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Case Studies

OES and NHS: Inspiring Leadership Growth Through Inclusive Online Learning 

13 December, 2023

We joined forces with the NHS (National Health Services) Leadership Academy in a meaningful collaboration to deliver impactful and inspiring online short courses. They address the critical issues and importance of inclusive leadership, inclusive workplaces, microaggressions, and allyship. 

At OES, our commitment and dedication to transformative higher education is shown through our strategic partnerships with universities, the public sector and membership organisations that share our vision. We are passionate about engaging, challenging, and motivating students throughout their educational careers. For over a decade, we have been providing innovative higher education solutions, collaborating closely with university and VET partners to enhance the learner experience.This commitment to collaboration is illustrated in our partnership with the NHS Leadership Academy, where we built a series of online short courses tackling the important issues that need to take priority in such an important field. 

Spreading Growth: From Local to Global Impact 

Originally constructed for a London-based cohort, this collaboration quickly evolved into an international project, reaching learners across 117 countries. Our primary objective? To instigate meaningful, sustainable behaviour changes in NHS employees. We focused on managers, using the tools of experiential learning and practical action through self-reflection. Our outcomes have been extremely successful, with participant feedback highlighting the courses’ inspiration and eye-catching delivery. 

  • 67.7% described the course as surpassing their expectations. 
  • 97% reported gaining new knowledge or skills. 
  • 87% confirmed applying the learnings in their professional roles. 
  • 90% actively shared their newfound insights with others. 

Addressing Inequality: A Collaborative Vision 

The collaborative initiative was strategically aligned with the NHS. We aimed to address racial inequality within the NHS and foster a more inclusive organisational culture. Positive progress has been made, but challenges persist in achieving diversity at leadership levels – there is always room for growth. Our initiative, particularly the Core Managers’ Programme, developed by the Equality & Inclusion Team, NHS London Workforce directorate, aims to equip health and care managers with essential inclusive leadership skills. 

Building on the success of the initial courses, we are extending their collaboration to develop a series of courses on Sustainable Leadership. Plans include covering additional protected and sensitive characteristics such as disability and LGBTQ+. 

Strategic Objectives: A Blueprint for Success 

We started with a clear set of objectives, playing a pivotal role in advising on online pedagogy and learning design, collaborating with NHS subject matter experts on curriculum development, and aligning content with the chosen learning management system. Our shared objective was to drive meaningful and sustainable behaviour change among NHS employees, particularly managers, focusing on leveraging the features of the education platform. 

The “Three Cs” approach —Challenge, Champion, Change— emerged as the guiding framework. This emphasised a need for participants to challenge the status quo, champion inclusivity, and work actively towards creating meaningful change. The collaborative efforts between NHS subject matter experts and OES ensured a strong integration of content into the platform, providing a rich and engaging learning experience.

Innovation in Action: Creative Strategies for Impactful Learning 

Creativity and innovation are important to us. NHS provided OES the creative latitude to develop a strategy that was new, inspiring and eye-catching. The development of a diverse character set and the intelligent use of the platform’s discussion and conversation functionality were specifically designed to drive participant engagement. We encouraged peer-to-peer dialogue, allowing participants to share experiences, opinions, and the impact of practical actions in their workplaces and communities. 

OES UK Managing Director Andrea Burrows commented, ‘This is a great reflection of the skill and talent across our Learning Design team here at OES. What stands out for me is the level of creativity applied within very specific constraints around production and budget delivering a learner experience that is both eye-catching, impactful, and has longevity’. 

Measuring Impact: A Path to Progress 

A substantial percentage of participants actively engaged with the content, with 49.4% identified as ‘Active Learners’ and 25.4% as ‘Social Learners. 

These outcomes align with key objectives of the NHS diversity and inclusion improvement plan, showcasing progress in areas such as equal access to career progression, improvement in race and disability representation, and advancement in senior leadership representation. 

The positive feedback we’ve received shows us we’ve done something meaningful. Peer-to-peer recommendations and word-of-mouth made our audience growth far exceed our initial expectations of being an internal management training resource. Participants found meaning and value in the materials, as reflected in their comments: 

  • “These illustrations made it easy for me to connect with equality and inequality.” 
  • “I feel educated and empowered just now. I feel ready to start having these conversations…” 
  • “The video hits the ‘nail on the head’. I was familiar with this concept: whitening CV. However, this section did resonate with me…” 

This highlights the importance and value of strategic partnerships. Through innovative online learning, our initiative has addressed critical issues of inclusivity and empowered a global audience to challenge and contribute to making a difference. 

Get in touch with our team today to explore how our collaboration can support your institution in scaling meaningful programs.