2gether NHS Foundation Trust (2gether) provides specialist mental health and learning disability services to the people of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. They serve a combined population of 761,000 people who live within 1,900 square miles of rural and urban landscape. 96% of their services are provided within the community and as close to an individual’s family and friends as possible. In 2016 their 2,300 dedicated staff delivered services to more than 40,000 individuals and offered education and support to their carers and families.
2gether NHS Foundation Trust faced challenges obtaining real-time information about their mandatory training compliance. Although they were able to report on compliance with their existing system this was a time consuming process. When information had been collated and verified it was already out of date. Distributing inaccurate information to managers led to confusion and a lack of confidence in the data. Proactive management of compliance was difficult and reporting placed a heavy administration overhead on the Learning and Development Team.
The Trust decided to look for a new Learning Management System (LMS) to overcome these challenges. They identified the following key requirements for the new system:
- Staff management – the ability to integrate with corporate systems and automatically update new starter and leaver information.
- Real time information – the ability for staff and managers to easily access up to date information, without having to manipulate data.
- Self service – the ability for all staff to access their own learning and see what training they need to complete and by when. Staff should be prompted to refresh their training to stay compliant. For managers to see what training their staff need to complete and by when.
- Elearning management – the ability to upload SCORM based elearning courses for staff to easily access and for the system to accurately report on completion status.
- Flexible reporting – the ability to create custom reports in both Excel and PDF formats that can be scheduled or easily accessed by managers and administrators without having to manipulate data.
- Customisation and branding – to be able to customise the system with the organisation’s branding and develop a simple, user friendly interface for staff.
Totara Learn was selected as the LMS and Think Learning were selected to manage the implementation. The key reasons behind this selection were:
- Functionality – Totara Learn was selected as being able to easily satisfy all of the system requirements identified.
- Price – Think Learning proposed a cost effective solution and clear implementation process.
- Comprehensive Healthcare Knowledge – Think Learning were able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of specific healthcare reporting needs.
- Referral – Following discussions with other NHS organisations who have implemented Totara Learn with Think Learning, 2gether were reassured with their decision.
Think Learning worked in partnership with the Learning and Development team to implement Totara Learn within four months.
The implementation process identified that organisational data would benefit from being cleansed and it also provided a good opportunity to review and improve internal processes and their mandatory training matrix.
One of Think Learning’s dedicated Project Managers helped to configure and populate the system with the entire learning catalogue and targeted training to specific audiences outlined in the organisation’s training matrix.
e-Learning Course Configuration
All e-learning courses have been configured in Totara Learn and rigorously tested. Staff are now able to easily access courses from anywhere, using multiple devices. Results and completion status are now accurately recorded in Totara Learn and reflected in reports.
Integration with Existing Systems
Totara Learn has been integrated with existing workforce systems, using the Active Directory. This manages users in the system, new starters are automatically added and leavers are suspended through this link. The link with the Active Directory also automatically places staff within their department. Departments are set up to be automatically populated with the mandatory training requirements for staff to achieve compliance. This is very positive for staff who now know exactly what training they need to complete and by when.
The system has been set up with a series of reminder emails which is a proactive tool that supports staff on what, when and how they need to complete their training. Emails have been customised for managers to help them proactively manage staff training. The system also provides email confirmations and reminders when staff are booked on training activities which has reduced DNA figures.
Think Learning worked with 2gether to determine what reports they required and created a suite of custom reports to accommodate their immediate needs.
Following training, the team are now competent and comfortable with the system and the way data is structured. This enables them to create their own custom reports within Totara Learn and allows them to respond to Managers’ specific reporting needs efficiently.
Customisation and Branding
Totara Learn has been branded with 2gether’s corporate branding, giving staff a sense of ownership of the system. The simplified, easy to follow interface has made the transition to a new system easy to follow and enhanced the learning experience for staff.
Totara Learn went live in June 2016 and has had a positive impact across the entire organisation.
“The new system is brilliant!” Cath, Robinson, Speciality Doctor – Psychiatry
Staff benefit from having an easy to use system that empowers them to take control of their own learning. They can see what training is required by when and can now access elearning easily. Staff can book themselves onto training and also cancel training they can no longer attend. The effective ‘waiting list’ processes within Totara Learn have helped courses to run at maximum capacity.
Empowering staff to take control of their own learning has resulted in an increased number of staff booking on training which is now reflected in increased compliance figures moving forwards.
Managers benefit from being able to easily access real-time reports. This allows them to more proactively manage their teams’ compliance and risk. Previously Managers were ‘fed’ information so this represents a significant and positive change to internal processes.
“Our team are finding the new learn together system really easy to navigate.” Elaine Cook-Tippins, Operational and Clinical Manager
The Learning and Development team are seeing significant time-savings and are now able to react more speedily to requests for information from individuals and managers. They can easily provide information to committees, commissioners and other regulatory organisations as required. Reports that previously took over 8 hours to compile now take 20 minutes.
“Totara Learn is a comprehensive and flexible system that we have customised to meet our specific needs. The ability to easily create sophisticated reports in-house is a significant benefit for us.” Ruth Thomas, Head of Training
Learning and Development are no longer inundated with queries from staff about what they need to do and how to access elearning. This allows them to focus on more value adding activities and embed Totara Learn further within the organisation.
The Learning and Development team are now looking at how to use the full functionality of the system and the potential it offers to work effectively and efficiently across services.
The Trust are now confident about the figures they are reporting and can work to further improve these.
“Think Associates have been great to work with. They take time to understand our requirements fully and are keen to support us so we get the system working exactly the way we want. They respond quickly to queries and work with the pace of our team.” Ruth Thomas, Head of Training
The Learning and Development team are continuing to work on their reporting requirements. They are also looking at ways to provide additional support to managers to ensure they are getting the most out of the system.
The system has helped the Learning and Development team to review their training provision and requirements and they are now looking at ways to reduce the time it takes staff to complete their mandatory training.
Early in 2017, the Trust is going to be looking at utilising Totara Learn to manage their appraisal and performance review processes and are also looking at implementing the additional requirements of the Care Certificate within Totara Learn.