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8 e-learning lessons we learnt the hard way

We have almost finished the final version of our first module, which looks at “Developing your search strategy”. We’re pretty experienced trainers and we thought that this would be the easiest module to start with – how wrong we were! It has been challenging working at a distance, trying to accommodate the needs of all sectors and ensuring that the resources will be applicable to the range of different professions in healthcare. That’s before we even started to think about what it means to write good e-learning materials, that are interactive, engaging, short and assessment focussed.

So what did we actually learn? Here are our top tips for writing e-learning materials and managing a large scale project:

  1. Version controlling our scripts – we spent a lot of time reworking our first script to get it right and gathered lots of comments along the way. We didn’t always adapt the original script so we spent a lot of time trying to pull all the comments together for a more streamlined script.
  2. Providing information to the developers – this follows on from the above comment as we wasted time sending individual ‘comments documents’ to our developers expecting them to work out what we wanted. We are now using a single template and getting that as polished as possible before handing it over.
  3. We are the experts, the developers are not – They do not have the background knowledge or understanding that we have. Things that make sense to us may not make sense to them.
  4. Understanding what good e-learning is – it is very different from writing a MOOC or a usual training session. We soon realised that it wasn’t going to be enough to translate existing materials into an online format in order to fulfil our objectives. E-learning needs to be succinct, visual, interactive and meet varied learning needs. You do not have the flexibility to change tack or adapt what you have in face to face training. You do not have the opportunity to interact that is provided by a MOOC.
  5. Envisaging what the final product would look like – it is difficult to visualise from a script what the final design might look like. Things that we had to consider along the way were colours and accessibility, Health Education England branding, style, audio and feel. It is difficult to please everyone, so compromises were made along the way.
  6. Project management techniques– we spent a lot of time planning in terms of consultation, communication and developing timelines but I’m not sure that we fully anticipated potential risks. Some of our challenges were around being a dispersed team, consulting with a lot of people and crucially changes to the development team when some of our key contributors left.
  7. Setting clear deadlines – this is always going to be challenging when the project leads are taking this on top of existing roles and responsibilities. We have also learnt to be clearer when setting deadlines for other team members to ensure we can complete on time.
  8. Knowing when to stop consulting and adapting – it took us a long time to get to a stage when we could sign off the first modules. Some of this is about knowing when to stop and accepting that good enough is good enough. Another part is having more confidence that our extensive consultation means that we are developing what people want.

We think the next few modules should come together quite quickly. We have signed off on the final design and we have completed a number of scripts which are ready to go. We will be presenting at EAHIL about our approach to consultation so hope to see you there!

Sarah Lewis
Clinical Outreach Librarian
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

Tracey Pratchett
Knowledge and Library Services Manager
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Health Care Libraries Supporting Research by Matt Holland and Victoria Treadway

Research is firmly embedded in the NHS Mandate 2017 – 2018 (see Objective 8 “To support research, innovation and growth”). It probably didn’t need a directive to point out the importance of research to patients and patient care. Research is also core business for NHS libraries. This is a reflection on how we can make research a distinctive part of our service offering. It’s based on personal experience and best practice using the tried and tested ‘n things’ model.

  1. Go to the Research Committee It’s a safe bet that no one ends their career wishing they had gone to more meetings. However, in something as diverse as research in a large organisation the Research Committee can be the best place to get an overview of current and new research activity. If you are not on the committee as a member, you could ask to be an observer or to be circulated the minutes.
  2. Collaborate with your Research Department If you can make friends with your nearby Research Department team there are opportunities to collaborate on events or projects to make life a little easier (and fun?) for your organisation’s researchers. Mid Cheshire are planning a Research Expo for June and Wirral are coordinating a Randomsied Chocolate Trial to celebrate this year’s International Clinical Trials Day (May 19).
  3. Host your organization’s publications database Creating a database exists at on a continuum starting with a quick and dirty solution using freemium reference software (Zotero / Mendeley) and ends with Institutional Repository. The library is the natural home for this project. It also contributes to Knowledge Management objective viz, connecting with corporate knowledge, mapping knowledge assets; collating and enabling shared access to directories; policies, guidance and protocols. Knowledge about the usefulness of a database or Institutional Repository will vary so it may just be a case of carpe diem or getting on with it.
  4. Be the source of information about the research landscape Make the library the centre for information about research methods, academic writing, training courses, support for research, regional and national organisations, newsletters, research information on social media. You could add this into your social media, current awareness mix or set up a separate space for researchers. (See NWAS LKS Case Study on using Yammer).
  5. Be the publications expert for your trust Publication isn’t as easy as it was. There are choices and decisions to be made. Choosing Open Access (Green/Gold), avoiding predatory publishers, fulfilling funding requirements, funding Article Publication Fees (APCs), navigating journal rankings, choosing appropriate journals, copyright, promoting your research and more. Being the expert and the place to go for information for help adds real value, especially for early career researchers.
  6. Offer researchers a bespoke service Clearly all our users are at heart researchers from the humble diploma to post doctoral students. Even if it doesn’t change the service you offer badging part of your service as for researchers can make promoting the library to the research community easier and give you a seat at the research table. This also fits with LQAF 5.3i Library/knowledge service staff support the research activities of the organisation[s] served.
  7. Develop your research skills Nothing helps you to understand the viewpoint of a researcher better than being one yourself. Opportunities for librarians to get involved in research are out there, and may vary from co-authoring a systematic review to getting to grips with qualitative research methodology (as did a bunch of clinical librarians from the NW not long ago).

Matt Holland, NWAS LKS and Victoria Treadway, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. NWAS LKS is supported by HCLU North.

HEE/CILIP Leadership Development Programme – Apply Now!!

