South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAMB) trains over 3200 of its staff, working across 70 sites in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. On a daily basis, they respond to 999 calls from the public and urgent requests from healthcare professionals in the region. They also assist with non-emergency patient transport services.
A virtual learning environment (VLE) was already in place to support online learning applications when Onclick was tasked to undertake hosting, maintenance and support for the system. We were asked to add a public-facing website, to redesign the whole site and to bring everything up-to-date.
With shift workers and multiple bases across the region, training this number of staff on a regular basis is a challenge.
Blessing Enakimio, the organisation’s Learning and Development Lead, had only days before taking maternity leave, and this meant that our timescale was very tight.
Onclick planned to relocate, upgrade, redesign and restructure the whole training site, known as SECAmb Live!
Not only did this mean migrating all system files and data to our server but also to arrange for the existing NHS web address DNS to be redirected without an interruption of service.
The new site was to include WordPress, Moodle and Mahara applications, all using a single login.
How was this actioned?
Work was scheduled to be actioned over a weekend to reduce downtime.
Front End Website
Historically, SECAmb users logged directly into their Moodle site (Learnzone). After analysing their requirements, we identified that some aspects of the site needed to be public, whilst others were to be kept secure. We therefore decided to place public information on a front-end website together with a login box that gave access to the secured Moodle system, sitting behind. As only staff could self-register to the Learnzone, this created a clear separation between the training zone and public-facing information. We built the SECAmb front-end website using WordPress, which can be easily edited and updated by SECAmb administrators.
Within the website itself, we created sections and resources including: an e-library, downloadable forms, events listings, external courses for volunteers and staff profiles. At any point within the site, users can log directly into the secure learnzone for access to courses and information for registered staff only. All activities undertaken whilst logged in are tracked.
A clearly visible link to our online and ticket-based helpdesk system was placed on the website to ensure that anyone needing assistance would be supported. The helpdesk is managed on a rota basis by the Onclick team and maintains a continuity of technical support. We also provided SECAMB administrators direct access to our helpdesk system so that they could both view current/past queries, and participate in answering any non-technical queries on our behalf. This seamless collaboration of efforts works extremely well.
Branding and Website Design
South East Coast Ambulance Service already had its own website for general public information. Our aim was to create a site exclusively for learning and development. We wanted to ensure that our new site accurately reflected the organisation’s brand guidelines, as adhered to on their public site, however our client was keen to generate their own sense of identity through specific L&D customisation.
Historically a cartoon, three-dimensional ‘green man’, had been adopted as the SECAmb Live! logo, and our client was keen to retain this. Unfortunately the ‘green man’ did not blend very well within our new design, so we worked on this, turning it into a more simplified two-dimensional logo, in-keeping with the new look and feel of the site. We believe that this continues to be recognised but with a more modern look.
Taking inspiration from South East Coast Ambulance Service’s own brand guidelines, we chose to replicate the font from the organisation’s logo, creating a synergy between their general public website and their staff training site.
We based the overall colour scheme on the organisation’s secondary colours of orange and purple, and the integrated a ‘cross’ design within button layouts to connect the two brands. We then developed templates for button types so that the design scheme was consistent throughout, allowing for ease of navigation and a more user-friendly experience.
Redesign and Restructuring of Moodle
Having transferred all the user data from the previous provider, we upgraded SECAmb’s Moodle site to the latest version. We then customised the site by incorporating the branding and colour scheme of the front-end website and designing bespoke buttons for various sections.
Working closely with Blessing Enakimio to map out the ideal structure of the Learnzone, we then conducted a great deal of housekeeping and reorganising of files to ensure the navigation routes were simple and logical for users.
A previously installed copy of Mahara, locally called ‘Live Book’ was included to provide extra facilities e-portfolios and social networking. This is now accessible through a single sign-on through Moodle.
What were the challenges?
As the migration of sites had to be actioned swiftly, a lot of preparation with regard to the site design, had to be done in advance.
However, we were not able to get our hands on the files we were to inherit until switch-over. Lots of work then had to be amended once these files were received.
“Having moved to Onclick as our new Host and Support for our Virtual Learning Environment – SECAmb LIVE! I am so excited with the new professional look they have given our site. It now includes a front-end website and we have professional looking logos and tabs that we are so proud of. Onclick has been proactive and supportive in this transition and their customer service is excellent too. Onclick have also created a new database for our High Speed Driving assessments that is so user friendly. This is a new requirement for all Ambulance Trusts and we are so pleased with what Onclick has developed for us.”
Learning and Development Lead
What of the future?
To enhance this suite of products forming the SECAmb Live! VLE, we have now been commissioned to design and develop an online database application as an online high speed drivers register. This will be launched to the region soon, meaning high speed driver data will be updated and managed by instructors in real time, in some cases using iPads. This is a new facility for South East Coast, which once completed, has the potential to be rolled out to other interested Ambulance Services across the UK.
As we further understand the requirements of this NHS Trust, Onclick will be working closely with the organisation to develop and populate their VLE with quality e-learning courses and media resources.
We also plan to work collaboratively with SECAmb to upgrade and develop new e-learning courses on the site and assist with video production for a variety of projects.