South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

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the background.

South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust provide the widest range of NHS mental health services in the UK. The 4,600 staff serve a local population of 1.3 million people who provide more than 230 services.

the challenge.

The Education and Development (E&D) team at SLaM were using multiple systems in addition to their HR system (ESR) to manage their learning and development portfolio:

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For face-to-face course bookings, study leave requests and appraisals.

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Two platforms to deliver in-house and 3rd party elearning.

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For reporting and recording training compliance.


SLaM wanted a system that would grow with their needs and allow for a rapid implementation to align with a wider Workforce Systems transformation project. Totara Learn was identified as the preferred solution with the greatest potential for sustainability. Think Associates were selected as the implementation partner based on their knowledge of healthcare and the flexibility offered by having an in-house technical team.

the solution.

Think Learning implemented Totara Learn into SLaM, with huge success. Specifically:

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design and theming.

Bespoke theming and template design within Totara Learn aligned the system with branding created for the E&D team. LEAP – ‘Learn, Engage, Aspire, and Perform’ is now recognised across the workforce as the central point of access for Learning, Development and Performance Appraisal.

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learning activity set up.

Totara Learn provides a one stop shop for managing all learning and development activities across the organisation. In the past, only courses administered by E&D were accessible through E&D systems, however the “editing trainer” role allows other internal teams to promote and manage their courses through the system. Use of a master template for learning activities aided the rapid implementation approach, provides consistency of experience and supports learner engagement.

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management hierarchies.

One of the difficulties many organisations face is keeping on top of manager/staff hierarchies. Within Totara Learn, Think have created a function for learners to be able to choose their own manager. This triggers a workflow that notifies the old manager, the new manager and the learning administrator who can verify this selection. This functionality provides up to date information that can be used to improve the data quality in their HR system.


Certifications were set up so that staff are automatically reminded when activities need to be repeated to remain compliant. This information is highlighted on bespoke learning dashboards.


Totara Learn is being used to manage the organisation’s appraisal process. Staff and managers can prepare for their appraisal, record and monitor objectives, develop and manage their learning and development plans.


Totara Learn has replaced the WIRED system for reporting. Real-time, accurate reports of compliance are accessible by administrators and managers across the organisation.

the results.

Totara Learn has transformed processes, roles and systems.

A strong partnership approach contributed to a very successful rapid implementation. SLaM went live with Totara Learn within 3 months of procurement. Staff are now actively using the system to manage all of their learning and development requirements and their feedback is very positive.

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increased learner engagement.

There has been an increase in the uptake of non-mandatory, personal and professional development e-learning (eg IT Skills Pathway courses) as a result of the increased visibility and accessibility of activities available across the organisation. The E&D team are also able to easily track training completion and compliance.

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effective compliance management.

The scalability of the Essential Training framework combined with the rich role and infrastructure information drawn from ESR allows the E&D team to work with departments to map and then track specialist training requirements for extended, role-specific training and competency compliance.

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centralised appraisal informs planning.

Centralising the appraisal record has allowed the E&D team to use PDP reports to inform planning for future education and development activities. Nurses and midwives are also able to manage NMC revalidation processes through the integrated bespoke portfolio.

The E&D team are now working very differently and no longer spend large amounts of time doing data input. The single sign on process means the steady traffic of password enquiries are now non-existent.

next steps.

The E&D team are looking at ways that Totara Learn can manage more of their internal processes more efficiently.

Think Associates developed an additional hierarchy that can be updated in line with staff rotations along with specific privacy configurations to allow Totara Learn to help manage Clinical Supervision. This is already being used in other healthcare organisations and SLaM are keen to implement this functionality shortly.

Think Associates are also working on additional developments to Totara Learn for SLaM including the following:

- Advanced study leave processes – with multiple level approval processes for time and funding.
- Revenue generation – implementing a pay gateway with Totara Learn and allowing external access to their learning portfolio.
- Utilising Totara Learn to manage Medical Device and nursing competencies.
- Integrating Totara Learn with the Allocate Rostering system.
- Enhancing appraisal processes to include the 9 box grid framework for succession planning, coaching and talent management.
- Implementing learning plans to support programmes such as apprenticeships.

transform your learning.

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