Top tips for creating learning pathways

Laura Mustoe, the Learning and Development Manager at Welsh homeless charity Llamau, explains the benefits of using learning pathways and shares her tips for creating them.

Welsh charity Llamau uses a blended approach to training its 500 staff and 300 volunteers. A mix of eLearning, videos and written material is used to meet peoples’ needs, which can all be accessed via the learning management system (LMS) provided by the Charity Learning Consortium. In particular, eLearning provides affordable and accessible training for the organisation’s workforce as it has rapidly grown. 

Llamau joined the Charity Learning Consortium in 2020 and uses the learning management system and eLearning that we provide.  

Laura Mustoe was quick to see the benefits of creating learning pathways when this new LMS feature was launched by the Consortium in 2021. This functionality means that members can create clear, logical and relevant learning journeys for their workforce.

In February 2022, Laura and the small learning team quickly set up 10 pathways to group courses together. For example, the domestic abuse learning pathway includes eLearning as well as face-to-face training and other materials. 

Different types of staff can also be assigned different pathways, according to what is relevant to their role. For example, there are two separate health and safety pathways, only one of which contains food safety and hygiene courses. 

 “What we wanted from pathways, more than anything else, was for people to have a clear and logical way to complete their training. Now even new starters – as well as existing staff – know exactly where they need to begin their learning, the steps they need to follow, and in what order,” explains Laura. 

Using pathways has made a noticeable difference in just a few months, with less email queries from learners to deal with and less issues for the learning team to trouble shoot. 

“Although we had given people instructions before, we would get questions like ‘Where do I begin?’ or ‘What do I do first?’ and we don’t get nearly as many emails like that now, which is really helpful,” explains Laura.  

A recent training survey, sent to all staff also asked a specific question to find out how people found the new learning pathways feature. Feedback was resoundingly positive, with everyone finding it easier to navigate, as these examples show:

“I’m really enjoying my eLearning training with Llamau and the introduction of learning pathways has been great. I really like how easy it is to use, the way the courses are grouped together under specific pathways and how you can easily follow each one in a logical order.”

 “Since following the pathways, it has encouraged me to reach the end goal, as I can clearly see what I need to do to get there.”

There have been some other benefits too, with new starters completing mandatory training more quickly, and learners reporting a greater sense of achievement when they’ve completed pathways. 

“From the feedback that we’re getting, as well as finding it easier to navigate their way around people also have more of a sense of accomplishment at the end, which was unexpected,” explains Laura. 

Although they have taken time to set up, Laura thinks that learning pathways will ultimately save time in the long run and definitely make for a better learning experience. Here are some of her top tips for creating them. 

Top tips for creating learning pathways 

Planning is key
Keep focused on what you want to achieve and why for your organisation. Identify exactly what pathways you want and create a timetable for implementation. 

Preparation is absolutely vital
We plotted out everyone’s job roles in a training matrix so we knew exactly what pathways everyone would need to access. 

Have a vision for what each pathway will look like
Plot them out and put that into a document first, so that everyone can see what they will look like. Discuss the pathways with team members and anyone relevant to get their input and perspective. 

Have training sessions with your Consortium account manager beforehand
Our account manager Stu, alongside Jamie in the technical team at the Consortium, have been great sources of support, giving us training and advice and answering a lot of our queries. We couldn’t have achieved what we have without them. 

Keep telling everyone what’s happening
What really helped us was taking the LMS and eLearning offline for a day to bulk upload all the pathways all at once. We told everyone in advance that was happening – and why. Let your account manager at the Consortium know what you’re planning too, so they know when you’ll need help. 

Think about how to market this new approach to learning
We offered people one-to-one, virtual demonstrations when we launched. Quite a few people took us up on that. It really helped to build their confidence and had the added benefit of trouble shooting other things at the same time, which was brilliant for us. For example, not everyone knew how to access the training calendar in the LMS, to see what courses were coming up, so it was an opportunity to show them how.

Be kind to yourself
We postponed the roll out from the original launch date because we weren’t quite ready. We thought that it was better to push it back to get things right, so that it was everything that we wanted it to be.

About Laura

Laura Mustoe is the Learning and Development Manager at Llamau. The charity supports young people, women and their children who are either homeless or facing homelessness on various different projects in Wales. 

CL Consortium Ltd
Vine House, Selsley Road,
Stroud, GL5 5NN