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Would the introduction of eLearning be a good idea for Early Years st


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As a Learning and Development Adviser for my Local Authority tasked with the development of the staff working in Early Years I am looking for new ways to deliver training to the sector to ensure we can continue to deliver quality training whilst coping with an ever decreasing budget.

 

One solution we have sourced in other sectors we provide a service for is eLearning. This has been introduced with high levels of success and customer satisfaction to our internal staff and saved huge amounts of money which allowed to focus the budgets on other training.

 

I am now speaking with our Early Years staff about the possibility of moving some of the training we do around policies, procedures and some of the EYFS stuff into an eLearning format. The feedback I am getting is that as long as the courses are engaging and not too heavy on simply clicking and reading lots of information, it is generally thought to be something that our staff would like to see us develop.

 

We openly admit that this is not the preferred learning style for everyone but some recognition is needed that we must start to look at alternative ways to deliver training before we start to fail our customers by being unable to provide them with the training they need.

 

We feel some of the benefits to eLearning would be:

  • Instant access to courses 24/7 from any internet enabled computer.
  • Huge savings from a tight budget allowing us to channel resources to other courses which cannot be provided via eLearning such as First Aid, Safeguarding etc.
  • Courses will be delivered faster without the need to wait for the next course or hope that there are spaces available.
  • The end of saying "sorry that course is full"
  • Better environmental impact with no travelling involved.
  • Learning can be self paced.
  • Courses will remain available as a resource to be re-visited at any time

We are sure there are more but the question I wanted to ask was whether anyone had any thoughts that we should consider before implementing this in our locality.

 

Are there any Authorities out there at the moment offering such a thing and if so what have your experiences of using it been?

 

If they did offer it what would you like to see available in respect of courses and would you use it?

 

I would appreciate your time in thinking about this and helping me form an idea of the best way to develop this idea.

 

John

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In Sheffield we are able to do an introduction to safeguarding e course. This has been very beneficial to our setting with regards to lower costs, staff cover etc. It takes a couple of hours and is question/answer based.

As an early years leader I would definitely like to see more of this kind of learning but it must not replace 'on the job learning' about children and how they develop - it must enhance it

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Putting on my practitioner head and not my forum admin head just a couple of thoughts;

 

Being able to access the training at a time convenient to me would be hugely advantageous as long as consideration was given by setting management that not all of this training should be undertaken in my own time - provision to do some of the training on site would be much appreciated by staff I am sure

 

Being able to access e-learning specified by the LA and therefore recognised by the LA would be good. There is a lot of organisations offering e-learning but some of them are not recognised by the LA that staff are working in and so it is a waste of time doing them

 

If the e-learning is offered free or at a minimal cost by the LA then it may encourage more staff in a setting to complete it as part of their own CPD

 

A slight disadvantage of e-learning if undertaken at home is the lack of networking opportunities that attending courses can offer but you would still be offering some attendance based training so this would solve that problem

 

I think overall if the option is no training because it is too expensive against e-learning I think most practitioners who are committed to being up to date and well informed would see the e-learning as a reasonable way forward.

 

Be good to read others feedback and thanks for starting the discussion, good to know you are looking at all the options available to you to support your workforce.

 

Best wishes

Sue

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The only disadvantage that I see and what has stopped some of my staff doing online training is that there is no way to actually guarantee who has done the training - as in someone could do it for someone else (hope that makes sense!)

 

If there are questions to answer could staff just google it instead of reading literature and therefore how much are they then actually learning?.

 

I totally agree that it is better time/cost wise and for those staff members who actually want to learn but if you have some staff who are reluctant to do any training I can see online training being seen as "the easy option" and them not getting anything out of it........

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Thanks for your thoughts.

 

I fully agree with everything that's been said and I hope we can build something here that addresses those concerns.

 

For example we are not looking to procure a lot of eLearning from an external company but to actually author it ourselves and host it on our own website. This allows us to control the content using the guidance of our Quality and Inclusion team and contextualize it to Wigan and the processes we have developed and promote.

 

As a result the courses will be offered free of charge to all Early Years Practitioners.

 

Protected study time in work was a topic we discussed with the nursery managers when I introduced the topic at a series of managers seminars and it was generally agreed that this would be vital to the success of the programme. Managers seemed much happier in allowing a member of staff a few hours off in work rather than a half or full day out of the setting while they attended a course.

