Since March 2011, Aldwyck has used online resources from Virtual College to deliver a blended learning solution to its staff. Aldwyck employs people in a wide variety of roles including plumbers, administrators and senior managers. All new employees now work through five specific compulsory online modules and must pass these in order to complete their probation.
Janice Ross, Learning & Development Advisor for Aldwyck Housing Group, commented: “We had to overcome a number of challenges before being able to make e-learning a success."
Aldwyck Housing Group is a not-for-profit social housing provider. It supplies over 11,000 affordable homes to rent or buy and management services for around 25,000 people across the south east and east of England. It offers specialist support and accommodation for young people, those with disabilities and older people. Its supported housing and care services range from 24-hour a day care, to on-call support as and when needed.
Aldwyck also delivers a wide variety of services to other organisations in the housing sector including development and housing management.
Aldwyck’s blended learning approach combines e-learning with classroom based training. ‘Personal safety’ e-learning courses, for example, are taken by all staff including those who are office based. Frontline staff go on to do a face to face ’lone working’ course.
Janice commented: "E-learning is ideal for new starters and refresher training. It’s a great way of delivering factual underpinning knowledge which provides the same consistency in the level of understanding.
“A blended approach ensures there are opportunities for discussion and a forum to clarify information. It also allows us to provide extra assistance for individuals who are struggling on particular topics."
In 2014, over 100 Aldwyck staff went through e-learning induction training.
Janice explained: “We would previously have delivered all of our new starter’s training via face to face, classroom based lessons.
“The introduction of e-learning has allowed us to deliver equivalent training for the same number of staff in significantly less time and a reduced cost.
“New staff are given a sense of inclusion. From the start, they can log on to their training and get to grips with introductory information. This helps them to feel more informed when they first start and reduces the amount of time required to complete training during their probation.
“One of the major benefits of online learning is flexibility. Face to face sessions are ideal for practical sessions but require a minimum number of learners to be cost effective. Previously it could be 6 months before some starters received new starter’s training."