Courses, qualifications and alternatives

Identifying your learning Style

If you have identified personal training needs  in relation to e-Learning, you will need to find some learning solutions.

First of all, you need to make sure that you have identified your own learning style.  A way to find this out is by completing a learning style questionnaire. Honey and Mumford is one of the most popular questionnaires (linked to in resoiurces below). Most trainers will have a copy somewhere but if not available try the Peter Honey publications (N.B. There is a charge)

Courses and qualifications

If it is accredited learning you require, to assist in career development as well as reaching a particular standard, then courses and qualifications are possibly the answer.  Useful online databases for courses and qualifications are the National Database of Accredited Qualifications and the Health Informatics Qualifications Finder – a database holding qualifications in relation to Health Informatics although anyone interested in e-Learning will find items of use here.

The eLearning Repository is a search and discovery platform to help find locally developed as well as national e-Learning across the NHS in England.

Alternatives to courses

Is it a course you want?  Is it a qualification you need?  Attending  courses or long drawn out qualifications may not be the answer for your specific need.  Here are some other options.

  • e-Learning clubs such as the NHS Yorks and Humber e-Learning Club which have carried out a vast array of work in implementing e-Learning and can be the source of advice and guidance.
  • Mentoring – A number of NHS organisations offer mentoring.  Many have mentoring policies.  The PHI online portal has details about mentoring.
  • The Improvement Network (NHS) has mentoring guidance.
  • Secondments – Often short term projects which allow you to develop knowledge and skills in other areas of work or environments.  Talk to your manager and your HR department about secondment opportunities.
  • Books – Still the favoured option for many.  If no money in the budget to buy look to your local NHS library services who can order on inter library loan.

For reviews of current publications and access to free e-Learning books see the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies and the eLearning Guild that also contains access to reviews on a variety of e-Learning material.

Self study on the Internet – The Internet is full of resources, articles and links about e-Learning.  Many are referred to in this tool.  However, it is best to identify key sites and then work through them. Websites such as the e-Learning Centre by Learning LIght have access to articles, resources and forums on e-Learning.

Searching the Internet can be time consuming and, if not directed, lacking in focus.  It is difficult sometimes to ascertain the validity of the information available. Recommendation by trusted colleagues and professional bodies will often assist this evaluation.

Online courses are available from providers such as

  • Learndirect
  • UK Online provide courses to help get you onto the internet
  • NHS Connecting for Health (NHS CfH) has developed education and training to support NHS staff using new information technology systems and service

The Essential IT Skills (EITS) programme focuses on the delivery of two qualifications. NHS ELITE (NHS e-Learning IT Essentials) and NHS Health (NHS eLearning for Health Information Systems), both fully accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS).

  • NHS ELITE focuses on the essential IT skills such as how to use a keyboard and mouse through to file management, web and email skills.
  • NHS Health provides the learner with essential information to ensure users comply with information governance, data protection and patient confidentiality requirements

Local Further Education (FE) Colleges – carry a variety of courses in ICT, teaching and softer skills.  Contact your local colleges for details
Libraries – either local public libraries or libraries attached to NHS organisations will have access to a variety of books, publications, journals and online databases.  Many run courses using e-Learning methods.  In addition they can access resources from a network of sources around the country. 

In addition the NHS eLearning repository has a number of e-Learning guides and resources to access.

Experience in other sectors

Other sectors can be a great source of information, guidance and support.  Sectors such as the Further Education, Education sectors and local governments who are all addressing the growth in this mode of delivery.  How can you learn from what they are doing? What is the good practice out there that can be applied to your own NHS organisation?

  • Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
    Harnessing Technology from DCSF: Department for Children, Schools and Families
  • Sector Skills Councils: e-skills The Sector Skills Council for ICT, telecoms and contact centres; Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) the sector skills body for professionals working in the lifelong learning sector.
  • LSN e-Learning and technologies provides resources, projects and training for the post-16 sector.
  • NIACE Works to encourage more and different adults to engage in learning of all kinds, including e-Learning.

Getting your Personal Development Funded

The NHS favours development for staff and commits valuable resources to learning opportunities however the pot of money is often stretched.  Funding is often available but supporting other initiatives such as Joint Investment Framework (JIF) which is looking at the up-skilling of staff primarily aimed at Bands 1 – 4 can open up opportunities.  See the East of England Joint Investment Framework (JIF) link for an example of the opportunities this has allowed staff in that area.

