E-learning in social care - Sara Dunn Associates

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E-learning for social care in England

    Responses to SCIE/Skills for Care strategic consultation

April 2005


    Overview and summary of responses

    Section A: Respondent profile

    Section B: Questionnaire results

    e-l consult response public v0.1 24/02/2014 1

Overview and summary of responses

1. Background

    This public consultation document on strategic directions in social care e-learning was launched in mid-October 2004 and ran until 31 January 2005. Copies of the consultation document and questionnaire can be accessed at

2. Sample

    The total number of responses was 61. Two-thirds of the sample was engaged in social care training in some capacity (providers, developers, educators). The voluntary, statutory and commercial sectors were all represented in the sample, with a slight majority of statutory sector bodies. In terms of organisational type, social care service providers and higher education institutions predominated.

3. Summary of responses

    Figure 1 below outlines the responses to the key questions in the consultation.

    Fifty-three out of 57 (over nine in ten) respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the vision for e-learning in social care outlined in the document. The mean level of agreement was 4.3 (where 5 is the strongest agreement possible).

Over eight in ten respondents indicated agreement with:

    o our assessment of the benefits and the limitations of e-learning for

    social care

    o the aims and principles underlying the development of e-learning, and

    o our assessment of the bases for action areas for e-learning


Over seven in ten respondents indicated agreement with:

    o our summary of the key elements of the external strategic framework

    o our summary of who our key partners would be in implementing social

    care e-learning

    o our assessment of research priorities

    The lowest levels of agreement (approximately 6 in 10 respondents in agreement) were with:

    o our assessment of the pre-requisites for implementing e-learning in

    social care

    o our outline of the action areas for e-learning implementation.e-l consult response public v0.1 24/02/2014 2

    Agree e-l research priorities

    Agree e-l actions

    Agree basis for e-l action areas

    Agree e-l implementation prerequisites

    Agree e-l aims

    Agree key e-l partners

    Agree key elements of e-l strategic framework

    Agree assessment of limitations of e-l

    Agree main benefits of e-l

    Agree vision for e-l


    number of respondents (n=57)

Figure 1: Summary of key quantitative results [n=57]

    e-l consult response public v0.1 24/02/2014 3

    The comments provided by respondents indicated in-depth engagement with the issues raised in the consultation. It was possible to discern several repeating themes, the most common of which were:

    o resource issues (30 instances)

    o culture shift (21 instances)

    o appropriate use (18 instances)

    o ICT infrastructure (15 instances)

    o ICT skills (14 instances)

    o priority learning levels/training pathways (10 instances)

1. Resource issues

    This was the dominant topic in respondent comments by some distance. The key points were that:

    o There are significant resource implications for delivering e-learning

    in social care, in terms of ICT hardware and software, connectivity,

    ICT training and support, staff (learner) time and management time.

    o The paper did not address these issues or give any indication of

    funding provision, either existing or planned

2. Culture shift

    Although respondents were aware that the paper outlined a number of hurdles the sector faces in developing e-learning, they still felt that the scale and significance of the culture shift required needed more acknowledgement. Respondents felt that much more work in „winning hearts and minds‟ – of both

    learners and employers would be required if e-learning is to gain

    acceptance in the sector.

3. Appropriate use

    Respondents were concerned that e-learning was not done „for its own sake‟

    and that it was only used where appropriate:

    o Learners who preferred face-to-face or other traditional approaches

    should not be disadvantaged

    o A mix „n‟ match approach to learner preference and learning styles

    needed to be adopted.

4. ICT infrastructure

    Although respondents were aware that attention was drawn in the paper to inadequate infrastructure in terms of hardware, software, connectivity and ICT support they felt that the scale of the problems had not been fully acknowledged, and that strategies to address them had not been offered.

5. ICT skills

    Similarly, the issue of the relatively low level of ICT skills in the sector on the

    part of both learners and employers was felt to be under-emphasised, and

    possible solutions either absent or insufficient.

6. Priority learning levels/pathways

    A number of respondents felt that the social work degree received too much emphasis in the paper, and that this was not necessarily the area of social e-l consult response public v0.1 24/02/2014 4

    care that could most benefit from e-learning approaches. Other areas respondents wanted to be given higher priority were:

    o generic „work-based learning‟

    o generic „pre-HE learning‟

    o specific learning related to National Vocational Qualifications and

    National Occupational Standards

    o specific learning related to Post-Qualification (PQ) frameworks

7. Other issues

    Other issues raised by respondents:

    o Concern was expressed about the risks associated with the

    implementation of large-scale learning management systems

    o Learning styles were felt to be overlooked

    o Collaborative and participative approaches to learning were felt to be

    insufficiently addressed

    o The need to involve the commercial sector was not sufficiently


    o It needed to be made clearer that benefits of e-learning should to be

    directly linked to service outcomes

    o Pilots, important both for raising awareness and as research test-beds,

    were insufficiently considered.

    e-l consult response public v0.1 24/02/2014 5

Section A

    Respondent profile

    The total number of responses was 61. Of these, 50 were responses via the online questionnaire, 7 were responses via the printed questionnaire, and 4 were non-format responses.