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Achieving Operational Excellence:
Maximising operational benefits

  • Writer's pictureNikki Humber

Should charities use e-Learning to raise awareness?

Updated: Jul 6, 2023


e-Learning

Last month I was delighted to announce to The UK Sepsis Trust that the total number of licences requested by NHS, health, and education organisations within the previous six months for their e-Learning modules was now more than double than had been received during the preceding twelve months. This is a huge success story for the Education Department within The UK Sepsis Trust and one that seemed unattainable back in the summer of 2020 when the pandemic was restricting fundraising and potentially placing their e-Learning programme in jeopardy.

The UK Sepsis Trust knew that e-Learning was more important than ever as a way of spreading awareness as face-to-face training sessions were not possible due to restrictions. However, funding was not available at that time to pay for the updates to keep the e-Learning up-to-date. Premier IT, who had originally designed and developed the e-Learning, was able to work with The UK Sepsis Trust to develop an alternative model of funding, ensuring that the charity is now always able to keep their modules current, whilst also enabling them to reach greater numbers of learners than ever before.

This month, the modules are being updated again with the clinician-focused modules aimed at the care of adults, children and within a careworker’s setting now including the option to review the new guidelines from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

e-Learning has helped to raise awareness and share key clinical information for The UK Sepsis Trust, but for my blog, I decided to ask if other charities would benefit from using e-Learning to raise awareness or boost their education efforts. It probably won’t surprise you given my profession that I am responding with a hearty yes. However, here are just some of the reasons that justify my answer:

1. Cost – Providing training of any kind incurs costs. These can be offset by charging a related fee to the learner or their organisation. However, the type of learning provided will affect the costs involved. Anyone who has set up a face-to-face training event will be aware that venues need to be booked, trainers or facilitators employed and refreshments and stationery supplies ordered. Plus, there is the cost of administering the event itself. The attending organisation(s) will be also looking at travel costs and the half or full day that their staff member is absent to attend the course. The price per head can be prohibitive – either for the charity providing it or an organisation paying for its staff to attend. Certainly, an organisation might not choose to send two staff to the course if it thinks it can get away with just one person.


e-Learning drastically reduces the price per head which cannot be generically quantified because the reduction of cost and easier access to learning will increase the number of users accessing it and in turn (depending on the purchasing model) reduce the cost per head further.

2. Reach – This brings us on to our next advantage of e-Learning. Its flexibility means that it can reach so many more people than face-to-face training. By being provided cheaper, being accessible any time anywhere, and by requiring a shorter time commitment from the learner, an e-Learning solution becomes a more attractive or viable option to many learners.

If more people can access it, it makes it possible that more people will access it! People often say ‘you can’t beat face-to-face learning’ and as an ex-trainer myself, I have a lot of sympathy for that statement. However, one of the most important things about any learning solution is that it is available to the people that need it. After all, if they can’t participate in the learning, then it doesn’t matter how good it is.

3. Consist and current – e-Learning allows you to be both consistent and current with your information at all times. Charities may need to stay ‘on message’ where there are external politics that need to be sensitively navigated or perhaps avoided altogether. e-Learning delivers the same message every time with the exact vision that the charity intends.

Also, policies and guidance change all the time. Learners attending face-to-face meetings are unlikely to return to repeat a full-day course if it is not a mandatory requirement. However, they may retake an e-Learning module – especially if new guidance within it is highlighted or brought to their attention in some way.

4. Flexible reporting – it is important for all organisations to evaluate the efficacy and reach of their educational offerings. For charities, this is especially important when needing to justify funding expenditures. Although not built in as standard, it is possible to include coding within the e-Learning itself to run reports using analytical software whether the learning is hosted on an LMS or accessible directly from your charity’s website.

Without breaching any GDPR protection laws, you can build reporting into your modules to allow you to establish how many users engage with your learning, what devices they use, where geographically those users are based, and how long they engage with each element within the learning, as well as other vital learning statistics to help you better understand your audience and how they use the modules. This will enable you to continually improve the content to better meet their needs and the educational objectives of the charity.

5. Transformative Impact – One of the challenges for charities in putting their message across is getting the right people to listen. Not just the decision-makers but those who can make a difference when it’s needed most ‘on the ground’. However, e-Learning has the potential to reach all staff if it is taken on as part of an organisation-wide initiative.

Most organisations and industries now utilise e-Learning as part of their induction and/or mandatory training programmes. Whilst many of these courses may be developed in-house, training leads recognise that they cannot match the expertise of outside organisations, such as charities, and more are becoming open to hosting content from proven outside suppliers that they trust – especially if the learning is accredited in some way (e.g. if a module awards CPD points).

This benefits the charity’s objectives as their message is not only seen by more people but by having their e-Learning adopted as part of an induction or mandatory programme, the information is effectively adopted as organisational policy.

If you’re thinking of creating e-Learning for your charity or organisation and would like to know more, please contact me at nhumber@premierit.com.

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