Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) and 59 member Citizens Advice Bureaux, together with the Extra Help Unit, form Scotland’s largest independent advice network providing free, independent, confidential and impartial advice, available to everyone. In 2018-19 the Citizens Advice Service network helped over 272,500 clients in Scotland gain over £134 million in total with support from the network.
CAS provides support and development services to all member bureaux of the Citizens Advice network in Scotland. Each bureau is an independent charity with discretion on how to deliver training, necessitating a system flexible enough to accommodate diverse needs. Adviser training originally placed a large burden on bureaux with a naturally high turnover of over 800 volunteers a year.
The training programme designed for trainee advisers covers 32 topics and demands a large time commitment. Volunteers also fit their bureau work around other commitments, they may have been out of education for years or may be experts and might access learning at different times, locations and on multiple devices.
The unique nature of their audience and setting resulted in CAS opting for an LMS solution that is flexible, cost effective and efficient. The solution has helped to end long waiting lists for the intake of new volunteers, as groups of learners do not need to start at the same time.
Through the LMS solution CAS aimed to:
- empower learners to seek continuous learning no matter where and when
- make relevant learning easy to find at point of need
- provide a more personalised learner experience while maintaining flexibility, efficiency and catering for individual needs.
Totara flexibility allows them to cater for a high volunteer turn over, to an audience that is diverse in educational background, location and in when and how they can access learning. They are also different in the respect that each CAB is an independent charity and advisers are “invited” to learn through the LMS but this is not mandatory.
Totara Learn LMS has made it easier for them to evidence compliance with external standards for funding and accreditation and underpins the rest of their offerings for the Adviser Training Programme as part of their 70:20:10 model; Totara allows the LMS to deliver learning paths that guide learners through the blended programme.
It also allows individual bureaux to evaluate and track progress and Citizens Advice Scotland to analyse use of the materials to inform their regular review and improvement, and to report on broad trends across the Service.
- Ability to personalise the home page via audience dashboards depending on the user’s role in the organisation, including highlighting specific courses, helping give learners a personalised look & feel to the LMS.
- Making elements on the home page context sensitive using dashboards depending on user’s role within the LMS, for example, a block to manage teams or run reports for those with these permissions.
- Toggling visibility of various elements throughout the LMS using complex audience rules helps ensure a personalised user experience all the way.
- Removing the need for course enrolment (unless in specific instances like management training), encourages continuous learning without any additional barriers or delays caused by requesting enrolment.
- Using topic categories, filters and the search function on the course catalogue page makes content easier to find.
- Creating a smoother user experience with the customisable navigation bar ensures they achieve the site architecture to fit their specific needs.
"The Totara Community and Help resources that come with using this open source platform are extremely useful. I particularly like the flexibility to innovate and personalise and the granular control customizing blocks can give you. An example would be the HTML block. The dashboard functionality has been crucial in helping us get closer to our objectives for the LMS."
"Totara has helped us make learning resources accessible to a diverse and rolling intake of trainees across all parts of Scotland. It is flexible enough to meet our needs with configurable elements to provide a good user experience specifically catered to our audiences”