Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.

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An evolving LMS partnership...10 years and counting.

Here at Think Learning, we pride ourselves on our commitment to surpassing client expectations. And our success in doing so is seen through our longstanding partnerships. Our longest standing customer is the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, who has partnered with us since 2011.

The Trust have successfully been using the Think Learning compliance-focused Totara Learn system as their staff learning platform throughout this time. So, we sat down with Tara Kennedy, Learning Management System Manager at the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL), to get a customer’s perspective on working with Think Learning - and what the future holds for Education and Organisational Learning and Development at the Trust.

changes through the years.

Tara started working at the Trust 12 years ago, when the organisation solely provided mental health and allied specialties services and had around 3,500 employees.

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Since then, the Trust has doubled its employee count to over 7,000 staff, who deliver over 300 different services, such as offender care across the UK prison network, learning disability support, sexual health and addiction misuse.

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And CNWL’s geographical location has also expanded in this time, now covering Milton Keynes, Surrey and Buckinghamshire, whilst catering for the prison services in Hampshire and Kent.

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Despite this growth of CNWL, the Education team hasn’t increased in size. Instead, the same team are now serving double the learners, on a wider range of topics than ever before. But by partnering with Think Learning and implementing a modern LMS like Totara, CNWL has flexibility to onboard, manage administration and provide access to learning content.

meeting unique needs.

Prior to adopting Totara Learn, CNWL was using a Learning Management System that catered well as a course management tool for the L&D administrators but was not fit for purpose as a self-service learning management system - a priority at that time, it was also not possible to customise the system in any way when organisational needs arose.

Having identified Totara Learn as the way forward, and branding it as LDZ within the organisation, it has taken control of the Trust’s learning management.

Engaging user interface.

Totara Learn provides the Trust with an engaging user experience. Creating an environment that learners truly enjoy.

Improved learner experience.

Reducing the number of learner queries was a top priority for the team when sourcing a new LMS. Thankfully, Totara’s intuitive learner experience has achieved just that.

Self-service learning.

Promoting a learning culture in the Trust was paramount. But due to the busy schedules of learners, it was important that learners could be self-sufficient.

wellbeing for life.

Partnering with Think Learning empowers CNWL to achieve their vision of “wellbeing for life”. The Trust strives to improve an individual’s quality of life through high quality healthcare and personal support; which can only be achieved with truly effective learning that ultimately improves staff behaviours.

customised approach.

Think Learning customised the learning platform to ease functionality and support available to staff, which is critical to the smooth running of any healthcare service. Particularly important as CNWL’s prioritise retaining and developing existing staff to reduce turnover, vacancy rates and the cost of backfilling clinical staff.

the results.

The implementation of Totara Learn by Think Learning has enabled the Trust to meet a 95% compliance rate around Information Government training every year since go-live.

In addition, CNWL have moved their competency assessments to Totara’s quiz functionality, making a huge impact on compliance training and results. In fact, they’ve achieved a 94% pass rate in Statutory and Mandatory Compliance training since implementation of LDZ.

modern design.

Having used Totara Learn since 2011, it’s unsurprising that the platform has undergone a number of refreshes. In 2019, LDZ had a significant upgrade to its visual appearance, driven to meet the expectations of learners, who are digital natives and frequently use a range of social networks.

Think Learning played an integral role in the refresh, implementing a new theme, layout and colours to the platform. In addition, the Trust adopted a new, workforce role-based approach to learning management. Allowing them to take a stronger talent development focus, moving away from an open directory of courses. Instead, learners are shown relevant, applicable courses for their clinical, statutory and personal development.

a digital approach.

Since implementing Totara Learn, the Trust have been able to provide refresher training for face-to-face courses through TEL – E-Learning and electronic competency-based assessments. What’s more, when additional mandatory training topics are introduced, the Trust are now delivering through TEL where possible.

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The COVID pandemic had a significant impact on the ability to deliver face-to-face training and decisions had to be made and implemented quickly to react to this unprecedented event. The system was instrumental in creating a space specifically for COVID response learning resources such as E-Learning modules, videos, presentations and assessments. Another benefit was being able to convert the existing face-to-face training activities into webinars, and more recently making the vaccination E-Learning modules available from E-Learning for Healthcare.

In November 2019 when upgrading to the latest version, this also provided an opportunity to update some of the branding – creating a trust logo Education, changing colour schemes and navigation through landing pages, and moving away from directing to compliance training first, displaying more profession focussed training and development on the homepage.

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The Supervision Dashboard was also implemented during this period. This allows supervision data to be recorded on the system, to demonstrate for CQC requirements that regular or periodic supervision is taking place within the Trust.

In November 2020, CNWL introduced the CPD Funding Tool on LDZ which allocates the HEE CPD budget to Nursing and Allied Health Professionals staff for their continuing professional development. The tool also enables tracking of this spend for subsequent submission of the HEE return.

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An electronic external study leave form was also implemented for staff to apply for external training directly on the system, along with actioning the approval process by the manager and panel. The status of the application is visible, and the result communicated via email directly from the system. This replaced the previous lengthy and time-consuming paper-based application process and recording on an excel spreadsheet and a large volume of emails being circulated.

Although Totara has a flexible and comprehensive reporting tool for manging compliance the Trust is developing a BI reporting tool to align trust systems for centralised reporting capability. LDZ is part of this project being undertaken by the BI team, with an automated link currently in development.

next steps.

The Trust also now has the option to drive new starters straight to LDZ from their recruitment system, Trac. Together with Trac and CNWL, Think Learning can help the Trust streamline staff movement between platforms across the NHS. Notably, this will aid onboarding of new staff members, as they can communicate with these people ahead of their formal “Trust Welcome” induction on their first day.

The Trust have also launched their People Plan, and the 21st Century Leadership programme. The LMS will have a role to play, with a Virtual Academy also planned for the future.

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get in touch.