WA10BP422 Advancing Nursing in Aged care

Executive Summary


This project aims to utilise e-learning strategies for the development of an online programme for the Advanced Diploma of Enrolled Nursing for the Aged Care sector. This online programme will be supported by students attending monthly theory days to review and consolidate learning and practice complex client assessment and nursing skills in a simulated clinical environment. An element of the e-learning resource will be the development of screen based / PC-based nursing simulation scenarios to provide experiential learning opportunities rather than focus on instruction alone. This approach will provide higher realism which will be more effective in engaging the learner.

Working directly with the Aged Care providers will enable the embedding of the e-learning within training programmes and enhance the knowledge of barriers, issues and strategies that impact upon the integration of e-learning for this sector. The e-learning resource will contain a directed workplace experience model that enables the development of skills and application of knowledge across the assessment and care clients and the subsequent nursing care and evaluation that learners will be required to undertake in the workplace.

An online mentor guide will provide direction and support to Clinical supervisors in the Aged Care sector who will be involved in supporting the learning process and supervising the learners during the development of skills.

All learners will be located within the Metropolitan and Regional areas of Western Australia. The proposed number of learners for the initial programme will be 20.

  • Who are the clients and learners being targeted for this project?
    • The clients are the main Aged Care health providers in Western Australia
    • The learners will be Enrolled Nurses currently employed in the Aged Care Sector within Western Australia

  • How will learners be involved in this project - What will be their role?
    • The learners will be enrolled in this seven module course and will be trialling the methodology and content throughout the duration of this project. These learners will be key influencers of the success of this programme

  • How will you assess the projects results?
    1. The plan is to distribute electronic feedback forms to students on a three monthly basis, collate and analyze these forms and identify trends and patterns. Where collecting feedback electronically has the potential to be problematic, face to face interviews with the learners or telephone interviews will be sought.
    2. Learners enrolling and completing the programme will be monitored and contribute to the project results. Weekly contact with the learners will be sought and specific details captured and actioned as they arise.
    3. Assessing the overall benefits to the key stakeholders will be sought and analysed as part of the project results.
    4. Initially determining key stakeholders expectations and comparing these expectations to the eventual outcomes will indicate key results for the project.

  • How will you identify and document the ‘lessons learned’ during the project?
    • A ‘lessons learned’ document will be authored as the project develops and strategies to overcome those lessons will be factored into future plans. A comprehensive list will be shared post project.

  • How will the qualitative and quantitative outcomes be measured?
    • Qualitative outcomes will be sought from key stakeholders from a variety of sources and will enable each group and individual the opportunity to provide detailed feedback for analysis. In order to achieve this, a mixture of methods to obtain this qualitative data will be obtained using the most appropriate methods suitable for the target group. Face to face semi-structured interviews, focus groups, online questionnaires and telephone interviews will be some of the methodologies considered for use.
    • Quantitative data to be collected will be obtained throughout the length of the project and factored into the overall results of the project. Specific details of this data will be collected in detail, analysed and reported at the conclusion of this project.

What was done

The initial partnership meetings had established what the industry required and what Central Institute of Technology could offer in order to meet these needs. The module content was negotiated and this would reflect the overall skills and knowledge that the students would gain on successful completion of the course. Industry would then have a group of Enrolled Nurses who would demonstrate advanced nursing skills and knowledge tailored to the Aged Care Sector for Western Australia.

The project plan was developed and moved swiftly into the content development phase. As this was the first Advanced Diploma of Enrolled Nursing qualification offered by Central Institute of Technology, the content of seven modules required development for scratch. This task took significantly longer than was anticipated and as a consequence had a knock on affect on the project plan.

Communication between the project team worked well and regular meetings ensured that issues large or small were identified, actioned and the learning shared with other project teams working at the Mount Lawley Campus.

Having developed some of the content, the next step was to transfer this onto our Learning Management System using an E-software authoring tool to enable this. The challenges of using this software was limited use being unfamiliar among the project team and resulted in time being spent learning the functionality of what this could do for the overall product. In retrospect, it might have been more efficient for the project to work with familiar software and keep the project plan on course.

One positive element of the software was the functionality of 'converting text to voice' which saved valuable time recording lecture notes to accompany the presentation. Uploading these modules onto our learning management system presented minimal issues that were resolved quickly by the technical savvy project team member. Given that the contents would be available via Blackboard, students could access all of the resources required using their Central Institute of Technology log in.

