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Edinburgh Leisure ‘ELevate’ their learning to new levels

With more than 30 first-class venues, 13 gyms, 9 swimming pools, all-weather sports facilities, Europe’s largest indoor climbing arena and over 700 fitness classes, Edinburgh Leisure is the biggest physical activity provider in Edinburgh.

Established more than 20 years ago, to manage and develop sport and leisure facilities on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh Leisure now operates as an independent health and wellbeing charity, focused on improving health and wellbeing in the region.

The Challenge

Edinburgh Leisure’s first foray into digital learning was an online platform that they named ‘ELevate’. It was mainly used as a repository for storing online learning modules, rather than a fully-functional Learning Management System. It was considered a little dusty and old fashioned and although content authoring was available, the tool was not easy to use.

The organisation has 950 permanent staff members and an influx of seasonal workers, many of whom work part-time and naturally not in office-based roles. The L&D function had three main goals and needed the new system:

  • To allow authors to create content, quickly and efficiently;
  • Give all staff access to learning materials that are engaging and easy to use;
  • Ensure a 100% take-up of the organisation’s mandatory compliance courses. Essential in ensuring that the health and safety of customers is at the core of what they do.

With this in mind, the L&D team engaged with Learning Pool to look at how their Totara-based platform and content services, could improve their learning offering.

Having not long implemented the original version of ELevate it was a big ask of the senior leaders to invest in yet another new platform. Although a charity with a modest budget, the organisation does not lack the commitment to investment in L&D, and the agreement was made to implement a new system.

edinburgh leisure device

The Solution

Using Totara Learn as their new learning platform, in just twelve weeks a new ELevate was born. The core content was made up of some generic training modules, together with a set of compliance modules on subjects like safeguarding, health and safety and fire safety.

Certifications were put in place for the mandatory courses and a schedule of recertification created. An Induction Programme was also created, particularly important for part-time workers who are often not able to join a face-to-face session or who work weekends. As part of the first phase, a GDPR module was also developed, using Articulate. Learners had a tight deadline to complete this, so it was an ideal piece of content to get staff logged in and engaging with the new system.

Key to the platform’s success was always going to centre around communication. In advance of the launch, the L&D team engaged with the Chief Executive, senior leaders, managers and venue-based L&D staff to raise its profile. The staff newsletter was used to ‘trail’ the launch, together with an all-staff update.

In the weeks following the launch, a member of the L&D team visited every venue and conducted a presentation and demo of the system and was on hand to answer queries and most import to them, to listen. They also attended management team meetings and staff training sessions, gathering feedback on the platform and ideas for its future use.

With a lot of part-time staff and roles that have high staff churn, it was really important for staff to have a flexible way of accessing these modules easily and quickly.

Following the initial phase, automated reports for managers were created so that they could monitor mandatory training within their teams. This has been extremely positively received by managers who are now actively using ELevate to access ‘just in time’, up to date training data when they need it.

The Results

The new ELevate platform is something that the leaders, managers and staff at Edinburgh Leisure absolutely love. Most importantly, they use it a lot – and are wanting more!

Having the GDPR module as a key piece on mandatory training that staff needed to complete so soon after the launch was a key element of its success. Since the platform’s launch, there have been over 6,000 unique course completions. Having originally launched with 20 courses there are now 31 available and more are being developed all the time.

Staff have said that they love the clean and slick of the new learning system, and with plenty of PCs available to take the training, even poolside staff are easily able to complete training and return to their work quickly.

Enabling managers to access self-service reporting for their team has saved a great deal of time for them, and more significantly for the L&D team as they no longer have to respond to individual queries about learners training progress.

What's next?

In the next phase of ELevate’s development, the team are looking to integrate with the organisation’s HR system, introduce Learning Pool’s Foundation Skills Catalogue and move their authoring tool to Adapt Builder, so they can edit existing modules, and create their own training from scratch, with ease.

They also plan to continue to work closely with their Learning Consultant for guidance and advice, to make sure they’re using the system in the most effective way, and in turn, delivering learning to the business for maximum impact.

‘From the very start of implementation, we knew this partnership was going to work for us. James and his team really appreciated what we were trying to achieve – and they made sure that it was successful – and in double-quick time! It was a true collaboration between their expertise and our ideas.

Feedback has gone beyond our expectations; staff find it quick and easy to use and they love the look and feel. Managers find the reporting tool so easy; they are able to get the information they need when they need it. What more could we ask for?!’

Chris March, Head of Learning & Development