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There are many different learning and development opportunities for the adult social care sector and many different ways to keep the costs low.

It’s important that you have a good understanding what's available so that you can make the best choice for your service and staff, from more formal learning opportunities such as qualifications, to digital learning and other alternatives.


Accredited learning


Apprenticeships develop skilled and competent workers due to the mix of on and off-the-job learning. Find out more about apprenticeships.


Qualifications can play an important role in learning and development and there are a wide variety available within adult social care. Find out more.


Social learning

Action learning

A structured method of small groups coming together to work on real problems for individuals, teams and organisations. It allows participants to explore, test and learn from ideas and actions. Find out more about action learning.


Usually attended by managers & leaders but can be suitable for your team members too if the topic is relevant to their role. They may be dismissed as too expensive, but you can often find local opportunities that are free or very low cost. 

Top tip

Talk to other managers to find out about conferences and networking opportunities that they recommend, via the Registered Manager Networks.

Flipped learning

A group of staff are given information to take away and digest or are asked to research topics. They then come back together to share and discuss what they’ve learnt and consider how to put it into practice in their setting. This is extremely cost effective and you can use the internet to search for different topic ideas.


Learning from others

Coaching and Mentoring

Promote personal and professional growth, and aim to improve performance, wellness and confidence through a series of reflective, probing sessions. Mentors provide guidance and support based on their own experiences to help mentees develop in their role. 


Audio programmes shared online around a particular theme. They might be storytelling, information sharing, interviews or opinion-pieces. They enable you to hear from others with similar interests and priorities to you.

Ƶ hosts a podcast called The Care Exchange.

Buddying and Shadowing

Pairing-up colleagues to ‘buddy’ or ‘shadow’ each other allows them to reciprocally learn from each other’s experiences, or share their expertise to develop their colleague’s skills and knowledge.


Digital learning


eLearning designed for mobile phones and tablets, normally broken into bite-sized modules and are commonly associated with ‘just in time’ training or used to refresh and check knowledge such as . There are free Apps available such as  for mindfulness and wellbeing. 


There are easily accessed and reasonably priced – some are even free.  It’s worth reviewing content though.  Ƶ offer a variety of e-learning courses, from modules for new managers, to those leading CQC inspections.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Free online courses which are available for anyone to enrol, some examples include:  (many of their courses are free) e.g. .  (all of their online courses are free) e.g. 


Online discussions or presentations to improve knowledge and understanding on specific topics. They are often recorded and shared, so you can access them at a time that suits you. Ƶ has a range of free, recorded webinars you can access. Find out more.

Virtual reality and augmented reality

Explore fully immersive computer-generated worlds, in virtual reality (VR), and overlay computer graphics onto our view of our immediate environment, augmented reality (AR). 

VR can be freely available and inexpensive, for example cardboard viewers start from around £6.

Alzheimer’s Research UK has developed a free .


Next steps

Some off-the-job learning will need a learning provider to deliver the training.