Lifelong Learning Workstream

 

News and FAQs

Work on the new Lifelong Learning Platform starts (12/05/2017)

During the initial ‘Sprints’ (a term used in software development to describe what work will be completed within an agreed period), Nomensa have created:

  • A specification document in collaboration with the RCoA (including trainees and trainers) to help aid in the development of the system.
  • A set of principles to guide the user experience (design and development) in the new platform:
    • conveys simplicity in order to ensure that different users are able to easily and readily use the new platform
    • informs action and tracking a trainee’s their position within the overall lifelong learning cycle
    • encourages meaningful collaboration between trainees and their trainers
    • instils control and confidence so that users feel in control and are confident at all times in using the platform
    • inspires reflection creating the opportunity for trainees to meaningfully reflect on their training and learning in order to support personal development.

Work is now starting on the following:

  • user experience – understanding how assessments are selected and linked to curricula.
  • development – defining form user behaviour, sending forms to users for feedback, user sign-off process, first build of the ACEX form, defining basic permissions for trainers and trainees to allow them to complete and sign off an ACEX form.

FAQs

What should I tell my trainees when they turn up for induction in August?
There will be a new Lifelong Learning platform that will contain e-Portfolio and logbook functionality and will replace the current e-Portfolio.  This will go live in 2018 with roll out dates being planned at the moment. Data migration will be an important part of this.  Please continue to use current e-Portfolio.

When will the new system be released?
The College will make a decision after consultation with stakeholders but we will endeavour to give at least 6 months' notice so that users are aware and Deaneries/LETBs can make arrangements.

What if my region does things differently from current College policy – will I be supported?
There are some regions which may have developed local arrangements to suit their particular needs.  We would like to know what these are so they may be addressed during the design of the new system (email tsp@rcoa.ac.uk).

What will happen with the assessments and evidence in my current e-Portfolio?
We are currently drawing up options for how the new system will be rolled out and this will have a significant impact on who goes live and on what date. These options will also control what and when data is migrated. We will shortly be consulting on these options. Whatever the option, all users will have the opportunity to download their information.

Will I be able to see my trainees’ portfolios easily around ARCP time?
We will avoid releasing the new system at during peak ARCP periods. We will also ensure that once the site goes live, training will be provided and users are supported locally and by the College, especially in the run up to ARCPs.

Would using the new logbook features be mandated or would trainees still be able to log elsewhere and upload their reports into the Lifelong learning platform separately?
The benefit of using the logbook within the Lifelong Learning platform is that this will work seamlessly with the ‘e-Portfolio’ features. This means that the CUT form and Educational Supervisor’s Structured Report will automatically pull in information and allow the trainer to query the logbook further when signing off these forms. Therefore we would recommend that trainees use the logbook features of the new system.

Will ACCS be supported on the new system?
Yes. ACCS (anaesthetic) trainees will have access to the ACCS curriculum and assessments. They will also be able to send assessments to doctors who are not on the system.

Will there be a mobile app for the new system?
This is not planned as part of the initial release but we are investigating these options. However, the system will be mobile compatible. This means that it will resize itself depending on how you are accessing the site (e.g. computer, mobile and tablet).

Will there be a Consultant feedback form on the site?
This will not form part of the initial design. As this form has never been electronic, we will need to review how this will work on the new system, as well as the contents of the form. We want to ensure that when the Consultant Feedback form is on the site, it works as expected (with feedback from users). This will be on our roadmap for future developments.

Will I need to pay to use the new Lifelong Learning Platform?
No. Access to the new system will be part of your membership subscription.

I am not a trainee. Will I be able to use the new system to record entries and assessments?
Yes. The new system will be available to all who are members of the College and wishing to log progression against the anaesthetic curriculum. This includes MTI, SAS, and Clinical Fellows.

Will everything stay the same on the new system?
In order to improve processes on the current e-Portfolio, we are reviewing all aspects (e.g. ARCP records, MSFs and the ESSR) in order to make the new system easier to use. The new system will not look like the current e-Portfolio, although this is being developed with user experience in mind and we expect the new system will be easier to navigate. Anaesthetists are, and will be, involved in all stages of testing.

Why are competencies being included into the new system and am I now expected to link my assessments to all competencies?
The competencies are an important aspect of the curriculum and the inclusion of this is based on suggestions by users. With the testing that was done so far, the majority of feedback received has been positive. There is no requirement to get all competencies, within a unit, linked and we will make this clear on the new system when the user is completing an entry (although this may differ for ACCS).

