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Brief Bioinform. 2010 Nov;11(6):552-62. doi: 10.1093/bib/bbq023. Epub 2010 Jul 2.

Bioinformatics training: selecting an appropriate learning content management system--an example from the European Bioinformatics Institute.

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EMBL Outstation, European Bioinformatics Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, CB10 1SD, UK.


Today's molecular life scientists are well educated in the emerging experimental tools of their trade, but when it comes to training on the myriad of resources and tools for dealing with biological data, a less ideal situation emerges. Often bioinformatics users receive no formal training on how to make the most of the bioinformatics resources and tools available in the public domain. The European Bioinformatics Institute, which is part of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL-EBI), holds the world's most comprehensive collection of molecular data, and training the research community to exploit this information is embedded in the EBI's mission. We have evaluated eLearning, in parallel with face-to-face courses, as a means of training users of our data resources and tools. We anticipate that eLearning will become an increasingly important vehicle for delivering training to our growing user base, so we have undertaken an extensive review of Learning Content Management Systems (LCMSs). Here, we describe the process that we used, which considered the requirements of trainees, trainers and systems administrators, as well as taking into account our organizational values and needs. This review describes the literature survey, user discussions and scripted platform testing that we performed to narrow down our choice of platform from 36 to a single platform. We hope that it will serve as guidance for others who are seeking to incorporate eLearning into their bioinformatics training programmes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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