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Here to help: The online future

Jocelyn Pryce, Deputy Head of Education at the IBMS, with the latest online developments.

The pandemic brought with it many challenges, not least the need to move to virtual assessment to allow us to optimise the population of the HCPC register with newly qualified biomedical scientists to support the laboratories in their hour of need. Reflecting on feedback received from these changes has helped to inform the conversations around the strategic move towards online learning.

The IBMS has recognised that its offering through online provision has been due for review for some time and last year’s strategy saw the first of a number of moves into the realm of e-learning. Obviously, with a move as high profile as this, the IBMS wanted to scope, develop and test with caution. The resultant CPD module pilot, which was run between July and September 2020, was greeted with very positive feedback from the small cohort of members tasked with testing it.

The modules included subjects as diverse as CPD, whistleblowing, skin cancer and quality. The feedback was so positive that a further five modules are being produced this year with topics including wellbeing and compassion in the workplace, investigating incidents, competency and reflection. They will be available in July and piloted to around 5% of the membership. Feedback will again be used to inform the next stage of the project.

In the background we are also developing some online modules to scope out the practicalities of moving our qualifications online. In preparation for this we are building a draft template module, which will allow us to test various assessment strategies and build new user engagement approaches into the modules we create. We recognise that we are still in the very early days of development but we are committed to a move in this direction and are listening to our members at every step of the way. A large number of members are feeding into the various streams of the e-learning project, from task and finish groups discussing how the Specialist Diploma might look going forward, to discipline-specific experts feeding into

the granularity of the assessment functionalities available on the platform and how we might make best use of them. The projects will be monitored closely by our standing committees and progress will be fed into reports for the IBMS Council.

The e-learning project will be multi-faceted and a long-term commitment across all of our qualifications ensuring that they are future-proofed and fit for the development of the coming generations of biomedical science staff. The various aspects of the project are both daunting and exciting; they will advance the IBMS and bring us in line with other education providers as well as widen the participation further to allow progress where previously it may have been difficult. We look forward to you joining us on this journey and thank you for your continued support in helping us to develop to meet the needs of our members.  

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Image Credit | iStock

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