Blog: Using mobile learning technology to support carers during the pandemic
Published: 8 Jun 2020
Our society relies on people who are willing to care. Never before have we all been made so aware of this. Covid-19 has transformed social care workers from ‘unskilled’ to ‘key’ workers – but decades of neglect by successive governments mean that basic training resources, including the kind of digital learning the corporate world and the NHS takes for granted, have not been available to them.
"CuppaCare takes advantage of the ubiquity of smartphones to deliver concise, engaging and, above all, practical guidance to care workers." - Sara Dunn, Fellow
Last year, in response to this problem, I launched CuppaCare, a mobile micro-learning platform for social carers. CuppaCare delivers five-minute sessions of learning to care workers on the move. In many ways, CuppaCare grew out of the learning I was lucky enough to gather through my Churchill Fellowship. In 2001, I travelled to Australia and New Zealand to investigate the success factors for effective public and patient information within the mental health sector. The principles I distilled from my research – user-focused design, evidence-informed content, innovative media and evaluative approaches – have informed my work ever since and were key to the successful development of CuppaCare.
CuppaCare takes advantage of the ubiquity of smartphones to deliver concise, engaging and, above all, practical guidance to care workers. Topics range from the purely task-related (such as how to wash your hands) to the conceptual (such as exploring social care values). All information is quality-assured and we constantly amend and update in response to feedback. These sessions build up to become a knowledge bank at your fingertips, available 24/7. Each session also offers a 60-second quiz for learners to check their understanding, and successful completion triggers the award of a ‘digital badge’ that can be add to CVs or shared via social media.
In the coming weeks, I will be using CuppaCare to deliver a suite of Covid-19 relevant guidance for informal and unpaid carers. This will include practical topics (such as how to safely put on and take off facemasks and gloves, or how to deal with laundry during the pandemic), as well as topics to support individual wellbeing (such as stress management).
I was recently awarded a Covid-19 Action Fund grant by WCMT, which will allow this Covid-19 Survival Pack to be available free of charge via app stores.