A report into the impact of digital learning on the social care workforce in Wales has highlighted that people need support to develop digital skills and the right equipment to learn effectively.
During the Covid-19 pandemic many frontline social care staff relied on digital learning for training and development. We commissioned the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) to help us find out how this affected people.
What we learned
The research revealed that there were some positive experiences. Local authorities, training providers and social care providers worked quickly to make it possible for the workforce to learn digitally.
They gave local organisations equipment and improved digital resources. Some of these initiatives were supported by funding from us.
The research showed that digital learning can give learners flexibility and allows them to study independently and at their own pace. It can also be more cost effective for social care providers as there’s less travel and the digital resources have a wider reach.
The report also highlighted the challenges of digital learning. Some staff had difficulty accessing resources because of poor internet connectivity or limited access to equipment. The quality of digital resources was also inconsistent.
Researchers found that people want digital learning to be more interactive, to help support their well-being, as learning online can mean there are fewer opportunities to form relationships and learn from each other.
Jon Day, our Assistant Director of Workforce, said: “We’re keen to know what digital learning means for social care workers in Wales and whether it benefits or challenges them.
“Our research focused on the training areas managed by 20 workforce managers working across all Wales’s local authorities. We looked at evidence and asked local authority workforce managers, social care provider managers, training providers and social care staff about their experiences over the past two years.
“As well as sharing their experiences of digital learning, the people we spoke to had great ideas for the future. They want a balance between digital and face-to-face sessions, training that’s practical and interactive, high-quality resources and the right support to learn independently.”
In response to the findings, the report gives recommendations for improving digital learning in the future. The main recommendations include:
- partners such as us, local authorities, training providers and social care providers taking an all-Wales approach to digital learning
- local authorities supporting learners and providers to develop digital skills
- training providers and social care providers focusing on learners’ needs
- social care managers supporting staff to apply learning to their practice.