Connecting Healthcare Learning Across The South Island


13 Apr 2017

Health professionals across the South Island now have access to an e-learning platform, healthLearn. The Canterbury and West Coast-based system has now been rolled out into South Canterbury and Southern districts. Nelson/Marlborough district currently uses the Ko Awatea LEARN platform, and now also has access to the healthLearn content.

The online learning system provides flexible 24/7 access to a range of courses for the health workforce, from any location, enabling staff to develop knowledge at their own pace. Barbara Gilchrist, Nurse Educator at South Canterbury DHB, assisted with the rollout and also provides ongoing maintenance and support in South Canterbury. “healthLearn is a very accessible repository of learning,” she says. “Our staff can complete their training wherever they are and whenever they choose, at their own pace. In South Canterbury, we have a small population and a large geographical area, so we have some nurses who live rurally – quite a distance from the hospital – so they can easily miss out on training and courses. HealthLearn opens up these opportunities to them.”

The system streamlines the previous training model, with the use of online pre-learning modules to cover theoretical knowledge requirements, combined with face-to-face video conferencing.Along with providing convenient access to educational material, the system also supports standardised learning and clinical processes across the South Island, says Neil Hellewell, of the South Island healthLearn project. “As healthLearn content is shared and co-designed, it also provides the opportunity for consistent care for patients. Using the same resources enables a coherent, approach to developing capability across the South Island.”

Another advantage of using healthLearn is the creation of a single record for each staff member. “It ensures a mobile workforce by keeping a record of all your learning, certificates and achievements. You can build your learning profile to use if you need a record for your performance appraisal or if you have to apply for another job, or just for inventory sake,” Barb says. “And if you ever work for another DHB, you don’t have to redo your training, you still have access to the same record of learning. It’s very learner-centric, all the information belongs to the learner. You can access it from anywhere and can’t lose it – it goes wherever you go.” The platform currently has a membership of over 16,000 people, and continues to grow.

Organisations outside the DHBs are able to request access through an online access agreement, and at present there are around five organisations of different sizes signing up for access each week.There are currently 91 regional courses available on healthLearn, with many more under development. There are also additional courses which are specific to certain regions located on the learning platform as well – giving over 184 courses in total, and 11 communities of practice forums (online communities).The ultimate vision is for a single national platform and processes, available across all the health workforce. Work towards achieving this has commenced.To access healthLearn, go to 


Published on: Thursday, April 13th, 2017, under Information services