Trent NHS IM&T Training Network

Delivering Open/Distance learning over the Internet

Study day - 14 May 1998
Novotel Hotel, Nottingham/Derby

Personal Review by Rod Ward

This study day was organised by the Trent Training Network, which is now part of the NHS "Enabling People Programme". The objectives were to develop strategies enabeling clinicians to be more effective and examine the potential for interactive learning programs on hospital intranets.

The day was ably facilitated by Ian Carr and Elaine Clawson the IM&T Training & Development Advisor and Programme Assistant. It was attended by approximately 20 IT & Training and other managers and senior staff from Trusts and Authorities around the Trent Region of the NHS.

The first presentation was given by Margaret Bell of Belle Associates; Learning Technology Services looking aLearning Technology Services looking at the way Information & Communications Technologies (ICT) are changing the world of education. This was followed by a short discussion during which several key areas for development were highlighted. I then took over with an impromptu on-line demonstration of some Web Sites relating to Health & Informatics education.

Delivering Open/Distance Learning over the Internet - Margaret Bell

Most of Margaret's expertise is within the education sector and she described how education and training are at the heart of changes which are occurring in many sectors. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is largely about links to other people and she described email as the pre-eminent technology, and the developing critical mass of users. This brings acess issues into focus, rather than specific technological issues. The convergence of a range of technologies was described and figures given for the numbers of people and businesses, schools etc. able to participate in the ICT revolution presented.

Technology is seen as a key learning tool for individuals, organisations and the country, as described in a variety of recent government and other reports. This will bring changes in what is taught and how it is learnt, the focus being increasingly on the individual.

She described technology based learning as being;

Margaret identified 5 levels at which the Internet (or Intranet) can be used for learning;

She went on to discuss some of the financial models for payment, infrastructure, access issues and the learning environment.

Margaret illustrated many of the areas with reference to the government's initiatives in teacher training and the change in role.

She suggested the setting of targets at stages of the development process and giving serious consideration to connectivity and bandwidth issues at the outset, as use is likely to increase and education potentially becoming the "Killer application" of the NHSnet.

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Health & Informatics Education Web Sites - Rod Ward

This impromptu & quick demonstration was an attempt to illustrate the points mentioned in Margaret's Presentation with examples which closely related to health care education & training in the NHS Trusts.

From Nursing & Health Care Resources on the Net I took them to the On-Line Medical Networked Information OMNI project page ( which is based in Nottingham) and the WISDOM Project for Primary Care Staff (another local project).

Next followed a quick visit to the "Enabling People Programme" Site. At the next site the NHS IM&T Electronic Library unfortunately the server appeared to be down & we couldn't make contact !

I then gave a brief glimpse of the Nursing Informatics Course using WebCT software which I am using at Sheffield with 300 students, to illustrate usability issues.

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General Discussion & Comment

During the morning there was widespread discussion about IM&T education & training, which particular emphasis being on the use of local Intranets within NHS trusts for training purposes.

The types of learning which can be achieved, location of facilities and individual access problems and development issues figured strongly in both group and individual discussions. These will obviously be an increasingly important issues for anyone involved in the move towards evidence based healthcare and well educated and informed staff in the NHS. I understand that IM&T will also be gaining a higher profile amongst non-medical Education purchasing consortia in the region.

This was an interesting morning and I welcome the intention to take the work further within this group.

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Page  Created: 14.5.98
Last Updated: 3.9.03