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Eastern Health rapidly adapts to COVID-19 by moving face-to-face training online

Eastern Health is a large metropolitan health service in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, employing over 10,000 medical, nursing, allied health, clinical support, and non-clinical staff.

The Challenge

As a large metropolitan health network in Melbourne, Australia, Eastern Health staff are required to complete annual Occupational Violence and Aggression training. This training is vital to ensuring that staff feel safe when working, and has traditionally been conducted face to face. Depending on staff role, a staff member may have had to attend a four-hour or a full-day training session.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic meant that all face-to-face training at Eastern Health had to stop, and therefore a rapid transition involving the development of online resources had to commence. Eastern Health’s Totara Learn system was being utilized to record when these face-to-face sessions were occurring; now it needed to be able to track when the online training was completed, and be flexible enough to replicate the different learning pathways that had been offered by the face-to-face training.

The Solution


Utilising one of the three self-service recording studios in Eastern Health’s hospitals that had been set up because of COVID-19, the Occupational Violence and Aggression trainers were able to quickly develop their learning content in a video format. These videos were uploaded into Eastern Health’s Totara Learn platform and added to the Occupational Violence and Aggression training course.

The open-source nature of Totara meant that a popular plugin (H5P) was able to be installed by Eastern Health’s Totara Partner (Androgogic), which added the ability to include interactive elements to the videos that were created, including ‘test your knowledge’ checks at key moments in the video.

Using adult learning principles and the label activity inside Totara, staff were able to select which learning pathway best matched their role inside the Occupational Violence and Aggression course, replicating the freedom they had when attending a face-to-face training session previously.



The flexibility of Totara Learn to allow the rapid implementation of a learning pathways solution meant that the learning objectives set out by the course could still be achieved in a short time frame.



The Totara quiz tool was used to measure competency, with the answers analysed to help determine what learning needs require additional focus into the future.

Within two weeks from the call to stop all face-to-face training, the online version of Occupational Violence and Aggression training was launched. The organization was able to meet all reporting requirements including keeping track of who had completed either the face to face or the online training, and when staff were due to recomplete this annual competency.

The Results

In the nine months since March 2020:

  • There have been over 6,500 completions of the Occupational Violence and Aggression course, an increase of 20% compared to the previous nine months.
  • The training videos have been viewed for a total of 57,000 hours, with the Totara system handling the reporting of completion of this training without any issues.
  • The ability to access the training at any time has meant that staff have not had to travel across site or take extended periods of time off work, saving both time and money.
  • Staff report that they love that they now have the freedom to learn at their own pace and time, and the feedback on this new delivery of training has been overwhelmingly positive.



 “Moving our aggression management training online has inspired the trainer workforce to review the subject matter content, and develop the trainer skillset in using platform tools for increasing interactivity of the learning activities to improve knowledge retention and staff engagement. The platform tools have been easy to learn and use for a not hugely tech-savvy team. Users have become quickly accustomed to the platform and with minimal assistance find it obvious and intuitive to manipulate. This has engaged the workforce in transitioning to a predominantly digital learning experience in a more focused and engaged way.”
– Cora Browne, Eastern Health Occupational Violence and Aggression Trainer

The flexibility of Totara meant that an innovative solution at no extra cost was able to be rapidly implemented to meet the organization’s training needs. This freedom to innovate is something that would not have been achievable in previous learning management systems utilized by their organization.

Eastern Health trainers have also reported finding the accessibility of the online programs to be a huge positive. Having the bulk of the theory now delivered in this way has freed the trainer team to:

  • Consult more widely across the organization
  • Provide short targeted face-to-face sessions for speciality groups and programs
  • Review the method of information sharing and testing due to the tools available
  • Develop simulation-based training
  • Engage more fully with the flipped classroom idea for training into the future


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