The ‘NHSX Adult Social Care Technology and Digital Skills Review’ was published in December 2021. This review is a comprehensive analysis of the use of technology in the adult social care sector and the digital skills of various staff groups. Lots of people in the sector have been talking about the increasing use of technology in social care over the last few years and this report provides quantifiable evidence that this is the case.
There are many interesting elements in the report, but one of the particularly compelling stories is that 62% of care workers reported that they had increased their use of technology in the workplace and 76% felt that digital learning was an essential part of their career progression. These figures mean that it isn’t surprising that more and more care providers are turning to e-Learning to help with staff training.
E-Learning, or electronic learning, is a method of formal training which is accessed via a computer or other devices. Staff can use their own mobiles or tablets, or computers and devices provided by their organisations to complete training on a wide range of topics. E-Learning can be really beneficial for staff. Care staff can complete training at a time which suits them and this is often delivered bite-sized chunks which can more easily fit in around busy work schedules.
Skills for Care’s #RetainToGain campaign highlighted that care organisations credited investing in the learning and development of their staff with improving retention. When staff felt supported and engaged with developing their skills, they felt valued by their organisations and were more likely to progress their careers in the organisation.
E-Learning opens the door to a wide range of training courses, some of which are developed specifically for the adult social care sector and some of which focus on a specific training area. For example, Altura Learning, a Skills for Care Centre for Excellence, has dedicated training courses for residential, home care and disability support services.
As with adopting any new technology, providers should always consider how this will impact their service and before leaping into implementation. Some staff may need more support with accessing e-Learning than others both in terms of their confidence in using technology and because they might not have access to a device or WiFi to complete training. Some organisations may be able to provide staff with access to devices, while others won’t. Depending on the topic, it might be valuable to look at mixed-format training. For example, combining face-to-face training with e-Learning to really embed knowledge in the team. Many Learning Providers can support this mixed-media training.
For organisations who are considering using e-Learning for all or some of their training needs, there are more benefits than improving staff retention. Many learning providers also provide a learning management platform, which managers can use to
- easily see staff training records
- receive reminders of upcoming or outdated training
- provide evidence to the Care Quality Commission about the training that staff complete easily and efficiently.
If your organisation is considering trying e-Learning, but you were concerned about how staff might find it, this report reassures us that for many staff e-Learning can be a really positive experience which can be used to improve the confidence and skills of many care workers.