4 min read/Published On: September 24, 2020/853 words/

Training Essentials

The third element of staffing is, of course, Training.

Before we get stuck into this week’s post, let’s be clear why we carry out training at all, in any subject – it is so that the candidate LEARNS and is safe to practice.   We talked about this in a recent post called “Training vs Learning”.  Training is simply a method for facilitating learning and, with a little bit of creativity, we have loads of learning methods at our disposal.

We don’t have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ service that all of the people we support use; we deliver a person-centred service based on the person’s needs, wishes, preferences, history, culture, background and much more.  So, when it comes to our staff, why would we not use a person-centred approach to learning?

I am sure you are all aware of “learning styles”; if not, do check out Honey and Mumford and their “learning styles questionnaire” as it provides a really useful insight into how each member of staff learns.  Once you establish how staff learn, you can shape your learning accordingly.  Let’s look briefly at learning styles:


Activists learn by doing and, as a result, they don’t learn that well in traditional training sessions (i.e. in a room full of people with a facilitator).  They tend to get stuck in and learn as they go, which is fine if they have an experienced mentor or buddy to guide them along the way.


Theorists need to know the thinking behind what they are required to do, the data and theories; they like to analyse first and then do.  These are the kind of people who perhaps will learn in a traditional training environment


Pragmatists prefer to see how things work in the real world and will need time to think about how they can apply what they learnt.  Pragmatists will also benefit from working alongside a mentor to see how things really work!


Reflectors like to observe and then reflect on what they have seen and how they can apply that in their own practice.  Reflectors like to take time to think about things and traditional training environments don’t always lend themselves to this kind of learning.

Hopefully, as you read through the four styles above, you recognised some of your staff?  Module One of the Lead to Succeed programme we deliver for Skills for Care includes “what staff expect from their leaders or managers” and how different members of staff will behave in a team, which is why we like to talk about person-centred learning, instead of training.  Anyone can go on a course, but if you take account of the above if we deliver one-size-fits-all, we are only going to be on target for one quarter of our audience (i.e. the theorists).

Grey Matter Learning has been involved in learning for many years, having witnessed (and been instrumental in) the changes that technology has brought to the adult social care sector.  No longer do we need to rely on workbooks, CDs or any other physical materials to facilitate learning.

Given what staff expect of their managers, why not make use of all of the different and possibly more cost-effective learning methods; the trick is to capture the evidence of the learning, such as:

  • Mentoring
  • Coaching
  • Shadowing
  • Buddying
  • eLearning
  • Assessment
  • Reflective Practice
  • Team meetings
  • Group discussions

If you have not seen our recent post about CQC and Supervisioncheck it out here.  One of the key points in that blog is that there are so many different types of supervision (using the Skills for Care definition), why only use ONE?  Learning is exactly the same, so why not make it person-centred; in fact, why not make supervision person-centred?

In the first two blogs of this series, we stressed the importance of using assessments to discover how much a candidate already knows (Care Certificate & Mandatory courses) in order to gauge and VALUE the new recruit’s existing knowledge.  Well, this is where assessments come into their own – by assessing a person’s existing competence and safety to practice upfront, you can tailor the new team member’s induction and learning.  This in turns saves a huge amount of time and money and recognises their own person-centred learning style, which will result in a more motivated member of staff.

Don’t forget also that the staffing process is a two-way street – care workers, whatever their experience, will be looking for employers who are well organised, efficient and able to support their staff.  By adopting upfront assessment, your new recruits may not need to repeat the Care Certificate…in full…yet again.  Their bespoke learning during Induction will go a long way in reassuring new staff members and will also mean that they are able to get on with the job, safely and effectively.

Finally, one of the things we like to talk about at Grey Matter Learning is person-centred learning and some of the elements have been discussed here, but perhaps we will post about this after the final instalment of this four part series.

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