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“Free” Workforce Training In Dementia: Exploring Questions Of Cost, Investment, Value, and Impact

Presentation Overview
Evidence from behavioural economics and marketing research suggests that a customer’s understanding of “free” can influence the perceived value of goods and services. This can include engagement outcomes. For example, an upfront investment can be an incentive – such as prepayment of a training workshop fee providing a type of behavioural nudge to enhance attendance rates, or influence ratings of value. What does this evidence base imply for models of training delivery in dementia? Furthermore, what is the value of “free” when considering other aspects of return on investment for engaging in training, such as opportunity costs on time and personnel backfill.
Dementia Training Australia (DTA) is funded by the Australian Government to deliver a national program of education and training to the workforce supporting people living with dementia. This includes receiving referrals for training from Dementia Support Australia. Since commencing operations in October 2016, DTA has delivered over 50,000 occasions of training. A vast proportion of this delivery is highly subsidised, including a range of fee-free online courses and resources. 
Reflecting a commitment to an evidence-based ‘knowledge to practice’ learning pathway, a priority focus for DTA is delivering training and education that has impact which can be measured. The impact journey is, itself, a commitment to various levels of cost and investment for individuals, teams, and organisations. This session will feature short presentations about the various programs, courses, and resources available through DTA, with discussion about learnings to date, and the potential ingredients that influence impact and value for “free” training. Topics to be showcased in this session include:
  • Tailored training programs for teams, featuring consultancy services that focus on medication management, responsive behaviours, pain, and environmental design 
  • Continuing education for professionals, including programs for General Practitioners, Nurses, and Allied Health specialists
  • Dementia Essentials – the accredited Vocational Education Training course for people working in aged care, health care and community services
  • Special programs for building workforce capacity, including the fellowship program, and ‘train the trainer’ initiatives.
In addition to the short presentations, the session will include a question/answer session with DTA representatives. It will provide an opportunity for participants to explore barriers and facilitators to workforce training. This will include explorations of issues of ‘cost versus investment’ for service providers, as well as how DTA offerings may potentially support organisations in activities related to documentation and evidence portfolios (e.g. for aged care service providers to demonstrate compliance with quality indicators). This session will be especially useful for participants who are planning training investments for staff, including managers and educators seeking to design bespoke programs for teams. 
*Dementia Training Australia is a consortium of university partners (University of Wollongong, Queensland University of Technology, La Trobe University, University of Western Australia) and Dementia Australia (
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2018 Highlights

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