National incentives are often backed by funding which can be used for training opportunities.  If your course or development cannot be funded by the normal routes work with your manager and the training department to identify other possible routes.

You could check to see if content is already available nationally via NLMS or locally or within other regions.  In addition the The NHS CFH may be able to support this in development and funding. Check with local e-learning leads or NHS CFH.

But most importantly, Don’t give up!!
Also to help you, you could look at the Supporting those involved in learning and development category in the e-Learning Readiness Tool.

Back to the Trainer readiness page

Related Resources

    Essential IT Skills Programme

    Details on the Essential IT Skills (EITS) programme including two qualifications NHS ELITE (NHS e-Learning IT Essentials) and NHS Health (NHS e-Learning for Health Informatic systems.

    Mentoring and Coaching NHS Connecting for Health

    Link to pages on NHS Connecting for Health on Mentoring and Coaching.

    Mentor guidelines

    Provides general guidance on mentoring.

    The Training Foundation

    An organisation that works with the NHS and provides the TAP learning system. It also provides several courses and qualifications for those in learnign and development.

    British Computer Society

    British Computer Society (BCS) web site detailing a variety of IT based qualifications.

    Open University - Innovations in e-Learning

    Details of an Open University course in Innovations in e-Learning

    Honey and Mumford Learning Styles Questionnaire (LSQ)

    Link to the website for Honey and Mumford to obtain their popular learning styles questionnaire.  Are you an Activist, Reflector, Pragmatist or Theorist. (NB there is a charge)

    JISC website - e-Learning

    Supports Further and Higher education by promoting innovation in new technologies and by the central support of ICT services. There are lots of links to verys useful information and resources.

    Becta website

    Becta is the government agency leading the national drive to ensure the effective and innovative use of technology in learning. There are lots of useful links to resoruces.

    Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK)

    Sector Skills Council for lecturers in the Lifelong learning sector.

    National Institute of Adult Continuing Education website

    Website of National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) which encourages adults to participate in learning.

    Health Information Resources

    The NHS Evidence Health Information Resources website (formerly the National Library for Health) will continue to run in parallel to the NHS Evidence website.


    Sector Skills Council for IT and telecommunications that develop industry led competencies.

    Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies

    A website providing access to a variety of tools and technologies - including access to free books

    E-learning Centre by Learning Light

    An internet site full of information, resources, reviews and guidances on e-Learning.

    Learning Technologies

    This website offers real insight and discussion of the difficulties faced when trying to capture data to prove that e-Learning can change attitudes and improve employee loyalty. The website is a compilation of articles from many e-Learning enthusiasts who describe their own experiences of using e-Learning in the workplace.

    Quality Principles for digital learning resources

    These quality principles produced by Becta are a guide to the design and use of digital learning resources to support effective learning and teaching. Useful if choosing or desiging resources.

    The Register of Regulated Qualifications

    The Register of Regulated Qualifications contains details of qualifications that are accredited by the regulators of external qualifications in England (Ofqual), Wales (DCELLS) and Northern Ireland (CCEA). Users can search for details on current and expired accredited qualifications.

    Health Informatics Qualifications Finder

    This site contains a searchable database of current qualifications and courses from across England, Scotland and Wales that provide entry to and further study within the field of Health Informatics.


    Learndirect website which gives access to a variety of on line courses.

    Harnessing Technology: Transforming Learning and Children's Services

    This strategy which looks at harnessing technology to the needs of children, learners, parents, teachers, carers, employers and stakeholders.  Applies to schools, 14-19 and lifelong learning, HE and Children's services sectors.

    Department for Children, Schools and Families

    Website of the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

    E-learning and e-leadership standards for the lifelong learning sector

    Standards developed in 2005 for use by teachers, learning support practitioners and leaders

    e-Learning Guild

    The e-Learning Guild is an online information center and community of practice for anyone involved in the design, development, and management of web-based educational or instructional content (e-Learning). A US based site requiring membership although there is free access to a number of sources and guidance.

    UK Online Centres

    Website which points people to free and low cost access to computers and the internet via a variety of UK online centres.