Adapting, learning and responding to COVID-19
During the pandemic we have adapted our offer and responded to our Partners needs with a range of coordinated online learning activities.
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we have actively reflected on the changes to working practices and the impacts on children and families, young people and adults we work with.
Our aim has been to continue to provide our Partners with a range of coordinated online learning activities, publications, webinars, blogs and more. This included a rapid shift towards virtual events delivery, digital resources to support practice development and responsive work informed by the needs of our Partners. With restrictions being in place we were often unable to see colleagues but adapted to enable virtual networking across the country and facilitate the exchange of knowledge, practice and learning in a digital environment through online Communities of Practice, discussions and forums.
From feedback we know that face-to-face workshops are valued by our Partner network. This wasn’t possible due to restrictions being in place and we didn’t want anyone to miss out on direct learning, so we adapted by redesigning all of our planned workshops to be delivered virtually.
Our national conferences have also taken place online for the first time – some spread across several days (such as the Link Officers’ Annual Meetings, Leaders’ Forum and Partnership Conferences). The virtual world has enabled us to reach a greater audience in terms of numbers with the highest number of delegates yet at our conferences, and increased places available through online capacity. The format combined live webinars, recorded material and online facilitated discussions – this ensured a balance of knowledge giving and interactive discussion and facilitative learning.
Online learning packages
This involved the creation of a range of online learning packages designed to support evidence-informed practice in an effective and engaging way, provide professional development and meet organisational challenges and needs. Each online learning package provides at least three hours of continuing professional development (CPD).
'Thank you for putting together such a great learning package at such a critical time in the pandemic – it was really helpful to have the opportunity to reflect on the impact that the pandemic has had on human rights and how the government has responded which in turn has influenced how we practice as social workers in the field. The live seminar brought together the learning from the pre-recorded materials and left me wanting to read further into this topic using the links that had been issued. Thank you.' – Research in Practice Partner.
Learning Pathways and digital resources
The pandemic has provided the opportunity to think a little differently about the way we present evidence and the learning opportunities available. We have introduced Learning Pathways, a new way of guiding you through connected Research in Practice learning resources on a key topic area to support self-directed learning.
By following a pathway you can deepen your understanding of the topic, learn how to use a number of approaches and build skills which can support you in your work with children, young people, adults and families. Each resource includes reflective questions and practice implications to build knowledge and inform your decisions. Development of the pathway experience is in its early stages and will continue to evolve over the coming months.
In addition we continued to develop more digital resources. This included new videos that bring ideas for practice together with real life situations, alongside audio learning resources that feature reflective questions and messages for practice.
Social connections, building resilience and maintaining wellbeing
With lockdown restrictions in place it has been difficult to see our friends, families and colleagues. To support, we provided a series of responsive blogs and resources for our Partners to maintain wellbeing and resilience during the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Click and drag left and right to view resources.
Social Work Organisational Resilience Diagnostic
We were delighted to introduce the beta launch of the Social Work Organisational Resilience Diagnostic (SWORD). SWORD offers a diagnostic survey and an online workbook designed for use across the whole social work and broader social care profession. SWORD includes a set of questions exploring staff wellbeing in the context of working under lockdown and social distancing conditions.
It has been co-produced with the Research in Practice network in a project led by Professor Gail Kinman, Birkbeck University of London, Dr Louise Grant and Dr Kelly Alexander, University of Bedfordshire. The aim of SWORD is to help leaders and managers to create the conditions that enable workers to sustain and develop resilience.
Listen to Dez Holmes on SWORD.
Pandemic and post-pandemic recovery
We actively reflected as a sector on the changes to working practices and the impacts on the children and young people, adults and families we work with of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included various strands of research and knowledge exchange with which Research in Practice was involved to support children & families, and adults.
Children & families
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