Case Study - Library Leads Supporting eLearning
The NHS library service - the supportive network
The traditional library has been a valuable resource for many learners, but with advances in technology, learners and trainers are now requiring, and expecting, instant access to a vast selection of electronic resources and learning literature. NHS librarians have been at the forefront of adopting new technologies and publishing modes, such as electronic databases and electronic journals, as well as web 2.0 applications. They have developed a wide range of services that make full use of technology to deliver services to NHS staff and students 24/7 irrespective of physical location.
As today’s libraries are redefining the mix of services they provide and are offering a more consumer oriented environment which is thriving in our information rich society, this supportive environment is encouraging the learner to rethink their personal views about eLearning. It has also helped to elevate confidence towards unconventional learning practices and develop a deeper appreciation of incorporating technological delivery methods to learning and understanding.
NHS library services and Strategic Health Authority Library Leads (SHALL) have an overall objective to support, work, plan and campaign for the excellence of health and social care through evidence-based practice and lifelong learning, by developing and providing high quality knowledge, information and library services.
The values of SHALL and subsequent eLearning initiatives now in place across the NHS strive for the revolution of healthcare training which complements the objectives of the National Learning Management System (NLMS).
This article focuses on two NHS Trusts; Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust and The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and the work they are doing to support the implementation of eLearning through the NLMS.
“We have had a number of North West NHS library services involved in eLearning beyond the two outlines in this article (e.g. Stockport, Tameside and North Cumbria). I think librarians are ideally placed in terms of their skills to take a leading role in the development of eLearning, as long as the developments are embedded in the organisational approach to learning.”
David Stewart, Director of Health Libraries North West and the Strategic Health Authority Library Lead
Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust
Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust has approximately 1,400 employees and has offered eLearning as a method of education to its workforce since 2007. Before the establishment of eLearning through the NLMS, eLearning was available through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) which helped to cement eLearning into the Trusts culture.
“We could see the advantages of nationally approved content and also the link between eLearners’ results and the recording of these results on the Oracle Learning Management system.”
Stephen Molloy, Librarian, Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust
When the delivery method of eLearning changed it was decided that the Trust Librarian should be the NLMS project lead to ensure a smooth transition which not only supported the learner, but also ensured an effortless implementation.
During the first stages of the implementation process, the NLMS project lead engaged with key internal stakeholders such as Human Resources, IT, and Learning and Development. The NLMS project team was then established and tasks assigned which included, organising the bulk upload of staff usernames and passwords from the ESR Central Team, as well as ensuring that the NLMS could be easily accessed on all PCs across the Trust.
The Trust Librarian / NLMS lead was to coordinate these activities and to promote and communicate the arrival of the NLMS within the Trust.
The collaboration of the NLMS implementation activities with key departments resulted in success of the NLMS project for Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust. This collaborative approach helped to establish the support links for the project team pre and post implementation, and it also helped to secure the visible support networks open to the learner.
Since the implementation of the NLMS, the Trust librarian’s role has adapted to become the lead on communicating the presence of eLearning to all staff and managers. This also includes communicating the announcement of new courses available to the Trust using a range of communication channels to help keep learners up to date with latest developments in eLearning. Guidance and eLearning demonstrations are offered to team and ward managers and the Library Service has also been targeting communications to selected teams with regards to the specific eLearning opportunities.
As the Trust librarian is uniquely positioned to help support both the learner and help to coordinate the back office operational functions, their role has been essential to the roll out of the NLMS.
The Trusts Library Service is currently managing the cultural shift towards the demand of online resources, especially from clinicians who benefit from the flexibility of distance learning. The Trust Library Service aims to continue to support the learner, but also to enhance the quality of learning by integrating professional development to learning and teaching.
Future eLearning plans for Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust
Access to eLearning will be made available through learning and development online resources as well as the library Intranet which further promotes the library services on offer to the learner.
Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust top tips and advice to others
- Establish an NLMS project team with key people from relevant departments at the very beginning of your project
- Good project management to roll-out of eLearning through the NLMS is crucial in order to set and track milestones and to monitor progress
- Utilise the NLMS Communication Toolkit and other resources such as regional NLMS online forums for help in setting up and keeping up to date with the NLMS
The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust Library Service has had an active role with regards to eLearning and helped to support the roll-out of the NLMS to the entire workforce of 10,000 staff. Since the NLMS has been implemented, eLearning has now begun to fully embed within the organisation, and the Library Service has helped to encourage and support staff. This has resulted in a cultural change which has had a positive direct impact on changing previous perceptions about eLearning. eLearning is now being embraced and the benefits are being realised. The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust runs four library sites with 24 hours access and open access computer availability.
