A new pan-European Train-the-Trainer programme for bioinformatics: Pilot results on feasibility, utility and sustainability of learning

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Abstract

Demand for training life scientists in bioinformatics methods, tools and resources and computational approaches is urgent and growing. To meet this demand, new trainers must be prepared with effective teaching practices for delivering short hands-on training sessions-a specific type of education that is not typically part of professional preparation of life scientists in many countries. A new Train-the-Trainer (TtT) programme was created by adapting existing models, using input from experienced trainers and experts in bioinformatics, and from educational and cognitive sciences. This programme was piloted across Europe from May 2016 to January 2017. Preparation included drafting the training materials, organizing sessions to pilot them and studying this paradigm for its potential to support the development and delivery of future bioinformatics training by participants. Seven pilot TtT sessions were carried out, and this manuscript describes the results of the pilot year. Lessons learned include (i) support is required for logistics, so that new instructors can focus on their teaching; (ii) institutions must provide incentives to include training opportunities for those who want/need to become new or better instructors; (iii) formal evaluation of the TtT materials is now a priority; (iv) a strategy is needed to recruit, train and certify new instructor trainers (faculty); and (v) future evaluations must assess utility. Additionally, defining a flexible but rigorous and reliable process of TtT 'certification' may incentivize participants and will be considered in future.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalBriefings in Bioinformatics
Early online date26 Sep 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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