Gloucester Health and Care – a learning adventure empowering NHS staff and patients.

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2021 marks the fifth anniversary of Think Learning’s partnership with Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Since 2016, the Trust has doubled in size following a merger and now delivers training to over 5,000 NHS employees and volunteers using the Totara Learn (Care to Learn) LMS.

Since implementing the platform, the LMS has enabled staff and line managers to access real-time data - allowing busy clinicians to concentrate on their clinical work. Whilst it may seem a common IT integration now, many NHS national systems do not integrate with single sign-on. The Totara LMS does, and this is a huge benefit for all users; easing access, reducing queries and the helpdesk support time for the Trust’s Learning and Development (L&D) Team.

Over the last 12 months, the Trust has taken its use of the LMS to the next level, by using it to empower patients to learn more about self-care and recovery in the aftermath of mental illness.

Totara Learn was the Trust's first online learning platform.

This provided the perfect opportunity for the Trust's L&D team to put themselves in the learners’ shoes, re-evaluating their training offering to be more learner-focused. The flexible and dynamic audience functionality in Totara allowed the Trust to specifically and easily target staff groups to identify who needs what training, leading to happier learners and more accurate compliance reports. As well as changing their approach to learning at work, the implementation of the LMS transformed compliance reporting at the Trust. Before Totara Learn, employees spent time double-checking data and manually compiling compliance reports. This is now a thing of the past as Totara Learn takes control of all the heavy-lifting.

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Real-time data reporting boosts productivity and reduces human error.

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Targeted learning ensures content gets to the right learners, at the right time.

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Time-saving CPD allows front-line workers to focus on clinical services..

Our Clinical Systems Training Team find Care to Learn to be user-friendly, adaptable and flexible. We love using it.

Clinical Systems Trainer

A resounding success.

Creating Real Impact

The beginning of 2020 posed two challenges to the Trust. Like all other NHS organisations, they were facing the unprecedented effects of the global pandemic. The pandemic also came just after the complex process of an NHS Trust merge.

This meant their L&D team had two big tasks on their hands. First, they needed to ensure all NHS staff and volunteers had the correct training throughout the pandemic – moving quickly to more accessible online training; a change in the learning culture. Later the system supported the vaccination programme training rollout. In addition, they also had the challenge of merging two legacy learning platforms for the newly-formed Trust.

Before Covid-19 and the merger, both Trusts conducted much of their instructor-led training in a face-to-face setting, but social distancing measures put a halt to that practice. So the L&D team's first objective was to convert all face-to-face courses to online delivery methods using Totara Learn. The team rebranded the platform, and named it ‘Care to Learn’, bringing together the goals and objectives of both legacy platforms.

Quick response to changing needs.

Thanks to the platform’s flexible approach to learning, the Trust had all the tools and resources they needed to take face-to-face training online in the midst of the pandemic.

Using their existing platform, Nichola Pallett, LMS Manager, created blended learning resources that enabled employees to continue to learn throughout this business-critical time. Nichola integrated onboarding, videos, online workshops and much more through the platform. Plus, she made use of time-saving tools, such as embedded Microsoft Teams invites - creating a user-friendly learning ecosystem for the Trust's learners.

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“We have been using Totara Learn for 5 years now. Although it was a steep learning curve initially, we have really come to appreciate the benefits it has brought to the Trust. We can accurately target training in a way we couldn’t do before, reporting is easy and more recently we’ve been able to build new training pathways incorporating different forms of learning resources. Our Learning and Development Administration Team finds it very easy to use, but also the number of emails, phone calls and complaints from our staff and managers using the LMS significantly reduced – so everyone is happy.” Nichola Pallett, Learning and Development Systems Manager

Empowering patients with learning content.

In late 2020, the Trust adapted its use of Totara Learn and began to use it as a platform to deliver patient training. This unique use of the platform empowers and educates patients, helping them to take charge of their recovery following mental illness. The Trust, alongside Severn & Wye Recovery College, uses Totara Learn to provide courses and workshops to teach people to become experts in their own recovery and self-care. This enables patients to gain the power and resilience to recover and stay well, which not only helps to improve their quality of life, but also helps ensure they were able to access support sessions when face to face training wasn’t possible.

And we’re only just beginning….

New opportunities

2020 and all it brought with it, revealed opportunities for the Trust to utilise a wide range of Totara Learn’s innovative online learning features. Care to Learn provided some relief and respite for the L&D team in a worrisome time, but also enabled them to shift their thinking when it comes to learning. As such, the Trust's new approach to learning is blended and versatile, catering to all their learners' needs.

Oliver McGowan training is being piloted on Care to Learn. This is one of four training pilots being run on behalf of Health Education England. The training is designed to help raise awareness of the need for appropriate care and provision for people with autism or who have a learning disability. The training pilot running in Gloucestershire marks a new approach for the L&D Team, with training content being delivered using innovative, bespoke IT equipment.

Going forward the Trust is planning to explore more time-saving aspects of Totara Learn. They're investigating the integration of Business Intelligence database interrogation tools, such as Tableau, into the system. This will allow the Trust to analyse more granular data across training topics and services, increase understanding of their learners - and provide managers with all their business intelligence in one place. Finally, the Trust hopes to make use of the e-lfh Volunteer passport and introduce a mobile app to provide more access and greater flexibility for their busy learners.

We have found using Care to Learn very user friendly. It has enabled us to create our course with everything we had envisioned, using videos, MP3s, pictures and written information. It has been really useful to be able to separate people into cohorts and use the discussion board to discuss topics with individual groups.

Rachel Griffith, Self-Management Lead, Live Better to Feel Better