The Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust have successfully been using the compliance-focused Totara Learn system as their staff learning platform since 2011.
Their Totara Partner Think Learning sat down with Tara Kennedy, Learning Management System Manager at the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL), to get a customer’s perspective on working with Totara - and what the future holds for Education and Organizational Learning and Development at the Trust.
Previously, CNWL solely provided mental health and allied specialties services and had around 3,500 employees.
In the last 12 years, the Trust has doubled its employee count to over 7,000 staff, who deliver over 300 different services, such as offender care across the UK prison network, learning disability support, sexual health and addiction misuse.
CNWL’s geographical reach has also expanded in this time, now covering Milton Keynes, Surrey and Buckinghamshire, while catering for the prison services in Hampshire and Kent.
Despite this growth of CNWL, the Education team hasn’t increased in size. Instead, the same team are now serving double the learners, on a wider range of topics than ever before. That's why CNWL needed to implement a modern LMS like Totara - to give them the flexibility to onboard new employees, manage administration and provide access to learning content.
Prior to adopting Totara Learn, CNWL was using an LMS that worked well as a course management tool for the L&D administrators, but was not fit for purpose as a self-service learning management system - a priority at that time. It was also not possible to customize the system in any way when organizational needs arose.
CNWL, along with their Totara Partner Think Learning, identified Totara Learn as the way forward. They branded it as LDZ, and it now provides the backbone of the Trust’s learning management, including:
- Engaging user interface: Totara Learn provides the Trust with an engaging user experience, creating an environment that learners truly enjoy.
- Improved learner experience: Reducing the number of learner queries was a top priority for the team when sourcing a new LMS. Thankfully, Totara’s intuitive learner experience has achieved just that.
- Self-service learning: Promoting a learning culture in the Trust was paramount, but due to the busy schedules of learners, it was important that learners could be self-sufficient.
Partnering with Think Learning empowers CNWL to achieve their vision of "wellbeing for life." The Trust strives to improve an individual's quality of life through high-quality healthcare and personal support, which can only be achieved with truly effective learning that ultimately improves staff behaviors.
Think Learning customized the learning platform in terms of the functionality and support available to staff, which is critical to the smooth running of any healthcare service. This is particularly important as CNWL prioritizes retaining and developing existing staff to reduce turnover, vacancy rates and the cost of backfilling clinical staff.
The implementation of Totara Learn by Think Learning has enabled the Trust to meet a 95% compliance rate around Information Government training every year since go-live.
In addition, CNWL has moved its competency assessments to Totara’s quiz functionality, making a huge impact on compliance training and results. In fact, they’ve achieved a 94% pass rate in Statutory and Mandatory Compliance training since implementation of LDZ.
Having used Totara Learn since 2011, it's unsurprising that the platform has undergone a number of refreshes. In 2019, LDZ had a significant upgrade to its visual appearance, driven to meet the expectations of learners, who are digital natives and frequently use a range of social networks.
Think Learning played an integral role in the refresh, implementing a new theme, layout and colors to the platform. In addition, the Trust adopted a new, workforce role-based approach to learning management, allowing them to take a stronger talent development focus and moving away from an open directory of courses. Instead, learners are shown relevant, applicable courses for their clinical, statutory and personal development.
Since implementing Totara Learn, the Trust has been able to provide refresher training for face-to-face courses through TEL – e-learning and electronic competency-based assessments. What’s more, when additional mandatory training topics are introduced, the Trust now delivers through TEL where possible.
The COVID pandemic had a significant impact on the ability to deliver face-to-face training, and decisions had to be made and implemented quickly to react to this unprecedented event. The system was instrumental in creating a space specifically for COVID response learning resources, such as e-learning modules, videos, presentations and assessments. Another benefit was being able to convert the existing face-to-face training activities into webinars, and more recently making the vaccination e-learning modules available from E-Learning for Healthcare.
In November 2019, when upgrading to the latest version, CNWL also had the opportunity to update some of the branding – creating a logo, changing color schemes and navigation throughout the landing pages and moving away from directing to compliance training first, displaying more profession-focused training and development on the homepage.
The Supervision Dashboard was also implemented during this period. This allows supervision data to be recorded on the system, to demonstrate for CQC requirements that regular or periodic supervision is taking place within the Trust.
In November 2020, CNWL introduced the CPD Funding Tool on LDZ which allocates the HEE CPD budget to Nursing and Allied Health Professionals staff for their continuing professional development. The tool also enables tracking of this spend for subsequent submission of the HEE return.
An electronic external study leave form was also implemented for staff to apply for external training directly on the system, along with actioning the approval process by the manager and panel. The status of the application is visible, and the result communicated via email directly from the system. This replaced the previous lengthy and time-consuming paper-based application process and recording on an excel spreadsheet and a large volume of emails being circulated.
Although Totara has a flexible and comprehensive reporting tool for managing compliance, the Trust is developing a BI reporting tool to align trust systems for centralized reporting capability. LDZ is part of this project being undertaken by the BI team, with an automated link currently in development.
The Trust also now has the option to drive new starters straight to LDZ from their recruitment system, Trac. Together with Trac and CNWL, Think Learning can help the Trust streamline staff movement between platforms across the NHS. Notably, this will aid onboarding of new staff members, as they can communicate with these people ahead of their formal "Trust Welcome" induction on their first day.
The Trust have also launched their People Plan, and the 21st Century Leadership program. The LMS will have an important role to play, with a Virtual Academy also planned for the future.