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Title: Designing online training to improve best practice among the substance misuse workforce : a mixed methods study
Author: Calder, Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 1028
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Background: Well-designed online learning resources for substance misuse workers (SMW) have the potential to improve delivery of best practice for addiction treatment service users. Principles of User Centred Design, the Technology Acceptance Model and Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation emphasise the importance of understanding the end-user when designing online learning resources. There is currently very little known about SMW who work for third-sector addiction treatment organisations in England. Methods: A convergent mixed-methods design was used to identify the characteristics, working contexts, training needs and preferences, barriers and facilitators to training, use of online resources and use of technology of SMW. An online survey collected quantitative data. Qualitative data were collected in semi-structured interviews with SMW and key stakeholders (KSH). Descriptive statistics, t-tests, One-way ANOVA and latent class analysis were used to analyse the quantitative data. Iterative Categorisation was used to analyse the qualitative data. Results: 200 SMW participated in the online survey. 31 SMW interviews and 14 KSH interviews were conducted and analysed. Training needs in advanced clinical techniques, therapeutic relationship skills, reflective practice, dual diagnosis, managing stress and burn out and refresher courses in therapeutic skills were identified. Participants regularly searched the internet in an unstructured way and were often unable to interpret research-based information that they found. Barriers to training included time, a lack of relevant training and disruption from recommissioning. Participants were motivated by career prospects, personal development and by a commitment to improving addiction treatment. Experiences of online learning were based on mandatory training that was largely information based and driven by regulatory compliance. Participants used slow computers with intermittent internet access; many shared computers and desk space. There was a range of digital literacy among participants. High digital literacy was associated with a preference for online learning. Conclusions: Online learning resources should incorporate elements of personalisation, enabling SMW to select resources according to their needs and preferences. This could be achieved through user navigation or through formative training needs assessments. Online learning resources should focus on advanced therapeutic subjects. They should be overtly information-based but contain elements of administrative and skills-based training. Online learning should acknowledge the impact of recommissioning and should cover managing stress and burn out. Training in therapeutic relationship skills and reflective practice would meet an identified training need. Training that meets regulatory requirements and that can be audited by managers is likely to be supported by provider organisations. SMW should be able to complete online learning in small sections whilst saving progress. Resources should be tested on old and slow computers. Online learning that includes resources for SMW to share with colleagues, and to deliver directly to service users, would aid dissemination. Online learning should emphasise the benefits of using evidence-based practice on treatment outcomes to address ambivalent perceptions about the importance of doing so. If online learning resources for SMW are to be optimised, perceptions about the characteristics, knowledge, skills and tasks that contribute most to service user outcomes must be addressed.
Supervisor: Dyer, Kyle ; Neale, Joanne Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available