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20th March 2015

e-learning in the care sector

E-learning on Digital tabletThe phrase ‘e-learning’ in care work conjures up people sitting in front of a screen, trying to learn about people skills and how to practice care and support.

More technology invading our lives, we are tempted to think. Or we feel that people skills are what care and support is all about, and this needs practice and interaction, not time out with a mouse and keyboard.

But I don't think e-learning should be dismissed so lightly. I have no involvement in supplying training, but I was impressed recently when I followed a thread showing a vast range of e-learning opportunities. Yes, training in care work does involve direct person-to-person interaction to be successful and effective. Good practice is also backed up by concrete information which everyone in the care field must have some knowledge of. And much of this information is becoming available on our tablets and smartphones, written and supplied by respected and trusted public sources.

Resources for all

Given how many of us use these devices every day, it is very reassuring that such a range of resources can be consulted for best practice, for information about standards, regulations and developments in the care sector generally. Furthermore, the resources are for all: there are apps and programs which will assist commissioners of services, managers, direct carers and individuals who receive support, or who provide support informally.

In Scotland, a good place to begin looking for resources is on the Care Inspectorate website, at the Hub. This leads on to e-learning apps provided by the Scottish Social Services Council (the care staff accreditation and registration agency), the NHS, the British Association for Adoption and Fostering and Barnardo's Scotland.

A wide range of easily accessible information

Many of these resources are jointly produced between agencies. Among the subjects are safe administration of medicine, resources for people affected by alcohol, dementia care and background information, care outcomes, physical activities and patient guides to common conditions.

Another useful source of links is the Social Care Institute for Excellence website. This provides resources on re-ablement, personalisation, safeguarding, social exclusion, mental health and many other areas.

The range of accessible e-learning is continually increasing. Easy accessibility on phones and tablets overcomes another difficulty sometimes perceived: that it takes time out, away from the care setting to do 'proper' training. The portability of e-learning apps makes it easy to quickly check and search for information after work, or at quiet moments throughout the day when the pressure is off. We no longer have to always dedicate an entire day to obtaining essential information about care and support.

Useful links:

Care Inspectorate – The Hub: useful apps

SSSC news: e-learning

SCIE – e-learning resources

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Tony Clarke

Scottish Care Inspectorate Specialist

Tony began care work as a care assistant in care of the elderly here in Scotland in the 1970s. He very much enjoyed promoting activities, interests and good basic care. After a gap to gain a social work qualification, he worked in management of care services, latterly as a peripatetic manager which gave him experience of a wide range of services.

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