A blended learning approach was always envisaged as some elements of the course would be best managed with face-to-face where the student attends campus however, these sessions are significantly less than would be if the course was being offered using more traditional lecturing sessions. One element that requires attendance is the assessing of clinical skills learned during the course. The Institute offers a simulation laboratory where the students can practice using SimMan 3G is a safe and controlled environment. Our teaching staff can use these sessions to assess student competency as well as provide extra coaching session to develop the students' confidence.


Benefits experienced by Central Insitute of Technology

Reflecting back, this was a much larger project than I had anticipated with many more tasks than was envisaged. The advantage of seeing this project through from start to finish undoubtedly was a factor in keeping the momentum going. As project lead, the benefits for me were the opportunity to further explore e-learning and how we could develop this into future projects for the organisation. With the benefits of convenience and flexibility, e-learning can benefit the busy individual and as an organistation this is a prime business opportunity to explore and develop.

The project will be evaluated by all of the key stakeholders however a true account will come from the learners themselves and I will update this as I obtain the data.

Lessons learned

What were the key lessons learned during the project?
This was a large project to manage from the outset and on reflection, there were two key lessons.

  1. The time frame allotted was unrealistic.
  2. The authoring software tool was being trialled in the project.

Considering that the original plan was to develop an entire course of seven units, design and develop the contents, design and develop the assessments, validate, moderate and embed this course into the learning management system, to complete this project on time would have required at least the content to have been trialled with existing students. This would have identified the course content, assessments and achieved the academic requirements all of which determine realistically the division of the blended learning approach.

Being unfamiliar with the chosen authoring software tool for the project it may have been more beneficial as an organisation to collectively agree to use the same software. This approach would enable course developers to understand the overall functionality of the product and what realistically could be achieved in the end product. For the learners undertaking e-learning with the organisation they would become familiar with a consistent approach to screen layout, design and assessments etc and minimise the time spent familiarising themselves with the navigation of the course.

Having a group of subject matter experts accustomed to the use of the software would have been beneficial when refining the end product and troubleshooting technical issues encountered along the way.

The Results

Although there has been a delay in the launch of the project, the key outcomes will be measured as planned when the course becomes available in early 2011.

Some of the key outcomes will focus on the following headings:-
  1. Expectations of the Registered Training Organisation, Client partners and Student learners
  2. The overall impact on learners increased knowledge and skills and how this is applied to the workplace

Project Outputs

The project produced some examples of online modules some of which are contained in one complete package whereas others are deliberately shorter but none-the-less link cohesively into a larger module. These modules, assessments and resources allow the learner to access them via a learning management system. With this flexibility the learner can work through the content to completion at their pace and record evidence of their learning in their electronic portfolio. This evidence would be uploaded into the Learning Management System where the course lecturer would correspond in real time, assess and mark against the marking key then provide the learner with feedback. Likewise, the learner can provide feedback to the course lecturer using this medium to communicate.

Reflections and suggestions

Being a new and innovative approach to learning, particularly when your target group is to engage with learners who are geographically isolated or unable to attend for traditional lectures, there would be a real benefit to establish an 'ideal format' that has been proven to produce positive results however to determine this there would be a requirement to commission research in this area.
This would be an ideal opportunity to develop multi-centre research focusing on the benefits of e-learning where geographical isolation inhibits traditional learning approaches.

Framework connection

The national training system’s e-learning strategy, the Australian Flexible Learning Framework funds and supports E-learning Innovations projects which aim to embed e-learning into the national training system by supporting and enabling innovation in training design and delivery, at the state and territory level.

Tell us how your project aims to embed e-learning into the national training system

With the progress that computer technology brings and generations of students who are expecting online courses, this course in direct response to these requirements will become available through Central Institute of Technology early 2011. Evaluation of the course will determine further expansion as an option for learners but at this time will not replace the traditional face to face methods of access to learning, rather supplement this.


This is a Western Australian E-learning Innovations project output, developed by Central Institute of Technology, Amana Homes, Baptiscare and Brightwater Homes , with seed funding from the Framework.

For more information

Ann Young
[Project Lead - Central Institute of Technology]
[Advancing Nursing in Aged Care]
Phone: (08) 9427 3876]
Email: [ann.young@central.wa.edu.au]

For more information on the Australian Flexible Learning Framework:**
Phone: (07) 3307 4700
Email: enquiries@flexiblelearning.net.au
Website: flexiblelearning.net.au