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Digital Learning

‘Digital learning has progressed rapidly to cover a wide range of formal course-based e-Learning packages and products together with a huge variety of complementary or alternative techniques, such as sharing knowledge or links to resources via social/interactive media sites and viewing / participating in online lectures, webinars, podcasts or blogs’ (CIPD, 2020) 

The following provides a guide to identifying and developing digital educational methods that complement or replace classroom-based training:

How do I get started?

Digital Learning can be a combination of methods including informal and self-directed activities (e.g. making use of web-based resources) and structured interventions using virtual environments (e.g. Cisco Webex, MS Teams) or eLearning. Whether it is newly commissioned training (perhaps resulting from a Training Needs Analysis) or a revision of current provision then following these basic principles will help to identify the most appropriate learning method(s) and preparation for a virtual session if that is required.

Purpose/Outcomes: A clear statement of why the training is necessary and what participants are expected to achieve e.g. specific knowledge, particular skills, transferable skills, better understanding, behaviour change.


  • Who they are and why they have been identified e.g. single discipline, multi-disciplinary team, self-selection, mandatory. An understanding of these factors will encourage buy-in from participants. 
  • Essential to identify potential barriers to access and mitigate as far as possible.
  • Digital literacy, vital to recognise that not all staff may have the skills or confidence to engage effectively with some aspects of Digital Learning.
  • Disabilities e.g. supporting a deaf colleague in a virtual environment such as MS Teams.
  • Important that delegates have line manager support as this will aid follow-up and application of learning.
  • IT access. Do staff have access to equipment and appropriate software? Some staff may use their own devices e.g. home PC, so you will need to ensure that they are provided with guidance to check for potential access issues.
  • Will there be an expectation that staff will use their own devices e.g. smart phones to access an app?
  • Also important to acknowledge the participant’s physical environment e.g. will they have distractions when accessing MS Teams.
  • Ensure that when planning the session you include opportunity for engagement and interaction where possible.

Evaluation, assessment and reporting requirements:

  • Evaluation can aid measurement of value/effectiveness. An assessment may be required to confirm achievement to an agreed standard.
  • The reporting on evidence of attainment may also be required and consideration given to the most appropriate mechanism e.g. eESS.

Planning for virtual environments (if required) e.g. MS Teams:

  • Promotion (or participant identification) and booking process.
  • Joining instructions – date, start time, duration, session link and any supplementary material.
  • Session planning (further guidance below).

You may also find this Digital Learning Planner useful to help you consider and plan a digital learning experience.

Digital Learning Options

This table sets out a range of common approaches to Digital Learning. These approaches are not mutually exclusive and can (and should) be used in combination.


Here are two great resources that you should check out:

  • NES provides guides and resources which include an introduction to MS Teams, a guide to transferring face to face training online as well as dates of facilitation training sessions.
  • The College Development Network has produced this really well structured, up to date site that you should not miss.

The following pages offer more specific guidance on the respective approaches. They can be used in combination and a ‘blended’ approach can produce better outcomes.