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16 Dec 2020

The Selwyn Institute: promoting learning about ageing and aged care

Facilitating knowledge-sharing and enhanced learning for virtual audiences

It’s been another busy year for The Selwyn Institute, which co-ordinates for The Selwyn Foundation internal and external knowledge-sharing activities and the provision of education and learning events across a range of platforms and learning options. In 2020, these have included our online SelwynLearn learning modules, the Ageing & Spirituality webinar series and the ‘Information about Ageing’ section on the Foundation’s website.      

Engaging training and development opportunities through SelwynLearn

Since late 2018, The Selwyn Institute has been developing online learning modules within SelwynLearn which the Foundation’s care staff complete in their paid work time. SelwynLearn is a cutting-edge, online learning platform designed to deliver engaging training and development opportunities for staff across The Selwyn Foundation. To date, it has focused on delivery of the mandatory training requirements for our care staff, but it can do so much more than this!

SelwynLearn enables the evolution and growth of Selwyn as a learning organisation. It supports and nurtures growth and development of staff as individuals and professionals, providing opportunities to promote excellence in all they do by reinforcing the values of our organisation and showing how The Selwyn Way can be applied in all aspects of our professional lives.

It’s akin to a ‘library’ of online learning topics which are called ‘modules’. The centrepiece of each module is an online video, which utilises videography, character animation and graphic design. Alongside each video are interactive questions and answers about the topic presented in the video, and a discussion sheet for further learning in the workplace. Designed to meet the varying styles of adult learners, each module creates relevant, accessible and engaging learning opportunities for all staff. 

Throughout 2020, 17 new learning modules have ‘gone live’, all focussed on supporting the professional development of staff. Some topics have been specific to support Selwyn’s COVID-19 pandemic response, such as handwashing, correct use of personal protective equipment, and wellbeing and stress management. Other topics have looked at nutrition and hydration, and palliative care.

The SelwynLearn product is created by an experienced nurse educator and a producer with animation expertise. To create great learning content, the team collaborates with internal and external subject matter experts from academia as well as from across The Selwyn Foundation. These contributors generously share their expert knowledge and skills, ensuring that the SelwynLearn learning modules are always up-to-date and relevant to our staff roles and their daily tasks and responsibilities. 

We’re proud of the positive results that have been achieved from delivering learning in this innovative and supported way. In 2021, SelwynLearn developments will include completing the set of mandatory learning for care staff, other important professional development topics for care staff, and commencement of key learning modules for our non-clinical teams. The goal for all these developments is that the learning is relevant to the work required of the individual completing the learning module, enabling all staff to experience the benefits of being part of a learning organisation, and ensuring that the learning is framed within the principles and ethos of The Selwyn Way.

Innovative Ageing & Spirituality webinar series

An important objective of The Selwyn Institute is to share our learning and ideas with the wider health and social services sectors and with all those who have an interest in supporting others to age well. When COVID-19 took hold across the world, the Institute moved quickly to replace its annual schedule of experiential workshops, conferences and seminars for health and social services professionals, clergy, seniors and their family/whanau with workshops and seminars delivered via Zoom and webinars.

One such event was the highly successful Ageing & Spirituality seminar held on 14 October 2020, which was attended ‘virtually’ by a large number of health and social services professionals and clergy from across the length and breadth of Aotearoa New Zealand as well as from Melbourne, Sydney and London. The first in a three-part series of Ageing & Spirituality webinars, ‘The Last Stage of Human Growth is Mortality’ was broadcast live by the Institute and presented by Professor Rod MacLeod, Clinical Advisor to Hospice New Zealand, and Caroline Leys, Spiritual Director of The Selwyn Foundation. Part two of this webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, 10 February 2021.

The third webinar in this fascinating series is scheduled for Thursday, 11 March 2021, and will canvas a new topic featuring another high-profile speaker interviewed by Caroline Leys.

More information on these webinars and the registration details will be available by mid-January 2021. 

A wealth of information about ageing on Selwyn’s ‘Learning’ webpages

A recent survey of a sample of family/whanāu of seniors indicated that, whilst there’s already a lot of valuable health and wellbeing articles and skills’ learning factsheets on The Selwyn Foundation website, this content could be made more visible and more easily accessible for users.

As a result, work has been underway to restructure The Selwyn Institute’s ‘Learning’ pages on the Selwyn website. Early in 2021, therefore, it will be easier for visitors to the site to find a wealth of information about ageing, with articles about similar topics co-located to make searching intuitive and more straightforward. This reformatting will also make it easier for seniors and their family/whanāu to find out about and enrol in any workshops, seminars or courses that The Selwyn Institute has to offer, and will generally enhance the overall user experience.

We’ll announce when this important revision project is complete. In the interim, the following link will take you to The Selwyn Institute Learning pages: selwynfoundation.org.nz/learning

Do also have a look at our catalogue of informative and entertaining articles on ageing well. For example, our article about resilience discusses what is it, who has it, how does it happen, why it’s important to recognise, and offers suggestions on how to acquire it.

“Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health issues, or workplace and financial stressors. It means bouncing back from difficult experiences. Kindness, compassion and giving boost mental wellbeing and resilience. Whether you are on the giving or receiving end, there are shared benefits and opportunities to consider…”