E-Compliance Western Australia 2009

HBF Health Funds Inc


HBF is one of the largest not for profit mutual organisations operating in Western Australia. We employ approximately 900 employees and service a member base of 900,000. Our core business is the provision of personal health service (health insurance) and general insurance products and services to our members.
Being a not for profit organisation has meant that HBF reinvests a significant component of member contributions back into service provision. To date, budget for staff development and e-learning has therefore been limited.

Funding Benefits

The project has provided the opportunity to launch e-learning within the organisation. We are now able to offer our employees a flexible, innovative and blended learning experience and move away from solely providing a traditional classroom based training delivery model. It enabled the organisation to raise the profile of the Learning and Development Team, increase priority for e-learning, better engage our learners and business partners and develop skills and competencies in e-learning within our organisation. These outcomes would not have readily been achieved had we not received the project funding.

A business case for e-learning

E-Compliance was identified as a solution to:
• Respond to the needs of diverse learner groups (mature age, new recruits, remote learners and those operationally bound in call centres and branches).
• Offer true innovative and creative learning solutions by replacing some components of classroom based delivery.
• Reduce training time and better utilisation of trainers.
• Promote a culture of self-sufficiency reducing the strong reliance on the Learning and Development Team to facilitate most of the learning within HBF.

What was done

• A funding submission was prepared presenting a business case for e-learning within HBF and defining the proposed scope of the project.
• A trainer within the team was identified as offering the appropriate skill set, passion and interest in the project and was nominated as project co-ordinator supported by the Manager, Learning and Development.
• The scope of the project was readily determined with the volume and complexity of legislation and compliance within the insurance and financial services industry steadily increasing. Changes to legislative requirements under the Financial Services Review Act (FSR) in 2002 meant that accredited training was introduced into the industry to comply with Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) requirements. Consequently HBF applied for RTO status and has operated as an RTO since 2003.
• To achieve the competencies defined the following existing modules were proposed for development into an e-learning environment:
1) General Insurance Compliance Module
2) Health Insurance Compliance Modules
• The Framework provided information, advice and support in exploring various options for a Learning Management System and to gauge an understanding of the key requirements for setting up an e-learning platform.
• The internal IT department of HBF assisted with identifying risks, barriers and hosting requirements.
• Testing was conducted on a trial version of Moodle, downloaded locally, providing a sound assessment of functionality and features.
• Content was rewritten in preparation for an e-learning environment. Software was tested and sourced to support the design of interactive assessments and games. We learnt that the Internet offered a host of free or inexpensive software options and resources that have helped increase the ‘stickiness’ of HBF’s learning website which has been named the Learning Window.

Benefits experienced by HBF

The e-learning development experience has put HBF on the e-learning map and has taken the Learning and Development function within the organisation to a new level. Consequently it appears to have lifted our profile as the Learning and Development Team both internally and within our external networks.
While the LMS (Moodle) may not be considered the best available, it suited HBF’s needs and is flexible enough to be upgraded in due course.
Some of the unexpected benefits include:
• Use of the Learning Window as a repository for other training resources including material for other projects (eg Microsoft Office Suite training, corporate induction resources, Occupational Health and Safety modules etc).
• A one-stop-shop for Learning and Development needs, with links to a training calendar, training registration, provider lists, training and conference venues etc.
• Promotion of a culture of self-help, where the learner can access information (eg tricks and tips as and when required).

Lessons learnt

The following lessons were learnt during the project period:
• Some security issues, business risk and compliance issues were overlooked (eg learner privacy). This was identified shortly before launch of the Learning Window. On reflection, we believe that it is necessary to balance being caught up with the fine detail and managing issues that could potentially impede project progress and completion.
• Better back up is required within the team (ie getting team members involved earlier, if possible).
• During the life of the project we developed a greater appreciation of project management reporting requirements, which will continue to apply within our own business practise.
• We gained an understanding of the need to engage specialist areas of the business (eg Information Technology and Finance for funding project codes and the purchase of online resources using foreign currency).
• The need for allocation of budget (the employer contribution) for purchasing software.
• We identified the need for more regular system testing/trials and use of pilot learner groups when developing e-learning in the future.

The results

All outcomes were documented by amending the project templates to reflect the milestone, associated activities, dates and responsible person etc. These will be used as a point of reference for future e-learning projects.
Feedback continues to be gathered as more and more learners are introduced to the Learning Window.
The Learning Window is being launched simultaneously with implementation of a new Learning and Development strategy by way of demonstrations and presentations across the business. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with business units committing to developing and contributing useful resources to the Learning Window.

Reflections and suggestions

It has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience for HBF. We feel privileged and grateful to the Framework for providing the opportunity for us to receive funding and participate in the associated forums and activities. Peer support can be introduced, whereby those who are having difficulty with a particular area should be encouraged to utilise the participant network (ie a mentoring or coaching concept, if appropriate).

The Framework connection

The following contribution has been made to the Framework:
• Examples of interactive activities using various software options have been provided for the toolbox repository.
• A Case Study.
• A PowerPoint presentation – HBF showcased this at the Online 09 Conference.
• The Manager, Learning and Development at HBF has offered assistance and support to future participants and/or the Framework as and when required.

In engaging in this E-learning Innovations project, the following Framework products and resources were utilised:
• Professional Development opportunities
• Useful websites
• Information to better understand e-learning in broader terms
• Conference attendance .

Powerpoint link

For more information

For more information at HBF Health Funds Inc, please contact:
Abbey Chasen
Manager Learning and Development
Phone: (08) 9265 8744
Email: abbey.chasen@HBF.com.au

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