The Productives e-learning - Frequently Asked Questions

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The Productives e-learning: How can it benefit patients, individual learners and health and social care organisations?

1. What is the 'Productives e-learning'?

The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement has formed a joint venture with the award winning Virtual College to provide a suite of e-learning programmes designed to increase understanding and roll out of The Productive Series. The ‘Productives e-learning’ provides progressive learning levels designed to range from informing an absolute beginner about what The Productive Series is about, to accrediting a leader with experience in implementing strategic transformation within an organisation.

The programme currently supports:

  • The Productive Ward
  • The Productive Mental Health Ward
  • The Productive Community Hospital
  • Productive Community Services

2. How will this programme help me deliver benefits for my patients, service users and clients?

Quality care does not just evolve, for the very highest standards of care, safety and dignity to be delivered, teams need to look at the way they organise and deliver care.

The Productive Series is a tested and proven methodology that has been helping NHS teams implement improvements since 2008. The Productive e-learning programmes have been developed to take learners through the innerContent of programmes, which help teams identify significant improvements in productivity and efficiency and create an environment where quality is maximised, processes are efficient, variation is minimal, and where patients feel safe and well cared for.

For more case studies and information visit:

The Productive Series

3. Who is this programme for?

The e-learning packages will support skills and knowledge development within organisations that are looking to start a Productive programme, who are already underway with implementation and would like to increase spread, or where Productive implementation may have come to a halt and needs help re-energising across their organisation.

Learning is targeted at the individual and structured at all levels from ‘Introductory’ through to 'Programme Manager'.

As an individual within an organisation you could use the free Introductory e-learning package to develop your understanding of The Productive Series.

If you are an individual within an organisation which is already implementing a Productive programme and you are involved in implementation you can become accredited for your learning.

Organisations and Productive Programme Managers could use the packages for:

  • • New employees / support staff / junior doctors - as part of their induction to raise awareness of the programme
  • • Individuals / small teams - who are not able to attend face to face training
  • • All staff - develop knowledge and service improvement tools and techniques.

E-Learning could also be used to evidence CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation) targets and support QIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention) initiatives.

4. What is the programme for?

The Productive Series e-learning packages will enable you to develop skills and knowledge about the programmes and the service improvement tools and techniques within them.

The packages have been developed to support the spread, adoption and sustainability of The Productive Series throughout the NHS. They also provide a means of accrediting staff who have been involved in implementing the programmes.

E-learning is an accessible and often cheaper alternative to face to face training. Partnered with face to face learning opportunities and support it is hoped that it will provide a low cost method of developing staff and ensuring they are accredited for their learning.

5. Our organisation is already implementing programmes from The Productive Series – what is the value of these e-learning programmes to us?

The Productive Series e-learning can form part of your sustainability plan for the programme - developing staff awareness around how the programme works as well as their understanding of service improvement tools and techniques.

You will want your staff to understand ‘how’ to make improvements happen in their area as well as how to sustain those changes – but it is costly and resource heavy to train staff in a face to face environment.

We suggest you use the Introductory level courses for new starters as part of their induction and use the accredited programmes to introduce structured progression training, which can be benchmarked against other trusts and can provide evidence of your trusts practical take up and roll out of The Productive Series.

6. If I am already a Productive facilitator for my organisation, and I have attended training provided by the NHS Institute, what additional benefits will e-learning provide?

The e-learning packages are based on the module innerContent, some of which you will have covered in your face to face training.

Using e-learning within your organisation alongside facilitation support will assist you to spread the learning at scale with pace across teams and other staff who are touched by the programme. See the section on 'Who is this programme for?'

The Practitioner, Facilitator and Programme Manager qualifications will also review your implementation of Productive programmes and enable you to have this practical element of the process endorsed by an official awarding body (City & Guilds).

7. What is the learner progression structure?

The Productive Series e-learning packages currently support each of The Productive Series programmes noted in section one 'What is the Productives e-learning?'

The learner progresses as follows:

      Accredited Introduction**
      Programme Manager***

*Introduction modules are open and free of charge to everyone employed by NHS England. They can be accessed on a chargeable basis by non NHS organisations in England and organisations outside England with a current licence for a Productive programme. See 'How much does it cost?' section 11 for more information.

**Accredited Introduction modules require the learner to be involved in implementing the specified programme.

***Practitioner, Facilitator and Programme Manager packages require the learner to submit evidence of implementation.

Individual modules You can purchase standalone modules however, The Productive Series has been designed in modular form to allow teams to implement programmes in a sequential manner; starting with the Foundation modules and progressing to the Process modules. The NHS Institute strongly recommends implementation follows the recommended path to ensure the best opportunity to realise the benefits that programmes can deliver and ensure improvements are sustained.

