Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter

Here to help: delivering learning

Donna Torrance, IBMS Head of Learning and Development, updates members on plans to move qualification to a dedicated online platform.

When the country went into lockdown and it became apparent this would be for an extended period, the IBMS, like many other organisations, had to consider different ways of working. This consideration extended to methods of delivery and examination of the different IBMS qualifications. As this shift in delivery and examination was due to an unforeseen event and, therefore, had limited planning time, this process has not been without its difficulties. What was highlighted for all organisations was the need to embrace technology and utilise it to its fullest potential. Moving qualifications to a dedicated online platform is one of the projects being undertaken by the IBMS and is a step towards utilising available technology to enhance our ability to deliver learning and development to our members.

One of the qualifications the IBMS is looking to move to an online platform is the Specialist Diploma. The Specialist Diploma is one of the IBMS’s most successful qualifications and the delivery has been primarily based on discipline-specific portfolios, with the addition of a blood sciences portfolio and optional modules. The IBMS, in conjunction with members and specialist advisory panels (SAPs), continuously looks to ensure the qualifications and their delivery are appropriate, up to date, and maintain standards. A recent review of the Cytology Specialist Portfolio resulted in its separation into two new cytology portfolios in cervical and diagnostic cytology, with additional new molecular content. This better reflects the more focused services provided by laboratories and the increasing role molecular-based techniques play within cytology.

Recent changes in laboratory working, including those precipitated by COVID and restructures in pathology, have created changes within and between pathology departments and, therefore, the ways in which staff are working.

It has been noted that these changes to pathology services have affected the ability of staff to access the specialist qualifications in their current format. As part of the project to move the Specialist Diploma qualification online, there will also be a restructure of the portfolio delivery. Work has started on creating the infrastructure of the online programmes and as part of the move to e-learning we are looking to modularise the Specialist Portfolios and review how the award is supported. In order to facilitate this and ensure the finished product allows access to the Specialist Diploma award to as many members as possible, the IBMS is seeking the opinions of SAPs as well as learners, trainers and examiners.

A survey will be launched in June this year with the express purpose of determining the impact changes to the ways in laboratory working have affected the ability of individuals to complete Specialist Diploma awards. The results of the survey and information gathered will be reviewed to determine how best the IBMS can support laboratory staff in their learning and development journey.

I would, therefore, ask that you exercise your voice and complete the survey to aid in informing changes to be made.

There are likely to be several phases to moving the Specialist Portfolio online and fully utilising digital technology, therefore, whatever is seen when the portfolio first moves online won’t be the end of the story.  

Image credit | Servikos / Shutterstock

Related Articles