Tag Archives: Service Transformation

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

STEP is stepping up a gear!

Work is progressing on the creation of the STEP e-learning modules. Our content lead, Michelle Maden has made significant strides in working out the detail of the module content and the blended learning team have really got stuck into creating the design.

So far we have

  • Agreed modules, titles and learning objectives
  • Drafted the content of 3 of the 7 modules
  • Planned the basic design of the modules in terms of menus, screen layout and colours
  • Started work on a piece of animation to explain AND/OR
  • Published a piece in the Health Libraries Group Newsletter

We have also decided on the collective name for the modules- How to search the literature effectively: a step by step guide for success. The feedback we received suggested making the title active ie how to.... as well as having positive connotations ie success. The step by step reflects our original project name STEP.

At all stages, we have tried wherever possible to obtain input from our ever helpful Virtual Reference Group, project team clinician and the steering group.

The modules are really starting to take shape now and we are hoping to release the first module for testing early on in the New Year so watch this space….!

Sarah Lewis
Clinical Outreach Librarian
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

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

It’s “Yammer-Time”! Consultation and engagement in a virtual community By Tracey Pratchett and Sarah Lewis

So, you’ve probably heard about our project to deliver information literacy via e-learning modules. Well, in this post, we want to tell you a bit more about our approach to consultation and engagement. The Virtual Reference Group (VRG) was set up early in the project to provide feedback on module design and development. It has been an essential part of the development process with library staff providing advice, guidance and support throughout the project. Currently there are in the region of 40 library staff from different sectors signed up to the VRG covering the following:

  • NHS England
  • NHS Scotland
  • NHS Wales
  • NICE
  • Higher Education
  • Royal College of Nursing
  • Royal Society of Medicine
  • An independent hospice
  • Public Health

We have used Yammer as the main method of communication as it is accessible in most trusts. One or two group members have had some issues when Yammer was blocked, but largely these barriers seem to have been overcome. As a tool, it takes a bit of getting used to, but generally it has worked well across organisational boundaries.

There has been a good level of engagement on Yammer, with colleagues advising on a range of topics, from contributing to the module learning objectives via a shared spreadsheet to discussing the potential design and layout of the modules. Generally, feedback so far about the level of communication from the project leads has been positive and we hope to be able to continue the dialogue throughout the project.

For Sarah and I, the VRG has played an essential role, not only in informing the design and development process, but engaging our key stakeholders along the way. By creating this network of library staff, we hope to have 40 advocates who will champion the resources with their users when the modules are launched.

This group has been invaluable to us on a personal level too, providing us with the opportunity to connect with library staff from other parts of the country and different sectors. This has been a really positive experience, expanding our personal networks and enabling us to work with other people in this way.

Finally, we would like to thank all of our wonderful VRG members for their honest and valuable contributions, which have really influenced the development process.

The Service Transformation E-Learning Project (STEP) aims to deliver its information literacy modules in April 2017.

Sarah Lewis
Clinical Outreach Librarian
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

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