Training Co-ordinator Ed Shrager is responsible for the training of 1600 staff and 5000 volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Society, a charity which is on the front line in the fight against dementia. Dementia affects almost 700,000 people in the UK, and the Society has 260 national, regional and branch centres providing education and support around England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Society started to implement eLearning in 2005 and selected Lectora from Trivantis as its main authoring tool. Ed explains that “As well as our internal staff and our volunteers, we have a network of 30 trainers which educates care workers, outreach workers, care homes and beyond. Reaching such a complex and diverse audience is difficult. We knew that doing this electronically would not only be easier but help to reduce costs.”
“We chose Lectora and since then we haven’t been interested in any other product, as Lectora provides us with all we need.”
The first phase would focus on external education, so finding a tool which was not only cost-effective but easy to use was important “We chose Lectora and since then we haven’t been interested in any other product, as Lectora provides us with all we need.”
Lectora was initially used to create “Introduction to the Society” material for new staff and volunteers. It incorporates quizzes, audio clips and video clips and has saved significant time for trainers, who formerly had to spend time in each branch with each new group of volunteers.
The focus is now moving towards internal education. The team has delivered 1600 days of training in the past 8 months alone – normally using lots of paper including handouts and leaflets. This meant a lot of photocopies and postage, even though many would remain unread or be thrown away by delegates. Using Lectora, Ed has created new CD-ROM-based delegate packs. “We are also able to complement the basic feedback sheet with a proper assessment based on 20 multiple-choice questions that actually test how much learners have taken in, which is not only more environmentally friendly but much more valuable to us.”
“It has added another dimension to our training. Not only has it helped us save time and costs, but it helps us reach everyone and be more environmentally friendly.”
Ed is pleased with Lectora’s ability to create user-friendly training material. “You can take learners on a journey by using simple tools like buttons to help make the path through the course really obvious. One of our trainers who isn’t very computer-confident called me just to say how delighted she was with it.”
Looking towards the future, the Society sees opportunities to use Lectora to enhance the income it earns from selling specialist courses. It has already transferred its existing “Yesterday, Tomorrow, Today” programme into electronic format. Care homes use this to train and NVQ-certify staff in dementia care, and ordinarily would require a trainer to administer a paper examination. Now, learners will be able to take exams online or at a nearby branch office.
Ed believes that the benefits have been considerable. “I think people learn more,” he says. “It has added another dimension to our training. Not only has it helped us save time and costs, but it helps us reach everyone and be more environmentally friendly. By next year every person in every branch should have access to the Internet, then we will be able to do even more.”