OVERVIEW: How can apps and learning technology support healthcare professionals’ informal learning and improve practice?

With Learning Layers – Smarter Learning for Primary Care

Professionals in health and social care are involved in learning every day. Learning in practice (which could include learning based on reflecting on patient cases, from patients themselves, twitter and other social media exchanges, discussions with colleagues, reviewing new guidelines or research or sharing learning with others) helps to ensure that high quality patient care is maintained and developed. However, learning effectively from practice and then transferring that learning back into practice has many challenges especially given the time pressures on professionals.

The Learning Layers project is working closely with healthcare professionals in the UK to explore this question. The focus is on understanding learning at the workplace and developing a set of modular and flexible technologies for supporting this informal learning across a healthcare cluster. The work with the healthcare cluster is led by the University of Leeds, in collaboration locally with the National Health Service (NHS) and medical practices (GP practices) based in West Yorkshire as well as our other partners in the Learning Layers project. We will be:

  1. Building an understanding of the current learning practices in the GP practices.
  2. Supporting the co-design of the technology tools and the piloting and evaluation of these tools in the GP practices
  3. Sharing effective practice and supporting the adoption of the learning technology tools more widely

We will provide regular updates as the project progresses and would welcome input and feedback from those who share our interest in the areas of workplace learning and technology to support professionals’ informal learning in healthcare. By becoming a member of the Learning Layers Stakeholder Network (link to online form here) you can keep updated about our work and/or influence and shape the work itself.

Whilst our work is initially focused on a healthcare cluster consisting of GP practices in the UK, we anticipate that the lessons learned and tools developed will be of relevance to other healthcare professionals and organisations as well – both beyond primary care and outside the UK.

If you are interested in finding out more about the healthcare cluster work in the UK then please contact learninglayers@leeds.ac.uk