 

It is also our intention to try and ensure that the learning is assessed via robust online assessments using quizes etc which I agree may well be open to abuse as you say mrsbat but I suppose that is then down to us making sure that we keep the vitally important stuff such as safeguarding etc away from an eLearning format and be very selective in our choice of courses for the site.

 

Some interesting points though thank you

 

John

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I did Safeguarding through North Tyneside e-learning which was terrific, but did require support to access. If access were easy (and easy to get the information about how to log back in several months later when I've forgotten all my passwords) then I would almost always prefer to access training this way.

 

Today I noticed that the NCMA (National Childminding Association) are providing some courses online at reasonable cost (petrol money really). Slightly differently, EYFS training is in the form of an e-seminar. It seems that there is a convener at the other end of a forum to answer questions. This wouldn't solve your problem of having to take bookings and only having so many places.

 

One thing to think about is that training isn't only about transferring information. It's also about building relationships, networking and sharing information between practitioners and settings. There will always be a core of people accessing everything, but many others who will not be engaged whose practice may suffer. Maybe utilising school ICT suites to workshop with those less engaged practioners would be possible.

 

Best of luck with it all,

 

Honey

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I did Safeguarding through North Tyneside e-learning which was terrific, but did require support to access. If access were easy (and easy to get the information about how to log back in several months later when I've forgotten all my passwords) then I would almost always prefer to access training this way. Today I noticed that the NCMA (National Childminding Association) are providing some courses online at reasonable cost (petrol money really). Slightly differently, EYFS training is in the form of an e-seminar. It seems that there is a convener at the other end of a forum to answer questions. This wouldn't solve your problem of having to take bookings and only having so many places. One thing to think about is that training isn't only about transferring information. It's also about building relationships, networking and sharing information between practitioners and settings. There will always be a core of people accessing everything, but many others who will not be engaged whose practice may suffer. Maybe utilising school ICT suites to workshop with those less engaged practioners would be possible. Best of luck with it all, Honey
In Sheffield we are able to do an introduction to safeguarding e course. This has been very beneficial to our setting with regards to lower costs, staff cover etc. It takes a couple of hours and is question/answer based. As an early years leader I would definitely like to see more of this kind of learning but it must not replace 'on the job learning' about children and how they develop - it must enhance it

 

Thank you both for your replies.

 

Can I ask if either of you were charged anything to access the Safeguarding eLearning that you did?

 

John

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I did safeguarding elearning through County and it was quite good - good as a refresher, I wouldn't like to think that it was meant to replace core knowledge.

Of my two other members of staff, one has no internet access and we have none at Preschool either, so it's not totally an option for all.

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Hi

 

Was having a conversation with a friend the other day and she is doing an OU course that requires some e-learning and she was complaining about how the site kept crashing or freezing etc.

 

We sometimes have users of our site who have difficulties and upon further investigation it often turns out to be a browser issue or the way the user has their internet security / cookies set up. It just made me wonder what impact this might have for you if staff get frustrated because they cannot access the learning on-line. You have no way of ensuring everyone is using the same operating systems etc but that would not stop people feeling frustrated if they could not access the learning first time :(

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Its a very good point Sue and one that we will hopefully avoid having learned lessons when developing our eLearning site for Council Staff.

 

The courses and related content we author are tested across a range of different browsers to ensure compatibility and minimise potential issues but of course we cannot avoid the problem of different security settings on individual machines but they can usually be resolved over the phone when the users contact us.

 

Thanks for raising the point though

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The courses and related content we author are tested across a range of different browsers to ensure compatibility and minimise potential issues but of course we cannot avoid the problem of different security settings on individual machines but they can usually be resolved over the phone when the users contact us.

 

Sounds good and obviously much thought has been given. I agree, most can be resolved over the phone if the users contact you but the worry can be that some folk just get frustrated and don't contact you therefore giving you the opportunity to resolve the issues.

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Thanks for this Cait,

 

Wigan does actually subscribe to this service and we have offered access to it to many of our services including the Early Years Sector. Although it has had some use we have been disappointed with the number of people actually accessing the courses. Maybe this is because the course are aimed at those working with disabled children and therefore, on the face of it, they seem quite specific courses or courses for a specific part of the workforce.

 

In fact many of the courses here are quite generic and are just as useful whether you have this responsibility or not. It is certainly worth looking at.

 

John

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