NLMS eLearning Champions – Going the extra eLearning mile
New technologies are radically changing what and how we teach, while simultaneously enhancing the way the workforce learns. To ensure that all learners are supported with the delivery of new teaching methods many organisations advocate the use of eLearning champions. eLearning champions are agents of change supporting and effectively embedding the eLearning culture whilst ensuring that every learner is sufficiently supported. There are many characteristics of a good eLearning champion and the approach can be tailored to fit the local organisations needs and cultures. An eLearning champion will have some or all of the following characteristics: skilled in eLearning willingness to share expertise, with passion and enthusiasm learner focused and able to communicate effectively with people at all levels able to provide tailored eLearning solutions and advice persistent in their approach a long term commitment in promoting eLearning Here we focus on three NHS Trusts who have used an eLearning champion approach that is integrated within an eLearning strategy. This highlights the benefits of having such roles on supporting eLearning. Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust have 150 NLMS eLearning champions that support eLearning as well as other training delivery methods with its 7800 workforce. The NLMS eLearning champions are used on a monthly basis to communicate key messages around the current training work streams. They are also a vital resource in identifying problems around accessing eLearning which allows the training team to quickly resolve those issues. They proactively advertise the use of these individuals through NLMS awareness sessions, within their learning and development intranet pages, weekly email bulletins, team briefings, and attachments to payslips. Originally Trust training leads were recruited to these roles then team leaders and service managers were then encouraged to nominate eLearning champions from within their teams. This was to ensure that learners could directly contact and identify their NLMS eLearning champion from within their own team. The importance of these individuals was recently witnessed as a result of the support provided during an e-Audiology course. The feedback received from delegates was extremely positive and they went on to investigate further what other eLearning courses are available through NLMS.
The tangible benefits witnessed with the use of NLMS eLearning champions at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is the increase of learner engagement towards eLearning at ward and department level. The overall benefit has been the time and resources saved in the learning and development team as well as the IT training team. Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust Top Tips and advice to others
Engage with mandatory training leads from the beginning Communicate the need and importance for a NLMS eLearning champion at a local level and provide enough information to encourage others to become involved Develop a rolling programme of communication with your NLMS eLearning champion network and encourage two way communication Establish an NLMS steering group that disseminates information for communication to the NLMS eLearning champion network Keep eLearning information fresh by supplying the NLMS eLearning champion’s new information in small amounts on a regular basis to ensure that there is always something new that they can feedback to learners. It also instils the message that they are valued members of the NLMS project team.
Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has been working hard, with the support of the IT department, to implement a well resourced and supportive learning infrastructure. eLearning is fully embedded into the Trust as there has been a culture change within the organisation. This has been a long process of encouraging and supporting people and as a direct result perceptions have changed and staff are now steadily embracing eLearning and are witnessing the benefits. "I have to say that the new NLMS online training system has been a great addition to staff training" Staff Nurse By communicating with staff the Trust has identified a number of staff who are enthusiastic about eLearning and keen to support others. NLMS eLearning champions have been a great asset for the eLearning team for Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. The key benefit to all the staff is that they have had one dedicated person who knows where to access supporting materials straight away and could troubleshoot any minor issues and inform the eLearning Team of any errors. “The effectiveness of using these individuals with the support offered through the Trust’s intranet site has been a valuable combined resource which has really supported our learners.” John Bramwell, Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. The Trust’s Intranet eLearning support section includes a short video displaying the content currently available and other such topics as Known Issues, How to Access, Supporting Documents, Contact Details, Glossary, Frequently Asked Questions and New Developments. The intranet site is also a very useful resource for supporting staff out of hours when the eLearning team is unavailable. The measure of effectiveness has been calculated by the number of completions against the number of registered users. If the number of registered users is near to the number of completions then the eLearning team knows that they are at least completing one programme after they have issued them a user account. To further evaluate the eLearning effectiveness for the learner the Trust will be adding a user survey to the internal website February 2011
which will focus on assessing the usability, functionality and the overall experience of the NLMS. Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust Top Tips and advice to others
