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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Learning isn’t cancelled

Learning isn’t cancelled

Learning isn’t cancelled

Workforce Virtual Learning Week 28 February – 4 March 2022

What was the issue?

A global pandemic inevitably forced the NES Healthcare Support Worker (HCSW) programme team to consider how we deliver education and training.

This was especially so for the three job families who sit under the HCSW umbrella (business and admin, estates and facilities and NMAHP) - because NES hosted their last face to face event in February 2020, just before the first lockdown.

An initial test of what this might involve, for NMAHP HCSWs, was a series of bite-sized learning workshops, run via MS Teams between June and September 2021. This provided rich learning, and provided confidence that MS Teams was a good platform for at distance learning for HCSWs.

Data told us we were increasing our geographical and service reach, with over 2,000 learners participating over the series of seven 45-minute learning events. In addition, a recent workforce survey for business and admin staff had identified particular learning needs and gaps.

What did we do?

Testing demonstrated that MS Teams was an accessible learning platform for the support workforce.

Initially three teams across NES (Events, HCSW and Organisational Development - Learning and Education OD-LE) came together to build on experience from previous HCSW face-to-face learning events.

We developed a week-long virtual learning programme, made up of 32 sessions in five different learning formats, from short skills-based sessions to longer interactive workshops.

For the first time in six years of running HCSW events, the planning team did not have to decline any applications from HCSWs and 530 delegates registered and selected their own bespoke learning programme. Staff participated from every health board and we saw active engagement from social care, charity, housing and General Practice teams. It was our most diverse delegate list to date.

In December, we invited the new Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team to collaborate with us, adding their expert skills in the use of digital learning tools. Our shared goal was to make the virtual event experience the best it can be, with delegates having an interactive learning week, without digital barriers.

The TEL team were also able to collectively and individually support presenters to choose the right tools and approaches for their workshops or presentations, and to lead on the evaluation of the delegate’s experience.

We created a playlist of all the sessions on the NES YouTube channel and commissioned a social media campaign, across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to run during and after Virtual Learning Week until the end of March. The YouTube playlist currently has 30 videos which have had over 1600 views collectively.

What next?

We are in the process of arranging a full debrief and wrap up – a collaboration of four teams across NES plus external consultants has rich learning to share.

Evaluation of delegate’s experience is the next phase of our work, to understand what worked well, what would have made it even better.

The early impact data is very positive, learning certainly has not been cancelled!

As one delegate commented:

“I think its been amazing value not only to myself but everyone who took part. The fact that you had the learning log that you could tailor to meet your own learning needs made it really special. The events I attended ran so smoothly and I was able to use the polls on the screen, some of which I hadn't seen before. I would like to express my thanks not only to the organisers but also to the facilitators, helpers on the day and speakers for giving their time for the full week to allow us to attend this unique event. Thank you so much.” 

March, 29 2022