What is the HEE/CILIP Leadership Development Programme? This programme is being delivered with CILIP, on behalf of Health Education England. It has been designed to strengthen our capability to lead the ambitious changes envisioned within Knowledge for Healthcare. We are now recruiting to our second cohort. 23 individuals participated in the first programme, some of whom are quoted below.

“Course has given me more self-confidence as a leader and the confidence to start putting things into practice”

 “Action Learning Sets [are] a great way to get to know your project team and work through difficult issues in the workplace in a safe space”

“The project work has also been a superb learning and growth opportunity. Knowing that the work I’m doing actually has the potential to change how librarians across my region work has both made [me] appreciate what I’m doing more and helped me to broaden my thinking about health libraries.”

Who is it for? The programme is tailored specifically for library knowledge service staff working in healthcare services across England. It is not just for those with formal leadership responsibility; it is for those who wish to develop and strengthen their effectiveness as they take on a variety of leadership roles and responsibilities. Whilst we welcome applications from all experience levels we believe it will be of most benefit to individuals who have some leadership experience in their professional or personal life and are looking to build on this for their future career.

Learning outcomes: By the end of the programme, participants will be able to:

  • Identify different leadership styles and reflect on their appropriateness in different situations
  • Reflect on their own preferred personal leadership style and its effectiveness in different working environments to influence and inspire others
  • Appreciate approaches to strategic thinking, change management and evaluation
  • Understand the importance of stakeholder engagement and the requirements of project management
  • Build upon experience, skills and knowledge developed through the programme and engagement with a wide range of experienced professionals to drive innovation and improvement;
  • Identify their leadership development needs and  consider how to address these, and understand the opportunities available through the NHS Leadership Academy

Programme details: The programme utilises different methods of learning, including face-to-face and virtual elements. There is a combination of workshops, webinars, videos, reading and discussions relating to leadership throughout the programme. In addition to these opportunities, each participant will take an active role in:

Group project work – delivering an assigned project, with others, on behalf of Knowledge for Healthcare. The group project will enable individuals to strengthen their leadership skills to deliver a piece of work, and implement change, as well as enabling experience of leading within the group environment. This year’s projects will be focused on mobilising evidence and organisational knowledge.

Action Learning Sets – held throughout the programme, the action learning sets will develop your coaching skills (specifically active listening and effective questioning), enable you to strengthen your network and provide support for your group project work and personal development.

Personal development planning will focus predominantly on using the relevant areas of the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base for Health to identify needs and approaches to address these, individually and through the organisation.

Compulsory elements: All participants are required to take part in each of the following elements of the programme:

Attend all the workshops and action learning set sessions (one day for each of the four sets i.e. November, February, May and July – the day you attend will depend on which group project you are assigned).

Workshops
11 October 2017 Court Room, University of London, Senate House, LGF, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU
11 January 2018 Bristol, exact venue tbc
19 April 2018 Room 2.14, Health Education England, Willow Terrace Road, Leeds LS2 9JT
11 September 2018 Rooms 8&9, 1st floor Events Centre, Stewart House, Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN

 

Action Learning Sets
Set 1 (The exact action learning sets session you attend will depend on which project group you are working with) 06 November 2017 Room 6, Events Centre, 1st floor, Stewart House, Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN
07 November 2017 Room 8A, Events Centre, 1st floor, Stewart House, Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN
08 November 2017 Room 8A, Events Centre, 1st floor, Stewart House, Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN
09 November 2017 Seminar Room, Bloomsbury Healthcare Library, Bonham Carter House, 52-54 Gower Street, London WC1E 6EB
Set 2 (The exact action learning sets session you attend will depend on which project group you are working with) 05 February 2018 Lostock B, Health Education England, 3 Piccadilly Place, Manchester M1 3BN
06 February 2018 Lostock B, Health Education England, 3 Piccadilly Place, Manchester M1 3BN
07 February 2018 Lostock B, Health Education England, 3 Piccadilly Place, Manchester M1 3BN
08 February 2018 Lostock B, Health Education England, 3 Piccadilly Place, Manchester M1 3BN
Set 3 (The exact action learning sets session you attend will depend on which project group you are working with) 21 May 2018 Room 216, Health Education England, Willow Terrace Road, Leeds LS2 9JT
22 May 2018 Room 216, Health Education England, Willow Terrace Road, Leeds LS2 9JT
23 May 2018 Room 216, Health Education England, Willow Terrace Road, Leeds LS2 9JT
24 May 2018 Room 216, Health Education England, Willow Terrace Road, Leeds LS2 9JT
Set 4 (The exact action learning sets session you attend will depend on which project group you are working with) 16 July 2018 Russell Room, Events Centre, 1st floor, Stewart House, Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN
17 July 2018 Russell Room, Events Centre, 1st floor, Stewart House, Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN
18 July 2018 Russell Room, Events Centre, 1st floor, Stewart House, Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN
19 July 2018 Russell Room, Events Centre, 1st floor, Stewart House, Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN

Participate in WebEx webinars (or watch recordings if unable to attend live).

Recommended event: In addition to the dates above it is recommend that you attend the 2018 CILIP conference which is pencilled in for 4-5 July next year.

Resource commitment:
Time: We estimate that individuals will need to set aside 2-3 days per month, to engage in the programme and meet their personal development needs. At times through the year the project plan agreed by each group may require a greater commitment.

Costs: This programme is being funded by HEE as part of its commitment to implementing Knowledge for Healthcare. There is no direct fee for taking part. All delegates are expected to make their own arrangements to cover the cost of travel and accommodation, as needed. See also the HEE Statement regarding travel or accommodation expenses.

Ready to apply? Then download the application process document to proceed.

Still thinking about it? Then see what one of the previous participant’s has to say about the experience.

Questions? Contact Gil Young