Experiential learning tool incorporates gaming for essential dementia care communication skills training
Pleasanton, CA and London, UK – Tuesday 11th February 2014, Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance and Toolwire today announced that they have won the Gold Award for “External Learning Solution of the Year” at The Learning Awards sponsored by the Learning and Performance Institute, a global institute for learning and development professionals. The tool is accessible for free through The Learning Location website, which is open to individual carers, families, professional staff and organisations looking for relevant information, guides, and training support.
This online learning experience immerses users in the role of a volunteer at a care home. Two interactive, multi-branching ‘episodes’, which last approximately 25 minutes each, enable learners to practice communication skills essential for providing care to those with dementia. Within a highly authentic, real-life environment, learners interact with a resident living with dementia through the use of interactive dialogue responders, which are just one of the subtle technology overlay features. Gaming elements, such as a persistent Performance Indicator, gauge the learner’s performance in three areas: Listening, Observation, and Communication.
“Once I had seen what Toolwire could do by involving the latest gamification techniques, I was convinced of the step change in added value that they would bring,” commented Willie Cruickshank, Director at Norfolk & Suffolk Dementia Alliance. “Knowing how to communicate appropriately with people living with Dementia is at the very heart of providing truly person-centred care. All too often it is simple failures in communication that lead to the frustration that can often occur for many carers and families, and more importantly for people living with Dementia who become distressed and agitated at being constantly misunderstood. The Norfolk & Suffolk Dementia Alliance is proud to be at the forefront of developing solutions to support people with dementia to continue to live an independent and meaningful life within their own community. At the heart of this work, are groundbreaking initiatives to make Norfolk and Suffolk more dementia friendly. The innovative resources it has developed with Toolwire over the last two years are being used extensively throughout schools and across the business communities, as well as in the healthcare sector, to raise awareness and understanding of dementia and provide advice on how to respond appropriately to people who exhibit the associated symptoms of confusion and memory loss.”
“We are honoured and proud to work with the Dementia Alliance on this important dementia care initiative. In support of Prime Minister Cameron’s Dementia Challenge, this project was specifically designed to serve those caring for the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK,” commented Toolwire President and CEO, John Valencia. “The number of dementia cases worldwide is estimated to be roughly 44.4 million people. Innovative, scalable technology solutions such as this provide a game-changing new way to improve the lives of those living with dementia and their immediate families and friends.”
Many Happy Returns, another Dementia Alliance partner, contributed “conversation cards” that the learner uses to engage the dementia patient during each episode. Sarah Reed, founder of Many Happy Returns, commented, “The combination of experiential learning and the Many Happy Returns conversation cards teaches learners how to connect across the generations meaningfully and enjoyably. The learning is further enhanced and deepened as users absorb the power of authentic interaction within the LearnScape and learn in practical terms how the techniques can be applied.”
“Combining expertise from Dementia Alliance and Many Happy Returns, this learning solution is an incredibly compelling resource capable of transforming how people communicate with those living with dementia,” stated Sarah Frame, Toolwire Business Development Consultant. “We could not be more excited about the result of this effort, and we are very grateful for this recognition by the Learning & Performance Institute.”
Notes to Editor
Toolwire develops, delivers, and fully supports interactive Experiential Learning technologies in fields such as Health Care, Business, Information Technology, and more. We believe that “learning by doing” provides the most effective way to develop skills, improve knowledge retention, and enhance learner success.
About Norfolk & Suffolk Dementia Alliance
The Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance is an initiative that brings Norfolk and Suffolk’s most supportive organisations all together. This is a cohesive campaign to improve caring for people with dementia and the information is readily available for both professional carers, family or friends who wish to be better informed about Dementia.
About The Learning Awards
The Learning and Performance Institute hosts the annual Learning Awards to recognise outstanding examples of high standards, best practice, innovation and excellence within the Learning & Development industry. The awards are presented at The Dorchester, Park Lane, London, at the Institute’s prestigious Awards Dinner, held in February each year.
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