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Spotlight on GDPR training at SSAFA

Louisa Antoine explains how the L&D team at SSAFA created their first eLearning course, to meet looming deadlines for GDPR training. She explains the obstacles they faced, and how they successfully overcame them.

SSAFA has approx 5,800 volunteers and over 500 employees. They’re based in the UK as well as overseas – in Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, Germany, Gibraltar and Holland.

All employees had to complete GDPR training by the end of May 2018, in time for new legislation coming into effect. The aim is for all volunteers to complete GDPR training by the end of 2018.

How did you create your bespoke GDPR eLearning training programme?

We decided that it would be better to develop two variations of the GDPR eLearning course, so we could have one which was specific to volunteers and one that was more relevant to employees.

We consulted key stakeholders, including the GDPR Project Team and the Volunteer Operations Team. We also asked some of our volunteers for their feedback to ensure that it was tailored to them. We asked our L&D team members and some lovely volunteers to test the courses to make sure we ironed out any bugs before going live.

This was the first eLearning course that we had developed and launched ourselves, so it was a steep learning curve and we had a few issues along the way!

We used Adobe Captivate; GIMP image-editing software and Audacity audio editing software to produce it. Various employees agreed to record individual parts of the audio, and my colleague Rachel Fallows did the audio narration for both courses and very kindly re-recorded this several times due to amendments. All in all, the process took about two months.

How did you create your bespoke GDPR eLearning training programme?

We decided that it would be better to develop two variations of the GDPR eLearning course, so we could have one which was specific to volunteers and one that was more relevant to employees.

We consulted key stakeholders, including the GDPR Project Team and the Volunteer Operations Team. We also asked some of our volunteers for their feedback to ensure that it was tailored to them. We asked our L&D team members and some lovely volunteers to test the courses to make sure we ironed out any bugs before going live.

This was the first eLearning course that we had developed and launched ourselves, so it was a steep learning curve and we had a few issues along the way!

We used Adobe Captivate; GIMP image-editing software and Audacity audio editing software to produce it. Various employees agreed to record individual parts of the audio, and my colleague Rachel Fallows did the audio narration for both courses and very kindly re-recorded this several times due to amendments. All in all, the process took about two months.

 

What were the technical challenges that you faced?

One of the many technical challenges we faced was ensuring that we could effectively report on the completion rates for the GDPR training.

Rachel, our Learning and Development Project Officer, had found that reporting on compliance for the previous data protection course had been problematic. We wanted to avoid this with the GDPR course, so we did quite a bit of testing.

Several times we thought we had the reporting working correctly but then realised that not all employees were included, or that the settings for course completion weren’t quite right so we had find out why, and then make the necessary changes.

Top tips: What have you learned that you can share with others?

The key things that we have learned from creating and implementing the GDPR eLearning are:

1. Get feedback from your target audience to make sure that any training meets their needs

2. Allow plenty of time for testing to make sure everything works as required

3. Have a clear communication message when launching to users

4. The easier you make it for the learners to access training, the smoother the process will go.

Were there any other obstacles that you’ve had to overcome?

The introduction of Office 365, Safeguarding training and Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks as well as GDPR training has meant that some volunteers have unfortunately felt overwhelmed.

These changes haven’t all been introduced at the same time but have been gradually phased in. For example, Office 365 started being rolled out in August 2017 on a branch by branch basis, and the plan is for all branches to be using it by the end of the year. Similarly, GDPR eLearning was launched in May 2018 for volunteers and they have until the end of the year to complete it.

We have also given volunteers the option of completing a manual pack if they don’t have IT access or prefer to do it this way. Hopefully by giving them various options and plenty of time to complete, it will make the process more manageable.

What has helped you succeed?

It would have been a greater challenge to convince volunteers to find time to do the training on top of their other tasks if we hadn’t had support from the top of the organisation.

Because GDPR is a legal requirement, the message given about this training to volunteers by our National Chairman, Lieutenant General Sir Gary Coward KBE CB, was that by doing it they’d be protecting our clients as well as SSAFA’s reputation. The fact that this requirement was coming from the top of the organisation (the Council) has definitely made it easier to convince volunteers of its importance.

Also, we wouldn’t have been able to launch GDPR training successfully without the support of the Charity Learning Consortium. The guys on the helpdesk have been great at resolving our queries quickly to allow us to deliver training and be able to report on this.

How has it been received?

Our biggest success with GDPR eLearning was the fact that 80% of employees had completed the training by the deadline date of 28 May 2018. We were really pleased with that as it had only been launched on 30 April 2018.

Once the volunteers started doing the training we had some positive feedback that the training was easier to complete then they had expected. I think they were pleased that the content was specific to them rather than generic.

About the author

Louisa Antoine is the E-Learning Business Partner at SSAFA, the armed forces charity.

There are 11 members of the team: Doreen Miller is the Head of Learning & Organisational Development. There are also five regional trainers – Lindsey, Eilidh, Janice, Daniel, and Emily. Nella is the Learning Development and Inclusion Business Partner; Rachel the Learning and Development Project Officer; Nora the Training Office Manager and Natalie is the L&D Administrator.

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