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Engaging reluctant learners at Norwood

When Norwood decided to introduce e-learning to the organisation, they knew that bringing in a new style of learning would be challenging and that engaging reluctant learners would be the first hurdle.??

Norwood’s main target audience is their front line staff, ranging from support workers in residential or supported living care homes to nursery staff and social workers.

From the beginning, engaging reluctant learners was key as uptake amongst staff was slow due to a significant shortage of IT skills. Fueling staff resistance, this made completion of courses almost impossible.

Involving the right people

Fear of the unknown was a big issue for the team at Norwood. To help put staff at ease, they made an effort to work closely with all the key stakeholders and managers in the  organisation to help shape courses from their valuable knowledge and experience of the learning environment of each service.

The team at Norwood also invested heavily in the instructional and visual design of the courses. A dedicated Instructional Designer was brought in to oversee the creation of learning modules. All courses went through a structured design, build and sign-off process and pilot modules were tested on their staff for first hand feedback before release. Working in collaboration with their marketing team has also improved the look and feel of the modules; creating a more engaging and professional learning experience.


The word of these successful sessions has spread and open forums and manager meetings have led to the appointment of an IT  trainer. The trainer runs weekly workshops to teach employees how to log on and is there to support them through their training. Drop-in sessions are also offered twice a week and have seen an increase in the level of comfort and confidence in using technology amongst the staff.

The current approach for engaging employees is based on empowerment and up-skilling. A person-led approach has proved to be an effective means of imparting new skills and information to the workforce and as the benefits of the Learning Zone become more apparent; they continue to receive requests from various departments for new courses.

From a business perspective the main objective of condensing the level of instructor-led training within the  organisation has been achieved, reducing by 13 days per person with a cost saving of £180,000 per year.

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