“It is vital that an organisation has eLearning embedded, and the Library and the Education Training and Development departments have the mechanisms for pushing this agenda forward.”
John Bramwell eLearning and Library Systems Manager
As part of their proactive approach to eLearning the Trust utilised a Strategic Health Authority (SHA) funded licence for the product called ‘Trivantis Lectora’ which helps create interactive and engaging content for hosting on the NLMS. The Trust also purchased Adobe Captivate which helps to demonstrate resources by allowing the users to view an online interactive walkthrough of the resources available. This provides benefits to the learner by allowing them to navigate through the resources in their own time and at a time and place which is convenient to them.
“The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust recognises that people learn in different ways and require information in different formats in order to fully understand the content of the subject. eLearning is another option for individuals to undertake the necessary training required for the Trust, for their specific job role, for their professional development and making them a more knowledgeable employee.”
The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust eLearning Team
There are a number of professional bodies in which NHS Trusts are required to benchmark themselves against. One of the key bodies is the NHS Litigation Authority (LA). The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust understands that the more attractive eLearning is, the more effective it becomes, and learners are more likely to complete the necessary training, resulting in higher completion rates which in turn results in lower NHS LA premiums, ultimately saving the NHS money.
One of the main benchmarking bodies for the library service is an accreditation process and currently Pennine Acute’s library service holds a level 3 accreditation status, which is the highest status available. Obtaining a level 3 accreditation status means that the Trust has met all the essential criteria and as a result are providing an excellent level of service in at least 80% of the graded specification with criteria that relate to the areas of strategy, finance, stock and services. Level 3 status was achieved in April 2007 under the Helicon assessment process, currently the Trust is involved in the process of carrying out self accreditation as part of the revised Library Quality Assurance Framework (LQAF).
For Pennine Acute Hospital NHS Trust the implementation of eLearning has been successful in part due to their eLearning communication strategy which has aided the delivery and awareness of the NLMS across the Trust. The Trust’s internal eLearning website also has a number of resources available to the eLearner, ranging from ‘known issues’ to ‘how to access’. The route to eLearning website has been made accessible through the Education, Training and Development online resources and the Library Services.
General behavioural patterns have dictated that the website has been the first line of support for the learner, so they have made sure that the learner can also easily contact the eLearning team via email or phone for further support. An NLMS user guide which is sent out by email alongside the learners account details has proved an effective resource to help reduce the number of support calls.
“Having the libraries open access computers available 24 hours, 7 days a week has also helped the learner to access a computer when necessary in addition to the ward based PCs. The library is a great place for the learner to concentrate on the online subject and it has been found that they can complete the course quicker.”
John Bramwell, eLearning and Library Systems Manager
eLearning is being delivered via the Trusts IT trainings rooms, and has been extremely beneficial to ward and team managers as they can offer to train all their staff in a training session which is convenient to them.
The management of eLearning by the library staff has resulted in an increase in the number of staff visiting the library. The library staff have been taking advantage of this by providing extra support to learners using the NLMS and also demonstrating further library resources available to their specific staff group. The Education Training and Development department has also undertaken the use of blended training and invested in the use of ‘Ask the Audience’ clickers to assess the staff groups within the training room. This has been particularly successful as it engages with the group straight away.
The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust top tips and advice to others
- Make sure all library staff have completed at least one eLearning course, in order to help others, and know where to refer learners for help and support
- Have an eLearning website accessible from a range of different routes, to make it easier for an individual to find help
- Have relevant and up to date information and guides on the eLearning website with useful contact details available if an individual requires further assistance
- Have promotional material situated in key locations where they are going to have most effective impact, for example staff canteens, libraries and IT Training rooms
- Be enthusiastic and motivated regarding eLearning
If you would like further information about the approach taken by Liverpool Women’s Foundation Trust or The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust please contact:
eLearning and Library Systems Manager
The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust