Halving mandatory face-to-face training time for East Midlands Ambulance Service

East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EMAS) provides emergency medical response, urgent care and patient transport services for the 4.8 million people living across the areas of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.

The Trust employs around 5,000 people in medical and support roles, and needs to deliver a wide range of mandatory, medical and specialist training to its staff. As recently as 2014, there was no e-learning programme available within the organisation.

After experimenting with an online version of its induction programme, which gave an important but limited first step into e-learning, the Trust was ready to create a healthcare LMS through which to create, deploy, assign and track all learning.

We were tasked with developing a Totara Learn platform that would:

  • Increase ease of access to training throughout EMAS.
  • Improve compliance levels through online delivery and reporting.
  • Train all paramedics to the same skill level.
  • Empower regional training centres and managers with completion data.
  • Gradually change the culture of learning in the organisation.

A growing learning culture

We designed and built a Totara Learn platform to give EMAS the tools it needed to begin its transition to digital learning, including the capability to get meaningful data on the reach and effectiveness of its learning programme.

The initial focus of the new Totara Learn LMS was to increase compliance by delivering statutory and mandatory training to all members of staff. Totara’s functionality allows EMAS to instantly assign mandatory training based on each user’s role and to automate sign-ups for refresher courses as required. This made assigning training far easier for administrators, made finding and completing required training far easier for learners, and made it far more straightforward to monitor course completion and compliance levels.

Over a four-year period, EMAS has gone from having only its induction training online to offering 656 courses covering the wide range of learning requirements of its staff. Even the induction course has been improved and expanded. New starters now get access to the LMS before their start date, so they can arrive at work ready to go. We also introduced a new user tour, so that new employees get a walkthrough and answers to frequently asked questions when they use Totara for the first time.

We’ve helped EMAS to halve the amount of time its staff spend completing face-to-face mandatory training. The theory aspect of essential learning around topics such as resuscitation, manual handling and infection prevention can now be completed online. Staff enjoy the freedom of being able to learn on any device at any time, including making use of time spent on the road or waiting at hospitals. It also means time spent travelling to the nearest training centre, which could be a 160-mile round trip for some employees, is kept to a minimum. Face-to-face training is only needed for managerial validation of practical skills. Even when face-to-face training is necessary, all bookings are completed via the Totara platform.

Such has been the success of the project that we’re now working with EMAS on an upgrade to the latest version of Totara Learn. With the learning platform now well established within the organisation and its functionality wholeheartedly adopted by EMAS staff, the focus will be on improvements to the user experience and fluidity of the site.

Improving engagement and increasing efficiency

With a culture of online learning growing throughout the organisation, 99% of employees are now logging in to the new Totara Learn LMS regularly. This compares to a figure of 40% of employees immediately after launch, which was indicative of engagement rates with the old training system.

Compliance levels have improved dramatically. The ease with which learning can be allocated, completed and tracked via Totara Learn means that completions of statutory and mandatory training have increased from 50-60% pre-LMS to around 98% now.

By introducing its learning management system, EMAS has been able to remove 95% of paper processes associated with its education programme. Along with the 50% reduction in the time taken for mandatory face-to-face training and the need for staff to travel to training centres, there has been widespread financial and efficiency savings for EMAS.

“Working with Synergy Learning has been an unquestionably great experience. They are so helpful, very friendly, laid back, and there’s no pressure to buy. You know you are working with a team of experts: I always get really sound advice and fantastic insights. Errors are always fixed in next to no time, and their ways of working are so fluid yet so seamless. I would strongly recommend working with Synergy Learning.”

Darren Rungapadiachy | Learning Technologies Manager

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