With no budget, Victim Support’s learning and skills team used ingenuity to create a new data protection eLearning module in-house. With a clear focus on wanting to change behaviourVictim Support, they showed a smart use of simple technology and supported management as they rolled out the new programme. Their holistic approach has had demonstrable results at Victim Support and went on to win the Charity Learning Award 2016 for the Best eLearning programme.

Protecting data is essential to the sensitive work carried out by Victim Support, the leading charity in England and Wales supporting people affected by crime and trauma. But completion rates for the charity’s mandatory data protection eLearning course were poor. A target of 100% compliance was set, but this was not just about the numbers: lack of understanding about vital data protection was a potential threat to the organisation. An entirely new approach was needed.

Peter Cornelius and his small learning and skills (L&S) team at Victim Support were faced with several challenges to overcome – the first being that there was no budget!

Victim Support

Peter Cornelius from Victim Support with Martin Baker from CLC

Around 1,200 staff and 3,000 volunteers at the charity are spread throughout England and Wales and flexible working hours meant that anything new would have to be accessible ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere.’ An online course would meet all those needs, but feedback from the previous eLearning course indicated it wasn’t relevant and was too complex. Any new course would therefore have to be bespoke, to demonstrate real life application of knowledge.

No budget? No problem…

The L&S team rolled up their sleeves to create a new course and accompanying resources using free graphics editing software, with some additional graphics created in-house. They created a bespoke SCORM module, Moodle quiz, and an optional infographic with a link to the charity’s data protection and information security policy. The infographic was designed as an aide memoire and can be printed out and kept on desks. Upon completion of the course learners receive a badge.

Action mapping was used to design the eLearning and assessment to ensure information was relevant to people’s roles. An immersive narrative approach helps to engage learners.
And the Moodle quiz at the end offers an ever updating, randomised bank of questions to keep assessment fresh and relevant.

The quiz has also been a valuable feedback tool, enabling the L&S team to identify common questions that people were unable to answer, as well as identify learners who were having difficulty. This led to changes being made to the wording of some of the questions to improve clarity.


The new eLearning was splashed on Victim Support’s intranet homepage, with a direct link to the course. The operations team led the rollout of the new programme, with support from L&S. This added real impetus to the programme. A paper version of the course was also produced to support managers delivering the learning, for example in team meetings, and to help learners with additional needs.

Keeping senior stakeholders informed was crucial for a project with this level of organisational impact, so weekly updates occurred both during the project build and post launch to monitor progress and success.

Measuring success

The project’s success was based not just upon how many people completed the course, but how they felt about it, the difference their managers noticed and the difference that data compliance managers noticed as well. There is still work to be done, but compliance levels have so far risen by approximately 20%. More importantly, according to a survey of staff and volunteers:

  • 85% agreed the new programme had ‘improved my understanding of data protection in general.’
  • 71% agreed ‘it increased my confidence in applying data protection in my role.’
  • 85% agreed ‘the story helped me to put the learning into a Victim Support context.’
  • 74% of those managing teams agreed that ‘the module increased my team’s confidence in the application of Data Protection.’

Before the new programme was launched, data compliance managers reported that 80-100% of the queries they received could be resolved by reading the data protection policy. The main causes of the queries was either not reading the policy; not understanding the data protection principles or a lack of ability to apply the policy. These managers were each spending an average of 30 mins per week resolving these queries – collectively this is a significant amount of work over the course of a year.

Early indications show a reduction in the number of queries that would be resolved simply by reading the policy, and a reduction of 30 mins to 10 mins spent each week by data compliance managers resolving queries.

All the hard work has definitely been worth it. Peter Cornelius commented:

This has been a very exciting piece of work; compliance training is often seen as a tick box exercise. Through working with subject matter experts we now have a very engaging and relevant learning module, which draws out just the right amount of understanding, within the organisation’s context.

Peter Cornelius, Learning & Skills Manager at Victim Support, gives his three tips for eLearning success:

  1. Managers are vital in terms of engagement. We’ve found that learners who are directed to the eLearning by their managers are much more likely to access the module than those directed by the learning and skills team. This was a really valuable lesson and future projects will leverage this by promoting learning through managers in a cascade approach.
  2. Pilot a draft build with learners first before progressing to full build when trying out new learning techniques. This will help ensure that learners take well to the new approach. We’ve also found that the bigger the sample size, the greater the validity of the feedback.
  3. Moodle quizzes are highly effective as they allow you to analyse how learners are performing and identify areas where there are still knowledge gaps.

About Victim Support

Victim Support (VS) is the independent charity for victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales. Specially trained staff and volunteers offer free, confidential information and support to anyone affected by crime – regardless of when a crime took place or if the police are involved.

Last year the charity offered support to just under one million victims of crime. VS also runs the national Homicide Service supporting people bereaved through murder and manslaughter and its local projects tackle domestic abuse, antisocial behaviour and hate crime, and help children and young people. VS is a member of the Home Office’s Joint Fraud Taskforce, addressing fraud and cybercrime.

Call its Supportline team on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit victimsupport.org.uk to find out how they can help.

About the Charity Learning Consortium

We enable cost effective, quality eLearning to be offered to more than 500,000 staff and volunteers across the third sector in the UK – engaging staff that other learning & development doesn’t reach. Our collaborative concept paves the way for eLearning success. As a result, independent research has found that Consortium members save twice as much money on L&D compared to non-members in the sector; are twice as likely to report positive changes in staff behaviour and almost three times more likely to report that using learning technologies has improved their organisation’s productivity.
More than 120 charities, housing associations and not for profits already benefit from collaborating with our unique organisation. To find out more please go to www.charitylearning.org or connect with us on twitter @charitylearning. We also love to chat, so do please give us a call on 08451 707 702.