and sent out a further 1,100 to department managers to issue to their teams. This approach worked well and could have reached all staff if we’d had longer to deliver sessions – it’s all in the planning!”

If the IT team can understand the benefits of having such a system in place, they become much more enthusiastic about helping.

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What has the Project Team Learned?

Life before the NLMS

One of the main learning points was the need to review the national content available on the NLMS, Colette suggests “When we decided to go live with NLMS and drew up the scope, we were focussing on two locally produced courses, so there didn't seem to be an urgency to get national content in place. However, since then there have been so many national courses released that we have recognised the benefits of using it wherever possible. This meant that we were not in a position by go live to start releasing national content as we had not started the review soon enough. We’ll be working on a formalised review process in the future, so that staff can start using the new national courses regularly released to the NLMS.”

n Staff

The Team underestimated the amount of administration support that would be needed. Due to the amount of tasks needing to be tracked in the project – for example national content reviews, user accounts and launch sessions, there was a lot of time-consuming initial administration work. Factoring in some administration support earlier in the project would have enabled the team to concentrate on some of the tasks they are now undertaking, such as progressing the national content review. It would also have enabled them to offer more direct support to end users during the roll-out.

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had limited access to elearning programmes could spend up to 12 hours over a possible six separate occasions out of their department to attend mandatory training n Fragmented recording of elearning which could not be accurately reported on – impacting on NHS Litigation Authority assessments n Staff

Life with the NLMS n Elearning

is accessible to all staff 24 hours a day on site and will be available off site when the Trust implements remote access n The amount of time staff members spend outside their department has significantly reduced as more mandatory training moves to elearning n Elearning accessed through the NLMS is recorded automatically in ESR training records, freeing time for Training & Development staff to get on with other work such as the course catalogue and online prospectus maintenance n The Trust has accurate, up-to-date reporting information readily available

Case Study Three

The NLMS Future for Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust The team will carry out a full review of the national content available through the NLMS, and use it fully to address the needs of the local mandatory training schedule. The team is initiating a formal process for reviewing new content in a timely manner and notifying staff of availability. Courses are regularly added to the NLMS, so it is important to keep up to date with the latest learning available for staff. In addition, Colette says, “We are going to review the benefits of using competencies as this is important when administrating training on such a large scale. We will be able to monitor not just who has completed training, but also who needs to complete training, and by when.”

Director of HR Sharon Partington is pleased with the Trust’s participation, “We were very fortunate that as part of the NLMS extended pilot project, the support we received from the NLMS Central Team was excellent and helped us to roll-out registration to a large number of staff. Our in-house trainers are now considering which elearning programmes could replace current face-to-face mandatory training - saving staff costs in reduced time away from the workplace. We look forward to extending our use of the NLMS as new content is developed.”

For More Information If you would like to talk about the experiences of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust then please contact Colette Halliday, Project Manager, or 01695 656876 For more detailed information about how the IT team worked around the PC configuration issues, please contact Ian Mendonca, Voice & Data Services Manager, or 01704 704850

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The Benefits of NLMS

The Benefits of NLMS The NLMS is designed to be flexible and can fit in with the elearning strategies that local NHS organisations may already have in place. Depending on an organisation’s needs, there are a number of implementation models to choose from. Select the best fit from the suggested implementation models at

Key benefits of implementing the NLMS of a unified catalogue in one central location, combining online and classroom training n Structured learning paths to help monitor performance, develop the careers of your workforce, and ensure staff are meeting training regulations n Creation of tests to assess learning understanding, providing valuable feedback on whether business goals and workforce objectives are being served

National elearning content A regularly updated course catalogue is available at which gives details of all national courses.

Running elearning report Trusts can run reports to show elearning, as well as other learning activities.

n Management

Local elearning content Trusts can set up local elearning within the NLMS and can also share this content with other organisations using the NLMS.

By accessing and managing the elearning through ESR, the learner’s portable employee record is automatically updated, transferring with them throughout their NHS career. Scored tests and surveys can be created and linked to any elearning classes which are held on the employee’s record and are available for organisations to report on. Reports are provided to the national elearning content providers on a regular basis to enable them to gauge the usage of their content.

For more information about NMLS please contact your NLMS Account Manager at

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