A community of learning

I recently discovered that Ko Awatea LEARN, the eLearning platform developed by Ko Awatea for Counties Manukau Health (CM Health) recently achieved another milestone – 1200 sessions in the system in one day. With partnerships spanning eight DHBs, this phenomenal number is only matched by the training hours associated with it – at an average of 20 minutes per session.  That’s equal to 400 hours of training a day!  What we have is a healthcare eLearning community that is developing, growing and thriving.

Today I’m joined by Jason Ranston, from Ko Awatea’s Digital Services, who leads the team behind Ko Awatea LEARN.  Jason has been with CM Health for six years and during that time has seen the use of learning technology rapidly develop in CM Health and DHBs across the country.   Jason talks to us about Ko Awatea LEARN, and how it went from a single DHB system to include eight DHBs, in less than two years.

Digital Services team
Digital Services team. From left: Matt, Josh, Jason, Caroline, Megan and Holly

Ko Awatea LEARN was born out of our work in the original eLearning system, called eCampus. In applying quality improvement methodology to eCampus, (we used driver diagrams and PDSA cycles to better understand what was happening), we found some shortcomings in how we were delivering our eLearning.  For example, our system didn’t allow PHO’s and other partners of CM Health to access its learning. This ‘closed’ model provided a limited reach, so along with questions about usability and design, this was something that had to change.

We wanted LEARN to be open, and able to meet the needs of a population, wider than just Middlemore Hospital.  This includes people from other DHBs, who didn’t have the resources or experience in the eLearning space.  By working together, we were able to provide access and open up the community.

Making LEARN less restricted, meant we could implement an open innovation funnel, where we leveraged the system to create communities and partnerships that worked together to create value.  This value can be seen by the ability to share courses, with up to 300 now in the system.  We are also taking a big picture view and are currently looking at connecting skills, across the DHBs to spread capability.

In our partnerships with the DHBs (Waitemata, Hawkes Bay, Hutt Valley, MidCentral, Northland, Wairarapa and Whanganui), we have been able to learn from each other and speed up the process of how to develop and deliver better eLearning content. We are working together, with a paradigm and practice of collaboration that supersedes the traditional silos.  This means we improve faster, developing skill sets collectively, up and down the country.

Financial benefits aside (LEARN is not for profit).  LEARN has always been about a community of learning that is in action at all levels of interaction – from subject matter experts, developers, and administrators, to the learners that have embraced the system to help create new records month after month. Our goal is the same as clinicians, as we strive to create the best health outcomes for our patients.  Through the development of this nationwide eLearning community, we’d like to think that we are helping to do this. We’ve seen great work come out of the platform, and we hope to continue this well into the future as we look to open up even further and spread the knowledge we have collectively gained.

The take home message is that it’s not all about the technology – it’s more about the community that it creates.    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the DHBs who have helped to create this vibrant eLearning community.  You are stars!

If you would like to know more about Ko Awatea LEARN and how you can get access, contact the team at Ko Awatea Digital Services via email:eLearning@middlemore.co.nz

Jason and Geraint



Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

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