8. Where should I start? (on the website we will have links to the e-learning packages)

If you are completely new to the programme and want to find out more about The Productive Series you should start with the relevant Introductory module.

If you have been involved in implementing the programme within your ward or team, have used some of the tools and want to become accredited for this you should start with the Accredited Introduction Module.

If you have completed, or plan to complete implementation of one of the programmes with your ward / team start with the Foundation package, which provides learning and recognition to those who have been involved in adopting Productive programmes and have established a good level of understanding of the key principles.

The Productive Practitioner package will provide learning and recognition to those who can demonstrate pro-active involvement in the successful adoption of the Productive programmes.

The Productive Facilitator package will provide learning and recognition to those who can demonstrate that they have successfully led, coached and supported others with adoption of Productive programmes across a number of departments.

The Productive Programme Manager will provide learning and recognition to those who can demonstrate that they have successfully led the adoption of Productive programmes within an organisation at a strategic level.

How much will it cost?

9. What does the e-learning package cost?

Access to The Productives e-learning Introductory modules is free for NHS staff in England.

Further courses in any Productive e-learning programme can be accessed at a charge.

Introductory CourseFree
Accredited Introductory£15*
Programme Manager£595*

*prices exclude VAT.

If your organisation has bought a bulk licence, they may make it freely available to relevant staff.

Any additional support beyond the Productives e-learning will be available at an additional charge, for example supporting it with a blended approach including some face to face support.

For more information on bulk purchase options please contact or call 01943 885083.

10. Are there bulk buying options?

Discounts for purchases of multiple packages can be discussed by contacting or call 01943 885083.

Any additional support beyond the Productives e-learning will be available at an additional charge, for example supporting it with a blended approach including some face to face support.

Is this available to organisations outside NHS England?

11. We are a non NHS organisation or other healthcare organisation outside England, how do we access the e-learning packages?

We have extensive experience in implementing The Productive Series in many different organisations and health systems around the world.

We can offer tailored, discounted packages that consider common implementation requirements and bespoke accreditation needs for single organisations through to government level.

Your requirements can be discussed by contacting or call 01943 885083.

Accessing the Productives e-learning

12. Who can access the Productives e-learning?

Our Introductory modules are free to NHS England and are easily accessible to individuals and organisations alike.

You can access e-learning packages via the internet at:

Registration is easy!

The Virtual College Learning Management System (LMS) platform ensures all materials are easily available to a wide range of users.

If you are a NHS organisation outside England, a non NHS organisation, or an individual in the UK or worldwide, you can still follow the link above and select the appropriate option, this will enable your enquiry to be progressed.

13. How is my progress tracked and why do I need to register to use 'The Productives e-learning'?

Registering on the Virtual College Learning Management System (LMS) means that you can access the modules via your online learning record from any computer at a time convenient to you.

Your individual progression through the modules will be recorded by the LMS so you can take a break and then pick up and continue where you left off, safe in the knowledge that everything has been saved.

For the Practitioner, Facilitator and Programme Manager modules, the LMS also provides integration of important learner support features, such as an online portfolio option, allowing our online assessors to access learner responses centrally.

14. I am a pre-registration student or University Lead

As you are unlikely to be in a suitable work based setting, we would only recommend the non Introduction module, Foundation package and individual process modules for underpinning knowledge.

Please refer to 'What does the e-learning package cost?' for pricing information.

Special rates are also available for your university or college should they wish to make a bulk purchase. Please contact or call 01943 885083 for further information.

15. What if I’m self-employed or just want access for personal learning?

Unless you are in a suitable work based setting, we would only recommend the non Accredited Introduction module, Foundation package and individual process modules for under pinning knowledge.

Please refer to 'What does the e-learning package cost?' for pricing information.


16. Is my learning accredited?

Yes. We have designed our Productives e-learning materials to include evaluation, testimony and evidence of application in order to offer accreditation at various levels.

Our accreditation partner is City & Guilds.

An important feature of the Virtual College Learning Management System (LMS) is its flexibility. It allows for integration with different accreditation systems and is an integral part of the recognised Accreditation Framework delivery structure.

The LMS has been approved by the appropriate Awarding Bodies who will not permit use of non-approved systems or third party tracking of learner progress.

NHS Electronic Staff Record (ESR) and National Learning Management System (NLMS)

17. Does my learning progress on 'The Productives e-learning' update my NHS ESR data?

Our e-learning materials are available to NHS UK and non-NHS professionals worldwide.