Be aware of the content of the programme you are rolling out. This will help you to easily troubleshoot any content queries Provide a support system to help troubleshoot any queries quickly and easily Understand the structure of Oracle Learning Management reports. This will help you to extract the correct usage statistics, to track progress of users and identify any programme issues due to lack of completions Offer eLearning as an alternative to face-to-face training as users have different learning styles and needs Create or use good quality, engaging and interactive content which is relevant to the user and captures their attention throughout the learning experience. Word of mouth is very powerful
Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has a proactive and supportive approach to eLearning with a balanced approach to eLearning developments. The NLMS has been rolled out to 2000 employees, which includes 1500 full time and the rest bank staff. During the implementation of the NLMS considerations had to be taken into account with regards to the varied levels of IT skills in the workforce and the impact of eLearning, especially on staff with limited keyboard skills. In order to address this and provide further support to learners they currently have 49 NLMS eLearning champions in place covering around 900 staff. This number is expected to rise as they are steadily witnessing an increase in nominations for eLearning champions. The strategy is to ensure that all areas and staff within the Trust will have access to a NLMS eLearning champion. The NLMS eLearning champion’s role will be to act as a ‘Local Super User’ to support staff in their locality accessing the NLMS, resolving problems locally and where possible act as a focal point for raising issues to the learning network. Their role is also to be used as ‘New Course Tester’, testing new local courses that they are looking to roll out to staff and to provide constructive feedback on courses and what additional guidance should be provided to staff when they access the courses for themselves. Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust advertises their NLMS eLearning champions through weekly electronic newsletters which are sent to all Trust staff with an email account. Departments that do not have an email addresses are provided with a printed copy of newsletter which managers then disseminate to their staff. They also promote NLMS eLearning champions, their function and contact details to network managers and team leaders when sending out monthly training performance information. They also proactively promote eLearning by creating screensaver messages on all of the Trusts PC’s, this is to ensure the messages and networks of support reach the required audience. Initially they recruited NLMS eLearning champions through nominations and now have requested that network managers and team leaders promote the importance of having an eLearning champion to support their area. They encouraged all staff requesting eLearning to consult their champion for help in the first instance. If they did not have a NLMS eLearning champion in place the NLMS team have communicated that they should first contact their manager. In order to effectively communicate their NLMS eLearning champions within the Trust, they have advertised their role and support on Intranet web pages and produced a specific eLearning help page. General behavioural patterns of their learners have suggested that learners will generally contact their NLMS eLearning champion when logging into the NLMS February 2011
system for the first time. This has given the learners confidence in accessing the eLearning courses which for many is their first eLearning experience. The most immediate success with using NLMS eLearning champions is the reduction in general queries coming to their central learning network. This has allowed the team to deal with more complex issues and provide a better overall service to all learners. They have also witnessed an increase of access requests from learners where there is a NLMS eLearning champion supporting a particular area. This has showed the learning team that staff are more willing to access the system when they know that support is in place. The Trust has also seen a rise in compliance for training where eLearning is the primary delivery method. Overall benefits have been a reduction in queries coming into our learning network which has freed up more capacity for other tasks. The team regularly have feedback from the NLMS eLearning champions that have tested the courses which will then directly inform other learners. The Trust has also taken these comments into account and improved their current eLearning courses. eLearning effectiveness has also been measured through performance related training statistics. From these statistics the Trust can see which eLearning courses are the most successful and highlighting areas which are not performing as well, and if this corresponds to an area that do not have the support of a NLMS eLearning champion. Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Top Tips and advice to others:
Provide face to face NLMS training where possible as this allows you to identify any PC or network problems that an area may be having Encourage those that are sceptical of eLearning to volunteer as a NLMS eLearning champion. These are the best people to highlight any issues or problems that staff may face A NLMS eLearning champion can train others to the same role Recruit NLMS eLearning champions before the rollout so everything is in place when you start Produce as many communication documents as possible, the NLMS eLearning champion can then distribute these to staff and start networking with learners Where more than one person in a department wants to become a NLMS eLearning champion, offer a secondary or deputy role
The NHS ESR Central Team would like to thank Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for their support in preparing this article. If you would like to contact the NHS Trusts with regards to further information on how they implemented eLearning champions then please contact: Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Nick Wilson Learning Network Operations Nicholas.Wilson@cumbria.nhs.uk
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust James Short Organisational Development Facilitator James.Short@midyorks.nhs.uk
Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust John Bramwell eLearning & Library Systems Manager John.Bramwell@pat.nhs.uk