As a user, will I be able to close my own MSF, or do I still need to rely on the College to do this?
The MSF is being re-designed in order to improve the workflow of the form. The user will have more control over their MSF than they did with the e-Portfolio.

 

Projects

Lifelong Learning Platform

The new Lifelong Learning Platform will combine the e-Portfolio system, with integrated Logbook features and some elements of the CPD system (others will probably be incorporated in another related system).

Work to create the Platform commenced in August 2016 with planning, creating a business case and developing clear requirements. This led to a competitive tendering process from December 2016 to March 2017 to procure a supplier to design the system. We had large number of interested suppliers and in January/February 2017, a panel of trainees, trainers and College staff shortlisted applications. The initial shortlisting was time consuming as we scored the submissions against specific criteria. This meant, however, that we had robust evidence against which the decisions were made.

Following shortlisting, the suppliers were invited to give a presentation about their solution and how they would work with the College in developing the platform. This allowed us to clarify some of the responses in their original submission and highlight further areas of concern.. This was followed by a further session with their developers to enable us to gain a feel of how they would work with the College and respond to requests for change.

As a result, the RCoA has appointed Nomensa to support the first part of an integrated Lifelong Learning Platform (which includes logbook features). Nomensa are a Bristol-based agency that combines expertise in psychology, user-centric design, accessibility and technology to create digital products.

Work on the platform started in April 2017 with a series of stages aimed to deliver a working product by late 2017. The stages are termed Sprints as they allow a group people involved in a project to a focus development of the project. These Sprints typically last from one week up to two weeks and allow stakeholders to be included regularly in development.

We are now starting to expand the involvement of key stakeholders in testing and prototyping. We would like to involve the training community in the work that is being undertaken, so please let us know if you are happy to participate or have questions in the meantime. We are initially forecasting that the earliest any new system will be available is early 2018 and we will consult you on possible roll-out options in due course.

 

Work stream background

The technology strategy programme is a wide reaching, college wide programme that began after a technology review in 2015 recommended a coordinated and system wide approach to upgrading and implementing new technology at the Royal College of Anaesthetists. The programme, which runs until 2019, is aligned with the College strategy. The Lifelong Learning work stream is a key part of this programme and serves as a way of gathering a number of related learning and training projects and giving these a shared vision.

The work stream is dedicated to reviewing, integrating, replacing or upgrading the range of systems used by members who learn, train and assess. As anaesthetists spend their whole professional lives updating and refining their knowledge and skills, the term Lifelong Learning has been deliberately chosen to include members of the college at every stage of their career – from beginning training in anaesthesia, through specialty training, sitting examinations and into continuing professional development. Professionals considered within the work stream consist of trainees, consultants, staff and associate specialist doctors, clinical fellows, doctors taking out of programme experience, doctors on medical training initiative placements and additionally, practitioners that are not doctors i.e. Physician Assistants (anaesthesia) and Acute Critical Care Practitioners that are increasingly important part of the healthcare landscape. The work stream aims to pull together tools that enable these people to be lifelong learners and co-ordinate and integrate them in a way that enhances the user experience and alongside other contemporary platforms.   Additionally it should support members that take more “portfolio” approach to their career, with an emphasis on allowing members to control how the portfolio works for them, rather than the train-tracks of a traditional pathway being imposed by the technology.

A key part of supporting our learners is enabling the training team at the college to take control of the tools and processes that are in place to provide the support and not be beholden to external software companies - this doesn’t preclude the use of them, but rather suggests a bias towards solutions that have a high level of internal configurability.

Another approach that the work stream will follow is that of involvement of key stakeholders to understand user experience whenever feasible, in the architecture, planning and design of the lifelong learning portfolio, along with regular communication of plans and progress.

Values

  • Enabling Lifelong Learning.
  • Integration of systems, connecting data and enabling the Training department.
  • Supporting the educational process.
  • Improving user experience.
  • Improving efficiency.
  • Reducing the administrative burden of anaesthetists and RCoA staff.
  • Improving college ability to support and run systems.

Benefits

The work stream aims to meet the programme benefits via:

  • better supported lifelong learners through an engaging and intuitive user experience across the new or updated integrated systems, and
  • a better informed and more self-sufficient training team through a cost effective stable set of IT services with reporting capabilities.

Planned outputs

  • New e-Portfolio system.
  • Updated CPD system.
  • New logbook system.
  • New exams management system.
  • A system for computer-based testing for examinations.
  • New pan system processes.
  • Improved staff skills and responsibilities.

Contacts

Work stream lead: Dr Jamie Strachan
Product owner: Mr Shamim Ullah
Project Manager: Mr Paul Mincher

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