E-learning in social care - Sara Dunn Associates

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E-learning in social care - Sara Dunn Associatesin,Sara,Dunn,care,Care

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.

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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.

    The quantitative results below, including the charts, reflect only the 57 standard-format responses. The qualitative data and quoted comments are drawn from all 61 responses.

Question A1: Respondent roles/occupations






    number of respondents (n=57)0

    social care worker


     social workerFigure 2. Respondent roles/occupations

    [Respondents were able to tick multiple boxes] social care managerThe largest group of respondents described themselves as social care trainers/educators (see Figure 2). Next were training/education/learning social carecontent developers and then training/education/learning providers. Two-thirds employer

    of the sample therefore represented individuals actively engaged in social

    social care trainer/care training and education provision in some capacity. Four respondents educatordescribed themselves as either social care users or carers.

     training/ education/Approximately a quarter of respondents also chose the „other‟ category, and learning provider

    provided descriptions including „occupational therapist‟, „awarding body‟,

    Training/„workforce development officer‟ and „librarian‟. education/learning content developer

    Social care user


    e-l consult response public v0.1 24/02/2014 6


    Question A2. Respondent organisations










    number of respondents (n=57)

    Social care service provider

    organisation typeVoluntary body Figure 3. Respondent organisations Statutory body

    [Respondents were able to tick multiple boxes]

     Commercial organisation

    Higher education organisations were most commonly represented amongst

    Health care organisationThirteen of 57 respondents were respondents (14 out of 57) (see Figure 3). from social care providers, 11 from statutory bodies and 7 from voluntary Higher education institutionbodies.

     Further education institutionBodies represented in the „other‟ category included „healthcare education

    organisation‟ and „awarding body‟. Social care training provider



    e-l consult response public v0.1 24/02/2014 7

Question A3. Respondent specialisms



    Adult services

    Older people


    Children & young people

    Mental health


    number of respondents (n=57)

Figure 4: respondent specialisms

    [Respondents were able to tick multiple boxes]

Respondents were fairly evenly spread between the 5 social care specialisms

    designated in the questionnaire, with slightly larger numbers specialising in

    disability and adult services (see Figure 4). Specialisms indicated in the „other‟ category mainly represented learning specialisms such as „instructional

    design‟, „learning support‟, „training software development‟.

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Section B

    Questionnaire results

    Question B1: Do you agree with our vision of social care in e-learning?

    Strongly agree


    Neither agree nor disagree


    Strongly disagree


    number of respondents (n=57)

    Figure 5: level of agreement with vision for social care e-learning

    Fifty-three out of 57 of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with the vision for e-learning in social care outlined in the document (see Figure 5).The mean level of agreement was 4.3 (where 5=strongly agree).

    Amongst the 53 who registered agreement with the vision, the following comments were made:

    „We welcome the vision and direction of this consultation document,

    and its emphasis throughout on quality and innovation.‟

    „I feel the vision seems to be realistic, accessible and exciting.‟

    „We particularly welcome the emphasis on a blended approach.‟

    „We welcome the blended learning approach advocated and the view

    that mix and match approaches should be available to learners.‟

    „[It is] vital to be computer literate, [with] the advent of electronic client

    records to aid interagency collaborative working, and to refresh your

    practice via evidence based sites: DH etc. [We] therefore need to be


    „E-learning is effective for both the learner and the trainer.‟

    Critiques of the vision focused broadly on the scale of the task and whether it was appropriate for the sector:

    „But many do not yet have access to/ are unfamiliar/ are put off by the

    technology…. Many hands-on workers in this field lack confidence and

    would rather learn in groups.‟

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    We wish to sound a note of caution as the ambitious aims

    expressed…There are significant training needs if e-learning is to be

    made genuinely accessible to all. There is also a need for significant

    cultural change.‟

    We agree in part with the vision, however it is somewhat confusing…

    What about the pedagogy of e-learning?‟

    „The social care sector is not yet ready for e-learning unless access

    can be guaranteed, staff time can be backfilled, support is on hand and

    the material is as specific as possible to the workplace/job in hand.

    There is also anecdotal evidence of a strong generational gap in the

    willingness even to consider using IT as a learning tool.‟

    Question B2: Have we identified the main benefits of e-learning for our key stakeholders?

    Fifty-one out of 57 respondents considered that we had identified the main benefits of e-learning for our key stakeholders. One respondent commented:

    „E-learning can potentially be of the greatest benefit to those who need

    training most: those staff in social care establishments who cannot get

    released for formal training.‟

    Additional benefits cited by respondents included the following:

    o potential to reduce isolation of learners

    o can support collaborative learning

    o enhances up to dateness of learning

    o can cater for diverse learning styles

    o can be cost-effective

    o enables mobile working

    One respondent felt, however, that the benefits of e-learning had not been linked sufficiently directly to social care practice.

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