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NHS deploy new LMS and blended compliance learning in under 10 weeks

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides NHS care and treatment for people living in south-east England. Their services provide for people with mental health difficulties, learning disabilities and dementia. They provide services in people’s homes, in specialist clinics, hospitals, GP surgeries and prisons, with services aimed at children, young people and adults of all ages. 


Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust was formed in 2006 following a series of mergers between Trusts, which led to a complex set of legacy IT Infrastructures. The Trust had been using a range of platforms to access and track learning, including the NHS Oracle platform, with mixed experiences. They had their own Moodle LMS for locally created content, and also accessed e-learning via the National Skills Academy site, and other NHS sources. While this gave access to a wide range of learning, it led to a less than ideal learner experience, with multiple logins and different sources for learning.

The range of systems made it very difficult to have a single coherent view on tracking and reporting. The Trust Board was concerned to address this urgently in order to give full assurance of the safety of services through training.

With these drivers in mind, the Trust approached Think Associates with clear goals for the new LMS installation, to be called ‘My Learning’:

  • Get all data into one place: Consolidate and simplify tracking and reporting to meet with audit and quality goals, and to enable the Trust to continuously improve its performance and service
  • Improve the learner experience: Get all content in one place and create a smooth learning experience, improving efficiency and productivity.
  • Deliver at speed: an April go-live was a necessity to meet Trust Board requirements to demonstrate safety through training.

The Totara Learn Solution

Set up for success:

Think Associates and the Trust team needed to work smoothly and get some really good co-operation and collaboration from the outset. There was a considerable amount of on-site working and collaboration across the Trust teams involved (Education and Training, IM&T Training, IT, and HR). This was coupled with strong executive sponsorship and a dedicated Trust project manager.

A key part of implementing any Learning Management System is being clear on the target audiences and their needs. The Education and Training team were really well organised and came to the table with clarity around who needed access to what learning, and these complex mandatory training audiences were quickly configured in the system.

The Trust’s IT and Solutions teams have been very supportive and have taken the new LMS on board as a central Trust system and project, providing support for hosting, data management and ongoing support.

Blending cleverly:

A good example of the close working involved was the way that new compliance blends were created. Think Associates worked with the Trust team to show what was possible in terms of constructing Totara courses with multiple resources and online learning elements. The Trust team then constructed blends, curating courses and resources from across existing NHS platforms, as well as creating new e-assessment content, SCORM packages and resources as part of the blend.

The ‘Record of Learning’ feature in Totara was also used to create a simple way for staff and managers to record appraisal (and upload relevant documents), tracking the completion date and allowing the Trust to produce appraisal compliance reports.

Rolled-up reporting:

A key part of the implementation was tracking and reporting. Think and the Trust collaborated to pull in historic tracking data from multiple sources, and created new reports in Totara LMS. This delivered the benefit of comprehensive RAG-rated compliance reports, populated with learner data, ready for the launch.

To ensure the user experience met expectation, the IM&T Training team were invaluable in providing access to their ‘IT Champions’, who helped with structured user testing in the week before go-live; this allowed the team to identify and fix an e-learning issue, to ensure that content played seamlessly and smoothly on IE8.

We are extremely pleased that we now have an LMS solution in place that can enable us to deliver mandatory training compliance in an engaging and user-friendly way that puts staff and their managers in control. This fits really well with the culture we are trying to develop in the Trust to give local teams more control over how care is delivered. We are excited about the potential of the system and are moving rapidly to implement the next phase of adding all of our non-mandatory, developmental training content. The feedback from staff, managers and the Trust Board assures us that we have made the right decision to develop My Learning and that it will have a big impact for staff and ultimately people who use our services.

Dr Adrian Whittington, Director of Education and Training


Rapid Execution:  

There was a 6-week turnaround from project initiation to the site being installed, followed by 3 weeks of configuration and admin training and testing), with the whole LMS going live in under 10 weeks. This rapid delivery ensured the Trust deadline was met.


A new custom report provides a much better view of the data, now with RAG reporting on compliance. There’s a view for managers, so they can run a ‘My Team’ compliance report, giving a much-improved level of detail on team performance. Business managers can run division-specific reports, helping to provide more precise audit and performance data.

Cost savings:

The Trust expects some significant efficiency savings to accrue through a reduction in demand on staff to attend classroom learning and will be monitoring this impact actively.

Fit for the future:

The site will continue to evolve, with planned features including:

  • Interoperability with NHS e-learning content servers.
  • Enhanced blends with social elements (Forums, innovative online learning).
  • Certification programmes using e-portfolios, (including Care Certificate and Nurse Revalidation).
  • Full performance management functionality.
  • Active directory integration

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