Our learner progress data, whilst complying with industry SCORM standards, is currently unable to directly feed into the NHS National Learning Management System (NLMS) and Electronic Staff Record (ESR).

We continue to explore options and solutions for closer integration with the NLMS in England and other Learning Management System platforms used by NHS and non-NHS customers.

We understand NHS organisations can locally create a course within the NLMS to direct learners to the NHS self-registration page.

Manager level logins are available for those needing to track learner progress at organisation level. Please contact or call 01943 885083 if you wish to access this level of login.

18. What is my Electronic Staff Record (ESR) number?

Your Electronic Staff Record (ESR) number (also known as your assignment number) contains a total of 11 digits.

The first three are unique to your organisation and the next eight are unique to you.

Both sets of numbers should appear on your payslip but may appear as two separate sets of numbers.

To view a sample payslip showing the location of these numbers please see:

Once you have your ESR number you can input the three digits first immediately followed by the eight digits. Do not leave a space in between.

If you are unable to locate these on your payslip contact your HR/Local Workforce team who should be able to provide the details for you.

Support and the learning experience

19. Is online training reliable?

Yes, we believe it is. Virtual College has been providing e-learning for over 15 years to public and private organisations across a wide range of sectors.

As at July 2012, we have over 800,000 learners more than half of whom are in the health and social care sector.

Virtual College are Ofsted inspected and hold accreditation from top awarding bodies such as City & Guilds, the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Oxford Cambridge and RSA (OCR).

E-learning in general can be used to complete training without the need to disrupt your regular work routine, many of our users believe it is better than classroom based training as they are able to undertake their learning at their own pace and convenience.

20. Will my online course be easier to pass than a face to face course?

There is no difference in the learning outcomes if the online course covers the same learning material as you would find in a face to face course.

Many students prefer the e-learning method due to its flexible nature. Focused interactive modules allow you to progress at your own pace without the pressure of other learners forcing you along or holding you back. You will have time to digest the information on screen and regular formative assessments mean you can test your knowledge to ensure you understand the innerContent as you progress.

If you would like to discuss e-learning and how it can be used alongside traditional face to face training methods we would like to hear from you.

Email us at

21. What if I need support when using ‘The Productives e-learning modules?

The Virtual College support team will be able to help and support you at all stages of your learning journey.

Should you need support whilst studying The Productives e-learning, simply email Virtual College team at

OR call 01943 605976 during normal business hours.

22. What accessibility support is provided?

Follow this link to find out more about Virtual College Accessibility support:

23. How long do I have to complete my learning?

Below is listed how long you will have to complete each e-learning package.

  • • Introductory module, Accredited Introductory qualification, Foundation qualification and individual modules – six months
  • • Practitioner level – six months
  • • Facilitator level – nine months
  • • Programme Manager level – 18 months

For Practitioner, Facilitator and Programme Manager levels, should you find in your first four weeks that you are unable to continue with your learning for some reason we may agree to defer your start date.

If appropriate, you may need to provide a copy Medical Certificate, but should not forward one unless requested.

24. What should I do if I have not received my confirmation email?

Sometimes confirmation emails can be sent to your spam or junk email folder by mistake, so first of all check that this is not the case.

If it is not there, contact our e-learning support team who will be able to help.

Email us at

OR call 01943 605976 during normal business hours.

25. What happens if I forget my login details?

You can recover your login details at any time by using the Forgotten Login Details link.

This link is also available on the login page.

The system will automatically send a reminder to the email address that is on your learner record.

Alternatively, you can always give our e-learning Support Team a call on 01943 605976 and they will be able to reset your password for you.

26. Why is it important for me to check my details before I start my training?

You should use the Edit Profile option before you start your training to ensure that:

  • • Your name is spelt correctly – this is so your name will appear correctly on your certificate
  • • Your password is secure – you should enter a new password that is known only to yourself
  • • Your email address is correct – this will mean that password reminders and other system messages are sent directly to you (if someone has purchased on your behalf, then their email address may appear on your record initially and will need to be changed).

27. What is Learner Administrator Access?

Learner Administrator Access allows a nominated person within your organisation to access the report function on the Learning Management System so that they may review learner progress and produce statistical reports.

28. How do I register to become a Learner Administrator?

To apply for Learner Administrator Access, visit Please note you will need your email address, the name and email address of your Line Manager, the name and email address of your Caldicott Guardian/Information Governance Lead and the name and email address of your Human Resources/Learning and Development Lead.

29. How often can I access data and view reports?

You can use your Learner Administrator log in to access training data at any time and as often as you wish.

30. What should I do if I no longer require Learner Administrator Access?

You must inform us immediately in order that we may expire your account