It’s that time of year when everyone starts to make new years resolutions. Clearly we all want to do things better, or differently, especially if there’s a gain to made somewhere along the line, albeit a personal or organisational one. I guess, if I was to have a new years resolution (from a work perspective), it would be about being truer to what I believe in. This year is going to be the year that we really start doing things how we think they should be done, and not just the way the organisation has grown to expect them to be done.
Now, it’s important to make one point really clear before I say any more. There is nothing new about what I am going to say below. In fact, thinking of the people who I think I might read this (from my Twitter network) – most of them will already be doing this, or have done this for long periods of time, but for us, in our little UHS community, this will be a big change to the processes we’ve followed before. So, here’s my three “new” things for 2014:
1- No longer shall you click next….
This is something I’ve “talked” about for a long time. We’ve put lots of thought and discussion in amongst the team about trying to take a new approach, but to date, we’ve not made the output. However, over the last few weeks we’ve been starting to pull together a few new courses which will work in a more inquisitive process. Rather than moving through a course by clicking on a next button located in the bottom right corner, you’ll use different options. These may well be tabs, they may well be logos, or simply links placed throughout the content. The methodology may vary from one course to the next, however the constant theme is that when we design the courses, we’ll be reconsidering the navigation method every time.
2- You are an adult, you can decide how and what to learn….
This point goes hand-in-hand with the first one. For many years now we have been producing e-learning content which personally I think is quite engaging. We spend quite a bit of time thinking about how we can present the content, how we can make it more interactive, however underlying all of this thought, we’ve still been developing our courses in quite a one dimensional, presentation style (e.g. you see one “slide” of information, then you click to the next “slide”, and so on….).
Under the new style, there will be multiple paths through content, you’ll be able to choose the parts you need to learn and pass over the ones which you don’t. We’re not just talking about having a menu and accessing the parts you want, we’ll be (trying to) make the content naturally flow, and respond to what you’ve already seen to make the learning process unique to your needs.
Finally, underpinning this, you’ll start to see more robust assessments where they are required. Firstly, we’re not just going to put a quiz on the end for the sake of doing it – if there’s no value in a formal assessment, then we won’t add one. No longer will you be asked questions which require no knowledge of the subject – the questions will test you, they will be harder, but they will ensure that you know about the subject – no matter how you learnt.
3- You can use your technology
Again, like most of the others, we’ve talked about them for a long time. But in 2014 we’re going to produce more of our content in HTML5 to allow it to be accessed on mobile devices. However we will also be delivering more content using the native functionality of our VLE (Moodle). To date, we haven’t overly utilised the built in assessment functionality, or many of the other functions you can find within Moodle. This will soon be changing, with more content appearing in a regular webpage context (allowing it to be viewed and used on any internet enabled device) – but this will also work alongside our “mobile” versions of the VLE – ensuring that the process of accessing the VLE on a mobile or tablet will be far easier and more user friendly.
4- Informal is fine!
I know I called this three new things, but I can’t really wrap this up without really emphasising the informal/social part of this – as ultimately it underpins two thirds of the ones above.
The NHS is very traditionalist and often can be slower at responding to change. Now when this is combined with traditional face-to-face educators, it means that it can be a very hard battle to make people see that the same, if not more, learning can take place in an informal environment. The first real dabble I’ll be having with this is working with @alisongpotter on her Tin Can API project. It’ll be really interesting to see what comes out of this way of capturing the informal learning.
But moving on from here, I plan to get more of our leads thinking more about curating resources rather than formally directing study, then looking at appropriate ways to capture and assess in this manner (In most cases, the assessment is still needed due to external validation). On the top of that, we are completely overhauling our Systems Training, to allow for staff to undertake a core requirement, but then learn the bulk in any way they choose (formal or informal). This change will make a massive change to the “start up” time faced by our clinical staff and allow them to become effective far quicker than previously possible.
For anyone that read my last blog post, you’ll know that one of the main things I highlighted was that over the past few years I’ve learnt that I actually don’t know everything, in fact far from it – so these ideas above will continually evolve (no doubt I’ll be sat here on New Years Eve next year reflecting again). But I welcome all forms of feedback, so please take a few seconds and add a comment below, tweet or email me – and if all of that is too much – I’m at the other end of a phone or in person!
2013 was a good year – but here’s to learning something new in 2014…..