Why our digital learning courses are here to stay

 

Our Training Manager, Nicola Milne looks at how she has had to adapt our training courses and how digital learning courses are here to stay.

For over a decade I’ve been delivering courses, out in the community, all over the country. I love the face to face interactions and the ability to see care staff in their natural habitats, so I can tailor our courses accordingly.

Being on site with care organisations is literally one of the best parts of my job as Training Manager for Epilepsy Scotland.

 

Pandemic panic

Let me tell you, I did not handle the news of lockdown well! Not only did it mean immediately cancelling three months of bookings, which was quite the financial blow, but we were faced with this immediate need to reinvent a department whose core activities had remained consistent for the past 30 years.

Entering this brave new world was daunting, and my spare bedroom seemed such an ill-equipped ‘mission control’.

After some serious furniture rejigging, and a very overdue clear out, the vanity table held its own as a desk.

Some strategically placed lamps made video calls look quite slick, and I was feeling the part with my brand-new headset. Now the real work was to begin, converting all our face to face course into virtual ones.

Training

 

Zoom-ing into the future

I struggle to stay committed to a 20-minute YouTube tutorial, so offering people the chance to listen to me chat about epilepsy for 6 hours seemed like a big ask.

We worked extremely hard at creating online resources, filming medication delivery, designing online assessments and workbooks all in a bid to keep people engaged and enthusiastic throughout the course. I need to thank all my colleagues, and family, profusely.

I think just about every department and person shared advice, skills, and donated time to be my guinea pig at one point or another.

Feedback from attendees has been incredibly positive: 100% of participants have scored our main course as Very Good or Excellent, and reported that the course was Very Organised or Extremely Organised; 82.5% said that Zoom was Easy to Use, and 92.3% said that the course was Just the Right Length.

95% scored the trainer as Excellent and of the words offer to use to describe the course, InterestingEye-Opening and Informative came out on top.

 

No mountain too high, no valley too low

There have been some clear advantages to being thrust into this way of working. Our geographical reach has become worldwide with attendees joining us from the States, Australia and Singapore.

Attendance is up. With no commute and travel disruption to face, we almost always have a ‘full house’.

I guess it’s quite hard to be late to your living room!

Our ability to record the sessions mean staff can catch up on demand, with access to the course even once it’s over. Also, there is never a queue at the coffee machine.

 

Lessons learnt

While my whole team and I are chomping at the bit to get back out and about, we all see the merit in continuing to offer online learning solutions.

There is an undeniable convenience to it. We are currently looking at ways to marry up in-person and online methods to create a whole new approach to epilepsy training.

Also, I have to wonder if this transformation would have happened without the pandemic. I think not, or certainly not this quickly.

It’s been a steep learning curve for us all, and I’m excited to see what new heights we will reach.

To find out more about the training Epilepsy Scotland provides, please email Nicola Milne at NMilne@epilepsyscotland.org.uk or call 0141 427 4911.

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