|Christine McDonald, Administrator for the Canterbury DHB Professional Development Unit, and Neil Hellewell, of the South Island healthLearn project.|
Celebrating five years this month since it was launched, healthLearn (elearning platform) has over 21,000 registered users across the South Island. Providing flexible 24/7 access to a range of courses for the health workforce, from any location, healthLearn enables staff to grow their knowledge at their own pace and in their own environment.
Feedback on healthLearn has been positive across the sector, with users describing it as a successful and productive portal for acquiring education, knowledge and skills on a variety of topics. Nikki Barillo-Tering, a registered nurse at Canterbury DHB, says the convenience of the platform is invaluable. “I can study at my own pace, rewind videos for more understanding, and have practical tests when I’m ready. I’m looking forward to completing more courses and learning more from healthlearn.”
Robyn Guy, clinical nurse specialist, says she has noticed staff growing in confidence, the more they explore and use the site. “I have worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist for over 10 years and I’m delighted to see so many of the nurses in our unit working and learning independently at their level, on the topics determined by them. The increase in membership reflects its relevance and ease of access.” Five years ago, healthLearn only had around 1,900 users – mainly in the Canterbury region. There are now over 21,000 users from over 100 organisations across the South Island, with over 180 available courses and over 200 logged in users per day. In rural areas staff often live quite a distance from the hospital and can easily miss out on training and courses. HealthLearn opens up these opportunities to them.
healthLearn supports the use of blended learning with online modules to cover theoretical knowledge requirements, combined with face-to-face teaching. Along with providing convenient access to educational material, the system also supports evidenced based learning and clinical processes across the South Island that are easily updates, says nurse educator Neil Hellewell, of the South Island healthLearn project. “As healthLearn content is co-designed and shared, 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, ensuring all communities receive the same level of care.”
Another advantage of using healthLearn is the creation of a single record for each staff member, ensuring a mobile workforce by keeping a record of learning, certificates and achievements. Organisations outside the DHBs are able to request access through an online access agreement.