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The Front Line: Charles D. Blanke, MD, SWOG Chair


Learning about SWOG's LMS

Jan 2, 2015 - Back on the Fourth of July, I introduced SWOG's Training Manager, Mark Schofield. Today I want to dive into the online Learning Management System (LMS) he's been developing. The LMS gives us a way to systematically develop high-quality, standardized training and to deliver it to specific SWOG members as needed, as well as allowing us to track the members' completion of that training. It can make a given course available to -- or required of -- a member based on the member's role in the Group. The newest example of this, now in final beta testing, is an online training course for SWOG site-level Principal Investigators and SWOG Committee Chairs, which will soon be accessible to all SWOG investigators (encouraging them to dream big).

SWOG has provided online training modules to our members for a number of years, and we have had a system in place to track which members complete those modules. All of those existing training modules have now been upgraded, standardized, and ported to the new LMS including, among others, the Clinical Trials Training Course, the Study Chairs training, and the online components of our Young Investigator Training Course.

The system makes it easy for a course developer to create quizzes to confirm a member's completion and understanding of curriculum, and it generates a range of reports to show each member his or her progress. The system will also send members automated email notifications when they need to complete or renew a training certification.

SWOG's new LMS is built on a widely used open-source software platform (with the somewhat fuzzy-sounding name of "Moodle"); it provides great flexibility at a lower cost. The software is integrated with the SWOG website and member roster, so your login to the website also authenticates you in the LMS.

We'll develop new training modules in the near future, covering both specialized topics (such as trial-specific training) and "SWOG 101" type courses to offer professional development opportunities to our members. Other plans include opening up the system for non-SWOG participation so we can make trial-specific training across the NCTN routine and efficient. And given our growing ties in Latin America, we're looking at potentially developing Spanish-language versions of many of our training modules.

You'll hear more about SWOG's new Learning Management System soon, via an invitation from Mark Schofield to try it out.

Happy New Year!


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