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Sep 18

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

Posted: 5 September 2018

Deciding what learning and development opportunities to provide your staff with, and how to implement them, isn’t easy. But it’s essential to get it right. Not just for the benefits it can bring to individual workers, but for the impact it can have on those who need care and support and on your retention rates.

The importance of developing your workforce well was the driving force behind the development, or should we say re-development, of our ‘Learning and development guide’. Good learning and development provision can:

  • enable staff to provide good and outstanding care
  • improve workforce competency and productivity
  • create effective leaders
  • improve recruitment and retention rates.

In our ‘Learning and development guide’ you’ll find advice, guidance and ideas around 10 areas of learning and development.

Learning and development guide image

Deciding the ‘what?’

Look at the learning needs of your organisation, or perhaps just focus on an individual team to get started. Consider the following to help you understand what skills and knowledge your workers need, now and in the future:

  • current job descriptions
  • day to day requirements for a role
  • individuals objectives
  • appraisal documents
  • strategic, organisational and business plans
  • inspection and audit reports
  • your NMDS-SC account
  • competency frameworks

The ‘Learning and development guide’ gives you ideas about what evidence to collect and how to find it, as well as considering what minimum standards you need to ensure are in place to build strong learning foundations.

Deciding the ‘how?’

Once you’ve decided what skills and knowledge your workforce need to refresh, develop or gain, you need to find the best way to provide them. 

At our national conference, Andrea Sutcliffe suggested that “when we talk about person-centred care… we also need to be thinking about person-centred training and development”.  Different people learn differently, so it’s important to recognise this and be responsive to it. The thought of doing e-learning might make your toes curl, but some colleagues would love it. Some people like to write assignments, but others would run for the hills. Offering a variety of ways to learn, with safe environments to practice new skills, will engage more workers and help to ensure learning is embedded.

For many organisations, qualifications and apprenticeships are a ‘go to’ learning offer. But they aren’t for every organisation or every learner. Other common offers are classroom-based learning and e-learning. Both have plenty of pros, but also some cons.

Technology continues to provide new opportunities in learning and development. Virtual and augmented reality are becoming more accessible, and webinars or video conferencing can reach multiple learners at different locations.

You don’t have to go digital though to provide engaging opportunities. We offer and practice action learning, where small groups support each other to solve problems. Flipped learning gives learners more responsibility for their own development outside the classroom, using time together to share and debate their research.

Andrea Sutcliffe also asked conference delegates ”What can we learn from things that go wrong?”. We visited a residential care provider a few weeks ago who told us that they use every problem, issue or mistake as an opportunity to learn as a team. This makes their workers more confident in their ability to deal with future challenges.

There are lots of other ideas to make learning more inclusive to all in the ‘Learning and development guide’.

Mahatma Gandhi said ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever’. Living and learning are not mutually exclusive. Learning shouldn’t be a chore, it should be exciting, inspiring, engaging and it should motivate people to want to learn more.

Follow our campaign on Twitter using #learnsomethingnew or keep an eye on our website for more guidance and advice around learning and development in adult social care.