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Training software needs to be streamlined, made far easier

One thing I've experienced within Trusts, and extremely recently, is the inefficiency of mandatory training software.

Such systems are often plagued with confusing or poorly designed user interfaces, overly complex, technical or inefficient systems for 'finding' online courses.

For example, in one experience; you log in to a generic staff portal, have to search for a tiny link called 'mandatory training', go to your training home page, click on 'look up courses', then type in a specific set of digits (which you will have to email someone about) to find the course you want. Often courses have generic names or titles and are thus confusingly interchangeable. The onus is then on line managers/staff to work out if they have to renew (how often varies between course to course; some are one year, some are three years, so on). This assumes the system is working. Typically the system goes down or becomes unresponsive. It can take several weeks just to complete a few online courses that should only take minutes, or at most, a few hours to do.

If I was to build this system, I would build it completely differently. Line managers would permanently enrol a staff member onto a course. When the course is coming up (close to expiry or overdue), the staff member receives a series of reminder emails to their staff email account with a direct link to the course(s) and test(s) they need to take.

No need to search. No need to check dates. No need for line managers to check. Just an automatic reminder/renewal email system (which is what 95% of most corporate systems use). The time savings would be massive, and it would greatly simplify (and thus reduce infrastructure costs) of the entire system.

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Heather DHSC 2 months ago

Hi Joshua

Thank you for sharing your idea. Are you aware of any good practice in this area, that you could share with us?

Heather

Reply 1

Joshua Flynn 2 months ago

Certainly.

Online, there are notable examples of e-commerce sites that offer training courses, such as Lynda.com and SkillShare, and in terms of government departments, Essex Libraries have online learning courses (available at: https://libraries.essex.gov.uk/reference-and-.../free-courses/), which can all be used as examples of reasonable design. The main feature of these is that it's reasonably straight-forward to get to a course, and they keep the number of interactions required to find a course to a minimum.

In terms of User Interface design (UX), and specific design patterns to work towards, a system should ideally:

1) Minimise the number of interactions (generally, the fewer the clicks required to get to a place, the better)
2) Be intuitive (should be well sign-posted, each step needed to be performed is clear, generally not require outside help/references to navigate)
3) Minimise the amount of the user's time required (require less visual searching with the eyes, faster loading, have appropriate shortcuts/references/links to common features/regularly used items)
4) Minimise user interruptions (avoid popups, prompts or interrupts; avoid distracting or flashing visual designs; avoid artificial slowing of data display)
5) Make use of automation where possible (EG automatic re-enrolment, automatic informative notifications/reminders)

Generally, the UI should avoid being either frustrating or confusing to use.

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Heather DHSC 1 month ago

Hi Joshua

Thanks so much for going to the effort of finding these examples and sharing your insights on User Interface. I will share the above will my colleagues and we will look into this further.

Heather

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