Responsible Data Usage Training: Course Author Blog

November 10, 2022

Our latest eLearning course has arrived! If you’re keen to learn more about how to build individual capability to use data responsibly, or to learn more about the different purposes you can use data for while maintaining legality, fairness, and transparency, the Responsible Data Usage Course is for you.

Course lead authors Helen Brown and Brent Walker share their inside knowledge from years of working with some of the world’s most complex and sensitive data, steering policy and operationalizing the implementation of governance mechanisms to enable the best use and protection of data.

And we want to say a huge thanks to them for sharing this blog with us.

* This course is offered in partnership with In The Know who are experts in all things Data!

Why did we develop our courses?

Many companies are delivering their desired business outcomes by using data for increasingly sophisticated purposes. At the same time, regulatory requirements to protect data are becoming increasingly stringent. This leaves companies with two requirements:

  1. The need to demonstrate that their governance processes are adequate,
  2. To increase staff awareness about their specific responsibilities to use and protect data appropriately.

Traditional privacy courses are often high-level, legally focused, and pitched to cover all issues that a company may face. As a consequence, the course materials are often not sufficiently relatable to the daily circumstance that staff using data find themselves managing.

We set up In the Know as we want companies to be able to make the most effective use of their data while remaining compliant. We recognized three different types of data-using companies that could benefit from our courses:

  1. Companies not making use of potentially valuable data because of overly strict approaches to managing privacy risks
  2. Companies making great use of their data but without properly protecting it from privacy risks
  3. Companies not getting the best value from their data because of the poor application of privacy transformations and controls

We are passionate about people making the most of their data and saw that many companies were struggling to protect their data effectively and needed practical support. Staff using data need to be provided with clear practical guidance on what their responsibilities are. Companies need to know that their data risks are being managed and that they are not at risk of regulatory or contractual action.

Based on generic principles, ‘Responsible Data Usage’ is a short, and engaging e-learning course that educates data users to understand all their responsibilities to use personal and business-sensitive data safely and effectively.

Who is this course for?

The Responsible Data Usage course builds individual capability to use data responsibly. It is suitable for all staff who handle data in data-driven organisations across all industry sectors and is regulatory jurisdiction agnostic.

It is relevant to organisations at all levels of data maturity, from those just starting out on their data journey to those with well-established data governance processes in place. It is particularly suitable for organisations using personal data or de-identified person-level data where privacy and data utility risks are more likely to be present and which need to be demonstrably controlled.

If you’ve got questions about whether this course will be suitable for you, get in touch.

How is the course structured?

Responsible Data Usage course materials are presented in a clear and consistent structure and are written in user-friendly, non-technical language making them accessible to all staff. It has tailorable, interactive, multimedia content, based on the letters of a simple but effective aide-memoire based on the word ‘PROTECT’. It includes a short assessment to test understanding and requires trainees to declare that they will use data responsibly. Clients can track trainee progress via a Learning Management System which can also include links to generic or company-specific policies and guidance.  

What are the key learning points?

By taking the course you will learn:

  • the different purposes you can use data for while maintaining legality, fairness, and transparency.
  • your responsibilities to safeguard data to minimise all data risks.
  • how the origin of data affects what you can do with it.
  • how you build trust with others that you are handling data appropriately.
  • why you must handle data ethically.
  • the different categories of data you may be exposed to, and how this affects your data usage.
  • why it is essential that you understand how to transfer data safely.

What will I find most interesting?

The course will widen your perspectives and make it clear what you need to do differently at an individual level to control all data risks, not just those involving data protection principles and privacy.  The course materials are presented in a well-structured, simple, and engaging manner, and are available for the entire licence period. This provides accessible, useful, and usable reference resources for those who want to review or delve deeper into the topic at all times.

What will I find most challenging?

The course is short, engaging and pitched at a level making it suitable for people with no prior experience. However, the short assessment at the end of the course will test your understanding so it is important that you pay particular attention and use the course handbook to take notes as required.

What will I be able to do better after taking this course?

When you have completed this course, you should be able to:

  • identify whether data usage purposes are legitimate.
  • demonstrate how legality, fairness and transparency requirements are being met.
  • describe your responsibilities to safeguard data and implement them in your day-to-day working environment.
  • select the best way to use data taking account of the data’s source and what has happened to it. 
  • demonstrate responsible data use to stakeholders and build their trust.
  • describe and differentiate ethical and non-ethical data use.
  • classify the different categories of data about people and implement appropriate data use.
  • identify the requirements for safe data transfer and fulfil them when transferring, accessing, or sharing data.

What are the benefits of taking this course?

Let’s consider this question from organizational and individual perspectives.

For organizations, there will be tangible benefits realized by training staff in Responsible Data Usage. The course will help your organisation:

  • increase data’s fitness for purpose and maximise its value 
  • maintain data access 
  • demonstrate regulatory and contractual compliance 
  • generate and retain stakeholder trust 
  • reduce the chance of privacy breaches  
  • avoid unnecessary costs and maximise income 

For individuals, the course will help avoid the personal consequences of a data breach, such as disciplinary or regulatory action. But just as importantly, there are also the obvious employability benefits that come with having up-to-date training in responsible data use on your resumé. You will also be able to act as an advocate for safe and effective data use to help the wider community of stakeholders to understand the power and value of well-managed data.

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