SMEs prefer to learn from day-to-day experiences
New research carried out by the Learning and Skills Development Agency and funded by the Learning and Skills Council shows that employers and employees in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) learn best from their everyday experiences. They place great value on informal learning, rather than taught courses or structured training programmes. A key finding in the report, Learning Without Lessons, is that learning providers need to fine tune what they offer to focus on providing bespoke services for SMEs that support individual business needs. Learning providers need to rethink the kind of support they offer SMEs by helping them develop capacity in-house and spread knowledge and skills throughout their organisation. Developing supervisors and other employees as mentors, coaches and advisers, rather than providing standard courses, is one way of achieving this, as it helps staff to become better at supporting learning in their organisations, the research said.
Health service opts for virtual learning approaches
A new guide for Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) and other NHS organisations to select and implement a virtual learning environment (VLE) has been developed by the NHS University (NHSU), in conjunction with SHAs across England. The guide, Selecting and Implementing a Virtual Learning Environment, aims to establish common approaches to learning across the health sector, enhancing the knowledge and potentials of learning delivery and support systems. Accessible online and via a CD-Rom, the guide provides extensive resources, case examples and scenarios, which detail the potentials of a VLE to support and manage learning. To accompany the guide, an interactive demonstrator is also available, which shows the users how the VLE might work within their organisation. The production of the guide follows the development of an e-learning strategy for the NHS, which was jointly led by NHSU and SHAs. www.nhsu.nhs/vle
Schools given toolkit to help promote racial equality
Local authority employers have produced a toolkit to help schools tackle racial discrimination and promote racial equality in their employment activities. The toolkit aims to help schools to ensure that their staff profile reflects the diversity of their local communities, thus securing the delivery of better and more efficient customer-focused public services. Promoting racial equality is a key priority of the National Pay and Workforce Strategy for Local Government, and the toolkit was produced in response to evidence that many schools had yet to meet the employment requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2002. The ‘Creating a Diverse Workforce in Schools’ toolkit sets out the information local education authorities (LEAs) are required to obtain from schools and the obligation schools have to provide this information. It also identifies a range of options for collecting and analysing data and sets out the steps LEAs need to take to deal with any inequalities identified to ensure their schools are promoting racial equality.