25th August 2016 Written by Dave Evans at the Skills Platform

Image: E-learning.E-learning is unquestionably revolutionising training within the health sector, with benefits including greater flexibility, improved learner experience and superior cost-efficiencies all cited as the reasons behind its success.

However, there are growing concerns over the quality of training and whether this could impact on patient care. With the well-documented financial strain on the health sector increasing, careful budgeting is paramount and time is precious, so eLearning provides a potent solution for training a large workforce.

Since the launch of the Care Certificate in April 2015 the industry has seen increasing numbers of training providers making the most of the options available to them, and like all industries when the market becomes flooded, costs are reduced and quality potentially compromised. The wide range of eLearning options available to healthcare professionals today makes it vitally important to do the appropriate research before selecting your course of choice.

Up-to-date regulations and compliancy

Inadequate training can have dramatic consequences on the quality of patient care; ensuring that staff are properly educated in their roles is vital if standards are to be maintained.

Consequently, it is imperative that your course provider’s development teams work closely with industry experts in order to ensure that curriculums are in-line with current best practises. This ensures that your staff are adhering to the frequently changing regulations, allowing them to follow current guidelines and keep patient care a priority.

Skills for Health has designed the Core Skills Training Framework to help establish consistency across the health service and remove the need for unnecessary training, which historically has taken up valuable time and resources.

By streamlining the training of such a large workforce (over 1.6 million employees - the NHS is one of the largest single employers in the world), valuable patient care time is restored and cost-effectiveness increased.

Increased efficiency and consistency

Managing consistency with face-to-face training is a huge challenge for the health sector; senior management typically want to train as many employees simultaneously as possible, to keep individual costs low. On paper this is desirable, but removing a large section of the workforce for training results in staff shortages and other inefficiencies. E-learning allows participants to complete courses at their own pace, in their own homes, thereby increasing their ability to process and engage with information whilst leaving their work schedules intact.

Consistency is far easier to implement in e-learning than in face-to-face training, as course materials can be updated immediately with healthcare best practices, and real-time reports are available for analysis of a participant’s progress and compliance.

High-quality courses will also emphasise learner engagement at the core of their curriculum, condensing essential information into visual formats such as infographics, charts and videos. Visual formats help the learner to process and engage with the course materials in a more memorable way, boosting their ability to recall relevant information.

The importance of follow-up assessments

Undoubtedly there are benefits to quality e-learning courses but it is vital to reinforce the skills developed with on-the-job assessments. This ensures that the information is correctly applied in a practical environment; qualified oversight is crucial to ensuring that e-learning is properly implemented.

In the event team members are passing courses but struggling with follow-up assessments, it’s possible that the information is not presented comprehensively or in a way that translates well to practical tasks.

With appropriate management and time investment e-learning can transform your workforce, facilitating the development of mandatory core skills with great efficiency in a cost-effective manner.

For a more detailed insight into e-learning, please download our free guide - How to successfully implement e-Learning into healthcare practices