Category Archives: Service Transformation E-Learning Project (STEP)

STEP: your questions answered

The launch of first three STEP modules has generated a lot of positive feedback, some useful comments and a number of questions. Some key themes have emerged in the questions, so we hope this post will provide some useful guidance.

One of the most common questions we’ve received is whether the modules can be embedded into local Learning Management Systems. We are pleased to say that when all seven Modules are published on the e-Learning For Healthcare platform in the next few weeks, they will then be made available from the Electronic Staff Record eLearning portal.

For those of you who would like to add the modules to your local Learning Management Systems, you – or your local eLearning manager – can download them from the NHS eLearning Repository, when they become available we will let you know. Remember though, the modules don’t have to be accessed from within a Learning Management System, they can simply be played in a web browser. Alternatively, you can promote the modules on your library web site as Sarah has done, by adding this link and the link to our animations.

Based on some comments we’ve received, we wanted to share some other ideas about how you can use the STEP modules as part of your blended learning offer to complement your local training programmes.

Module 1 is a pre-assessment module which enables the learner to reflect on their current level of knowledge. It also acts a signpost to other modules, helping them to identify any gaps in knowledge or areas where they want to build confidence. This module includes a downloadable sheet for learners to record specific learning needs. You could ask trainees to complete Module 1 before a face to face training session and encourage them to bring their self-assessment sheet highlighting their learning needs.

Modules 2 and 3 cover which resources to search and how to plan a search strategy. These could also be completed prior to face to face training so that in your sessions you are free to focus on hands on practice. Alternatively for longer sessions, you could support users to complete the modules or parts of them within a session. You can also signpost to the modules post-training as a way to reinforce learning.

Module 3 has an animation on the use of OR/AND. As well as being embedded in the modules it is also available on You Tube for linking or embedding into websites or incorporating into presentation slides. You can either use the full video covering both OR/AND or shorter versions on just OR or AND to brighten up your training sessions.

We hope that you can find ways to use the suite of training to complement your existing training and to provide a tool which users can access for support from anywhere.

If you have any other ideas about how the modules could be used in your training, please add your comments below.


Sarah and Tracey

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

Sarah Lewis, Library Services Manager, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

STEP e-learning modules now available!

As you know, we’ve been developing a suite of literature searching modules for you to use as part of the information skills training you offer.

We are delighted to announce that the first three modules are now available from

‘Building the Foundations’ includes three modules to enable users to assess their current level of skill in literature searching, find out more about the resources available to them and get started planning a search.

Module 1 Introduction to searching
Module 2 Where do I start searching?
Module 3 How do I start to develop a search strategy?

Please feel free to place these links on your websites use the attached flier to promote the modules.

The next three modules on ‘Developing the Skills’ will be launched later this year and ‘Applying the Skills’ modules will be available in early 2018.

Attached are some FAQs about the modules which you may find helpful.

If you require further information, please contact the project leads:

Tracey Pratchett, Knowledge and Library Services Manager, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Sarah Lewis, Library Services Manager, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

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