Continuous Professional Development: a digital revolution

COVID-19 has, without a doubt, impacted the care sector more than any other. The resilience, bravery, and commitment of those on the front line continues to be both remarkable, and inspiring. Like with any catastrophe, there has been an opportunity for reflection and adaptation amongst care workers, most notably, in how they can equip themselves to confidently handle new crises going forward, while also becoming increasingly competent and efficient at the important day to day duties that demand their attention.

Having a conscious and proactive approach to learning, as opposed to a passive and reactive one, has enabled countless care workers to continue gaining new skills, knowledge, and confidence, during a time of economic uncertainty.

For others, the pandemic has helped highlight the importance of CPD, or Continuing Professional Development, and fostered a new mindset of perpetual education and self-improvement. This is the term used to describe the learning activities that professionals engage in, to develop and enhance their abilities.

Another by-product of COVID-19 (and all ensuing measures to limit social contact through lockdowns and quarantines) has been a digital transformation and paradigm shift, adopted by organisations large and small, as well as individuals. Whilst the argument in favour of online learning was always a compelling one, long before the pandemic hit, it wasn’t until recently that e-Learning became the only viable solution. It just so happened that it offered more flexibility, freedom, efficiency, and convenience, compared to traditional ways of learning.

Short Courses on highly current topics such as causes and spread of infection and infection control and prevention have proven especially popular amongst care home staff, NHS employees, and also individuals looking after vulnerable family members. Courses on broader topics such as domestic skills for home care workers and care planning have also become increasingly attractive, both from a CPD perspective as well as in a confidence building capacity, wherein the pandemic made everybody cautious and concerned about their own wellbeing, the wellbeing of others, and the financial domino effect that led to a rise in unemployment.

Developing professional competence and broadening your field of knowledge, is critical to career progression and job retention, as well as opening the door to new opportunities. The job market can dictate a higher demand for certain professions in exceptional circumstances, much like we have recently experienced with COVID 19, and a redistribution of the workforce (from industries hit hardest during lockdown, such as retail, leisure and entertainment) to the care sector, is only possible if candidates have the right skills.

In a world where technology is ubiquitous, and people often gravitate towards digital processes that complement and enhance their lives, or simply save time (think online shopping, online banking, and online socialising to name a few), the idea of online learning has also been embraced.

Much like the aforementioned examples, the intention is not to completely replace and eradicate traditional counterparts (i.e. some people still enjoy the physical act of shopping – and learning is no different), but to take advantage of the wealth of benefits that it offers. Using a laptop, tablet, or mobile device at a convenient time, to watch a few video tutorials, view a presentation, or answer a quiz to assess competence and knowledge retention, is a flexible, practical, and easy approach to learning. Laser Learning, a Berkshire-based e-Learning company, follows this exact format with their Skills For Care endorsed CPD Short Courses (including unlimited use subscriptions at affordable rates, for organisations wishing to take advantage of a large number of short courses), along with full lesson resources, ePortfolio software, and a dedicated Care Certificate course which provides knowledge to cover every standard included in the official Skills for Care specification.

Every lesson in the Care Certificate course includes bespoke video tutorials, as well as reading materials, presentations, and good practice examples. Furthermore, a mandatory quiz at the end of each lesson (which requires a 100% pass mark) ensures both competence and confidence. Managers are able to create their own accounts to enrol staff on the course and track their progress. All of the content is accessible remotely via computer, smartphone, or tablet, enabling care professionals to make progress towards the certificate in a way that suits their circumstances.

Whether you are an owner, manager or independent learner, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a free demo of the Care Certificate course platform, and/or the CPD short course offering. The Laser Learning team can be contacted on info@lasersys.co.uk or +44 (0)1753 584 112.

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