Our digital learning is training social workers as Practice Educators, who supervise students on practice placements across Greater Manchester. 

Mandatory training for Practice Educators, required for those supervising social work undergraduates, is being delivered primarily through a programme of digital learning developed for the Greater Manchester Social Work Academy (GMSWA) by Me Learning and a face to face workshop to consolidate learning.  

Course participants undertake 11 modules online (9 modules for Stage 1 and 2 modules for Stage 2 Practice Educator Training), studying at their own pace. They then go on to attend a full-day workshop by one of the GMSWA partners, to consolidate knowledge. In addition to this they have a workbook which they complete alongside the Me Learning modules, which captures their learning which they can then take away as a reference point.  

This approach has helped to streamline the placement process for student social workers in Greater Manchester, by making the training for their Practice Educators more accessible and eliminating waiting lists for training places. Previously the Practice Educator training was delivered through a five-day classroom course.   

Since June 2022 when the programme was launched following a pilot, 190 Practice Educators have been trained at Stage 1 and 40 at Stage 2. Therefore in our first year from June 22 to August 23, we have in total 230 Practice Educators have completed the courses. 

Janine Mcloughlin, Programme Lead at the GMSWA said:

“Our blended learning approach provides the same quality and standards of training as the traditional course, but without the rigidity of committing to a block of five days away from the workplace and all the issues that brings. We wanted a training solution which would fit around the needs of Practice Educators, who work in busy environments, balancing their own workload as well as supporting students, so they could choose when to learn and at their own pace.”  

“Previously we were managing lengthy waiting lists for training places. These delays have all but disappeared as participants can simply log in and learn, then selecting to attend a face-to-face workshop on a day which suits them.”  

“By working with Me Learning in this way, we have also reduced the ongoing time commitment of our partners, many who were previously delivering several training sessions each year to keep up with demand. This means we can both train more Practice Educators and free up the time of our partners so they can focus on workshops and future development opportunities for our Practice Educator communities. An example of this, is where our partners have been able to collaborate to provide a series of online masterclasses for Practice Educators and for students, enhancing the training opportunities available, supporting best practice and impact across our region.”

Our suite of online learning modules was developed for, and with, the GMSWA, a collaboration between all 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester and four universities – the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Salford University and University of Bolton. The partners were subject-matter experts during the development of training content, which meets national standards and incorporates resources which reflect the Greater Manchester area. Modules compliment different learning styles, including both auditory and visual content, videos, activities, and quizzes to assess knowledge retention. A workbook accompanies the training, so learners can record reflections and make notes. This includes useful tools to support each topic. Online training is delivered via a dedicated learning management platform provided by Me Learning. 

On successful completion of the training and workshop, Practice Educators can attend masterclasses to top up their knowledge and participate in a practice education community, including an annual conference by the GMSWA.

For more information: Anne Egede, Marketing Manager, anne.egede@melearning.co.uk


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