SSSC scoops top UK award for elearning

A reality training model, developed by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) using games consoles which aims to improve learning retention among social services staff, has won the prestigious Guardian Public Service award for Innovation and Progress in Skills Development. The SSSC joined finalists from across the UK at the ceremony in London last night.

The e-learning model uses Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) consoles to give on the-spot training and was developed by the SSSC in a pilot with Glasgow City Council’s social services department. As part of the initiative, the PSPs use barcode icons (similar to QR codes) either in workbooks or stuck to the physical environment, such as on a medicine cabinet, to trigger training videos on the PSP screen.

Keith Quinn, the SSSC Education and Workforce Development Adviser leading the project said: “We are trying to take the learning into the workplace as much as possible so that training is available around the clock. It’s less disruptive, people retain what they’ve learned better and there is potential for real cost savings. And people – even those not usually associated with gaming – found it very accessible.”

Anna Fowlie, SSSC Chief Executive said: “We are delighted to have won this award which puts Scotland and social services firmly on the global innovation map. We’ve made real advances in creative development and use of technology for people working in social services. Our developments in elearning are gaining European and international recognition and promoting Scotland as a world-class provider of solutions for skills development within the fields of education and social services.

“Working in social services is a satisfying and rewarding career choice and not without its challenges. It’s absolutely crucial that we have the right people, with the right skills in place now and to meet future demands and that we find the most effective ways of doing this. Learning needs to be tailored to meet people’s individual needs – flexibility and accessibility are crucial.  That’s what this development offers.”

Angela Constance, Minister for Children and Young People said: “I am pleased to see this award going to the Scottish Social Services Council and I congratulate everyone involved. Support for workforce development is crucial and in challenging times employers need to take innovative and cost-effective approaches in developing staff.

“This award shows SSSC is acutely aware of this and is doing things differently to help employers in developing the skills of those working across Scotland’s social care sector.’’

The award winning elearning project is now being trialed with a Scottish charity with plans already being discussed for future developments including using the technology with services users in people’s own homes.