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Customer Story


According to the latest data from Skills for Care, the homecare workforce in England totals over half a million workers, the great majority of whom are frontline care staff. These workers are distributed across some 9,000 registered locations, mostly operated by small private providers. As the Coronavirus pandemic has so vividly shown, there is a huge amount of pressure on social care, including domiciliary care, to undertake vital and complex tasks with very little support. 

Aside from the unexpected strains of a pandemic, demographic changes mean that by 2024, the over 65 age group will comprise more than 20% of the population. In addition, dementia rates are expected to rise from the current level of 850,000 to over one million people by 2025. These factors will both dramatically increase the demand for homecare services and increase the complexity of the homecare worker role.

In order to help address this demand, targeted and relevant training is essential.  Upskilling this workforce is central to national workforce strategies. Homecare services have rich potential for significantly enhancing the quality of care, leading to efficiencies and cost savings in other parts of the healthcare system. At the same time, however, homecare providers have an array of challenges relating to training and development:

  • Staff shortages, high turnover and pressures on time all prevent release for training
  • Budget shortages severely limit additional or advanced training
  • Isolated and dispersed staff with patchy access to traditional online learning
  • Little contingency for innovation in the sector as a whole.

All this points to a clear need for a flexible and accessible training tool to support domiciliary care workers now and in the future.

Introducing Cuppacare with MyKnowledgeMap…

With funding from vocational technology charity, the Ufi Trust, social care digital specialist Sara Dunn Associates partnered with learning technology provider, MyKnowledgeMap to develop Cuppacare: a micro-learning mobile application for domiciliary care workers. A service designer in digital social care for 20+ years, Sara wrote the first e-learning strategy for the sector as well as conducting the first national survey on digital skills in the care workforce. Combined with MyKnowledgeMap’s extensive experience developing learning technology within healthcare and medicine, the partnership brought a wealth of experience to the creation of Cuppacare. 

A simple and easy-to-use micro-learning app

Cuppacare is designed to provide frontline care workers with high quality, 3-10-minute learning courses known as ‘Sips’, a skills boost in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea.  Consciously developed to help maximise learning opportunities and advance knowledge in a typically pressured and time-intensive work environment, some of the key benefits and features of Cuppacare include:

  • High quality content – developed with the homecare worker in mind, to support both new recruits and experienced workers needing a refresh
  • Available offline –WiFi can be unreliable for mobile workers in the community. Cuppacare is designed to work offline so there are no limitations to the learning moment; staff can easily access learning anytime, anywhere.
  • Easy to digest – learning courses have a simple, interactive and user-friendly interface design evidenced to enhance engagement
  • Supporting reflection – mini quizzes at the end of each learning course help the care worker reflect on and solidify learning. Users earn digital badges for completing ‘Sips’ as reward and recognition
  • Aligned with Care Certificate Standards – All learning courses ready-built within Cuppacare align with industry standards, ensuring authority and contributing to CPD.

Alongside the Cuppacare mobile app, a unique Cuppacare Authoring Tool was developed to enable homecare providers to create and publish their own Sips.  In this way, homecare providers deploy their own guidance to staff mobile devices and monitor use, complementing and extending their existing staff training channels.

Examples of learning courses ready built into the Cuppacare app include:

  • Practical infection control skills i.e. food safety, hand washing, removing gloves or PPE, date marks on food etc.
  • Dementia and associated topics i.e. communication, help with food, positive interactions etc.
  • Mental health support i.e. recognising and managing stress, breathing exercises etc.
  • Recognising important clinical signs i.e. Parkinson’s, normal ageing, urine colour, abuse and neglect etc.

Developing the catalogue of learning courses or ‘Sips’ available on an offline mobile app has required an in-depth knowledge of the challenges care workers face.  Not just in terms of the working environment, but also the culture and context of use, as well as employer and learner priorities.  All CuppaCare learning content takes careful account of:

  • Learner habits in using mobile – very short windows of attention, less ability to scan by scrolling, often a noisy or distracting environment and lack of privacy
  • Limitations in phone memory or storage
  • Limitations in bandwidth or mobile data coverage
  • Diversity of mobile devices including Android and iOS
  • Range of end-user digital skills and aptitudes
  • Varying digital maturity amongst employer organisations.

Piloting Cuppacare across the UK…

Cuppacare was initially piloted as a proof of concept with a large care provider, with support from Skills for Care’s government funded Workforce Development Innovation Fund.  The success of this pilot led to further funding from the Ufi Trust and University of Bath Innovation Centre. The large-scale field testing gathered in-depth user research and testing with over 200 users via surveys, interviews and online feedback tools.

The field testing was extremely successful, with both managers and learners finding the concept and the execution to be innovative, in tune with their needs and demonstrating a genuine understanding the challenges of their context.

Taking Support & Training to the Next Level…

Managers’ report that using Cuppacare complements and reinforces their other modes of training and skills development with small pieces of focused learning that staff can access on-the-job.  Meanwhile staff valued its convenience, accessibility and portability, reporting gains in knowledge, skills and confidence.  Users consistently gave a net promoter score of > 8.5 to the overall system, and an average 4.7 out of 5 stars for the usefulness and quality of the learning.

Overall, the CuppaCare pilot has had a profound impact on the care providers and care workers who have been involved.  There is a clear need for scalable and easy, on-the-job guidance of care workers, especially at their moment of need. By using a mobile app to deliver succinct, digestible training, CuppaCare balances the supportive but authoritative training the sector needs.  

Cuppacare is currently being used by 26 early adopter organisations and has recently been endorsed by Skills for Care as a Quality Learning Provider, the first mobile app to receive this endorsement. CuppaCare is highly flexible in its use, as evidenced by customers beyond the core care providers.  The Cuppacare partners will continue to scale up delivery to care providers – including of vital on-the-job guidance for the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as widening the market to healthcare and beyond.

If you would like to learn more about the Cuppacare platform, visit

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