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Blended learning

The Blended Learning programme has been developed to address national shortages in clinical expertise and explores the opportunities of providing predominantly online, remote-access study to those people who may have the aptitude and values to join the healthcare profession, but currently are unable to learn in traditional ways.

New guidance for Blended Learning

Health Education England (HEE) has launched a comprehensive guide to blended learning for undergraduate education in healthcare across multiple professions.

Read the Blended Learning Guidance Report

The Health Education England guide follows the success of its 2020 mandate to explore alternative routes into nursing to widen access and increase the nursing workforce.

This new blended learning approach now means the NHS and partners can widen access and participation for healthcare training and education and promote diversity and inclusion in the workforce.

Interest from other health professional areas now sees the blended learning approach extended to include midwifery, medicine, and critical care nursing, with opportunities to extend into other areas of healthcare education, e.g., the psychological professions.  Added to this are the contributions of organisations to the HEE guidance report from across healthcare professions to encourage regulatory bodies to review and examine their standards, including through a Task and Finish group.

The needs and aspirations of students are at the core of the HEE Blended Learning approach:

"The evidence shows that blended learning has benefits that include better student experience and satisfaction, skills development and confidence."

Patrick Mitchell, Director of Innovation, Digital and Transformation

Health Education England

This HEE Blended Learning guidance is endorsed at government level:

"The report sets out the potential role of blended learning for those students in England currently unable to access healthcare pre-registration qualifications easily. … It also highlights the potential of blended learning programmes to allow (healthcare) students to access learning opportunities flexibly to further their career aspirations, alongside their work, family and personal commitments."

Edward Aggar MP, Minister of State for Health

Department of Health and Social Care

The Minister has also committed to taking an active role in further discussions with system partners, to agree a plan to implement the recommendations from the report and to continue to promote the demonstrable benefits of blended learning for health professional education.  This will take place through a series of Ministerial webinar discussions with invited contributors to the guidance.

  • Monday, 30 May 2022 13:00 – 15:00 - Regulation.  This webinar will include a video address from the Minister
  • Monday, 20 June 2022 15:00 – 17:00 - Innovation and Technology
  • Monday, 18 July 2022 14:00 – 16:00 - Resource Implications

The HEE Blended Learning guidance will guide future healthcare education:

"We will continue to utilise our expertise within HEE and the wider system to promote the blended learning agenda, and to facilitate the creation of a significantly different offer in healthcare professional education. This will ultimately support the growth of an adaptive, expert and professional workforce which is prepared for the demands of 21st century care."

Dr Navina Evans, Chief Executive

Health Education England

For further information about Blended Learning or the new guidance report please email us at: blended.learning@hee.nhs.uk

Blended learning – Critical Care Nursing

From January 2022, the provision of Adult Critical Care training in England was made available through blended learning provision. The aim is to delivery standardised Critical Care Qualification for nurses, which could also be accessed by Allied Health Professionals where applicable, and to boost the number of trained and competent staff able to work in critical care. The blended learning programmed will support as many as 10,500 nursing staff to further their careers in critical care. For further information, including a list of providers please see the Frequently Asked Questions document.

Blended learning

The courses being designed will take advantage of current and emerging innovative technologies while appealing to a wider range of potential students who, for example, have to balance commitments such as having a young family or a caring role, have challenges in relation to travel or the remoteness of where they live, as well as those who have a particular interest in technology and using their digital skills to study.

Working with seven universities and an advisory group with members from partner-organisations, Health Education England will test the concept in our first ever Blended Learning Nursing Degree programme – which started in early 2021.

Patrick Mitchell, Director of Innovation and Transformation for Health Education England, said;

“This is a critical and ambitious programme of work, to support the introduction of blended learning degrees in healthcare. It shows the way to the future of educating and training our workforce, with the use of existing and emerging learning technologies.

“It signifies how HEE is working in partnership with HEIs, to establish a radical shift in nurse education in England. We were impressed by the innovation that our chosen universities had put into their plans, especially around looking for new student markets, embracing the widening participation agenda and their use of innovative technologies. This approach has been accelerated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will really help to enable wider access to nursing degrees for people who may previously have had barriers to a nursing career.”


The evidence

See the significant results of our literature review in Related Documents below.

Henrietta Mbeah-Bankas - Head of Blended Learning and Digital Literacy Project Lead, Health Education England

Henrietta is a registered mental health nurse and provides overall leadership for the programme with Patrick Mitchell as the Senior Responsible Officer (SRO). 

Naureen Wilson - Project Manager, Blended Learning Programme

Reporting directly to the Head of Blended Learning, Naureen is responsible for the day to day activities of all projects within the programme. She also holds line management responsibility for the Project Support Officer.

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