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Strategies for Using eLearning to Deliver Sensitive Content

Setting the Scene

One out of Four is an NHS Education for Scotland project developed to ensure that maternity healthcare is sensitive to the needs of women survivors of sexual violence. The project team comprised a range of key stakeholder groups including practice nurses, GPs, midwives and obstetricians as well as experts in the field, from Rape Crisis Scotland, the Scottish Association for Mental Health and the lead for tackling Gender Based Violence in Scotland. The project provides information and sensitive e-learning content for midwives, and other health professionals, so they can give the highest quality care to women survivors across Scotland. With the aim of reducing the risk that the experience of pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting will re-traumatise women.

NHS Education for Scotland: eLearning on a Laptop

The Challenge

At the inception of the One out of Four project there was no local or national guidance on maternity care for survivors of sexual abuse. Following the development of a short best practice guide, and a successful poster program and training course in Ayrshire, the idea of a national training programme was developed. The challenge was how to best facilitate the education of a large number of health professionals across general practice, sexual health, and reproductive and maternity care, on what is a difficult subject. While taking into account that some of the people doing the training would themselves be survivors of sexual abuse.

The Solution

eCom was successful in the competitive tender to produce the eLearning content and education materials for the One out of Four project. Given the potentially distressing nature of the content, particularly for some of the audience, it was decided that a blended approach, combining eLearning with local workshops, would be most effective. A series of character driven films already existed. eCom’s instructional designers worked closely with the subject matter experts to develop the course content using the themes from the films. The eLearning content was structured so that it provides a base level of knowledge and introduces a range of topics, which are then explored in more depth in the workshop. This careful alignment of content ensures good continuity in the learning experience. eCom advised the project team on strategies for delivering the sensitive content by eLearning. This included giving clear guidance upfront to the learner about the type of content, as well as links to sources of support should they have been personally affected by the issues covered. eCom’s significant experience in handling difficult subject matter ensured that the sensitive eLearning content was managed in the most appropriate manner.

NHS Education for Scotland: eLearning on a Tablet
NHS Education for Scotland: eLearning on a Mobile Device

The Benefits

Through consultation between eCom and the project team a successful blended education approach has been developed. The combination of eLearning content with local workshops has been effective in raising awareness of a sensitive subject across a significant number of health professionals. 85 One out of Four workshop facilitators have been trained in Scotland to provide workshops to health, social care and third sector staff. The eLearning module has had over 7000 hits since launch and over 200 care professionals have attended the local workshops so far. The One out of Four project received the Royal College of Midwives’ President’s award for Partnership in recognition of the great partnership between a range of health professionals and voluntary sector organizations in the creation of the learning materials.

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