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Case Study on Train the Trainer Courses

Professor D. Aanensen talks about the importance and impact of train the trainer courses.
Good morning, I’m Rachel Berkson and I’m from Wellcome Connecting Science. And I’m really, really pleased to have here today Professor David Aanensen from the Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance at the University of Oxford. Today we’re going to have a conversation about some of the train the trainer and capacity building initiatives that he and his team have been working on. So welcome David, over to you. Good morning. Thanks ever so much yes, my name is David I am based at Oxford University and I head up an initiative called the Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance where we focus on capacity building and interpretation of data for the use of genomics for understanding the emergence and spread of pathogenic species. Brilliant, thank you.
And we had the real privilege to work with your team a year or so ago on a face to face train the trainer. So it’s really great to have you back to talk now for this online course. So if you could start off, could you tell us about the train the trainer approach and why it’s so important for building capacity in genomics? Yeah, absolutely. So we were lucky enough to be awarded a grant from the UK, NIHR to focus on genomic surveillance of antimicrobial resistance. So this is a very pressing issue globally.
And one of the key things is how do we translate and transfer ownership of genomic technologies to allow local institutes, hospitals, health care settings to really use that technology to help better understand how pathogens spread. Now, there’s a lot involved in that. There’s clearly technology transfer and transfer of interpretation of data when bugs go onto the sequencers lots of information comes off. And then there’s lots of ways of understanding that information that all needs to be undertaken locally rather than in the UK.
So one of the key things with the wonderful courses that advanced courses have run previously, is they tend to either bring people to the UK or they run in one location and they are about basic level training on methodologies and techniques. Now, for this technology to really spread within the public health sphere, you need individuals who can then go on and train other individuals. And there needs to be such a big scale up that actually the traditional ways of running these courses really, we wanted to rethink how to do them.
So that we would essentially bring people who had expertise in the area, but who could actually be trained up on how to train, how to transfer essentially what we do in our local courses onwards and upwards. So we wanted to think about how we could bring people and up skill them with the training methodologies to then go on and forward train with the techniques around the use of genomics for Pathogen Surveillance Brilliant, thank you so could you give us a few more examples of some of the specific train the trainer initiatives you’ve been involved with your team? Yes so I guess the course I mentioned train the trainer on genomic surveillance of antimicrobial resistance.
Now we were lucky enough to semi partner with members of the World Health Organisation, there’s such a necessity for training on these subject areas. Every country in the world to some extent needs additional and that’s something that you cannot run the same course in lots of different places. Just purely for human resources, we divided the curriculum up into laboratory training and also bioinformatics or actually data training, which is a huge bottleneck. And then we had a stream throughout the course, which is focus on how to teach so pedagogical methodologies. So the morning of the course, was turned into how do we train forward train?
How do you build and understand how to develop courses, and then the afternoons were spent learning specific topic areas or actually framing topic areas into ways to forward train and then the course participants build their own courses during the week. And what we found very satisfying was that you could actually see they were all knowledgeable in the area that they would come to talk. So this is key right, it’s not about initial learning on the broad topic of genomic surveillance it’s about OK you have knowledge. How do we transfer the techniques for then forward training that information?
So throughout the course the participants developed ways of training things that they already knew so that when they went back to their home countries they would be able to then further train. What was very satisfying is we could follow up and we understood actually how many of the participants had gone on and retrained, they trained other people on the courses. So we wanted very much to understand whether what the impact of the course was? Was it being used to then go on and forward train? So there’s a real need in this area to develop new workforce forces around the use of this data and the laboratory methods.
And our plans going forward are for these courses to be run in different countries. So actually bring the train the trainer approach to in our case Columbia, India, Nigeria and the Philippines. So that you could have local trainers that could then forward information. It’s great, thank you very much I mean you’ve also covered a lot of what I was going to ask about in the next question but if you could perhaps say a little bit more about some of the impacts you’ve seen from these programmes because it’s very, very global. And what’s changing around the world as a result? We feel very strongly that it’s the right approach to scaling the training and capacity building that’s necessary.
So some of the impact already from the courses that we’ve done previously are that we know that additional courses have been run, so the expertise around local genomic capacity and training has been run in multiple countries following the initial course. That’s brilliant, brilliant. Oh thank you so much. And of course, it’s impossible to have any conversation nowadays without mentioning the pandemic. So how has that massive change to the situation around the world affected training and capacity building specifically? Well immensely, I mean clearly face to face trading becomes more difficult unless you have a cohort of individuals who have been trained in this fashion.
But face to face, if we rule out the potential for face to face then we’ve had to really develop better online facilities. So we’ve been lucky or by design within the projects that we were involved in with multiple countries, that we’ve actually had to adapt to a 24 hour time zone by having online training sessions from the beginning. And we’ve just increased and heightened that and actually there’s a lot you can achieve by good face to face group meetings, training the trainer through being able to bring groups of trainers together. So I think we’ve just much like we all have on a day to day basis adapted our process towards much more online methods. Yeah, that’s great.
And you know, just to round up, can you manage the impossible one sentence about how do you see the next 5, 10 years in capacity-building in genomic surveillance? A lot of work. No, no. I mean, I think it’s interesting because antimicrobial resistance is something that we’ve been working in for many years. And the same approaches and methodologies are required for monitoring the spread of COVID, et cetera. So actually, I think that the scaling up of what we want to do and the decreased amount of time it’s going to take to actually have the rollout of these kind of methodologies is actually spurred and sped up by the pandemic. It’s not a silver lining.
You know, we need to make sure that the trainings and the methods and the tools and the movement of data so that we can better understand the spread of these pathogens leaves a permanent legacy that we can apply to antimicrobial resistance, et cetera, et cet– other emerging pathogens. So I think the value is to make sure that the momentum that’s being built around focusing on COVID and SARS-CoV-2 is actually pivoted to pathogens, both endemic and epidemic that we know are problematic and will increase to be problematic. OK, brilliant. And thank you so much for joining us today, David. That’s been really, really fascinating to hear about. Really appreciate that. My pleasure. Thank you very much for your time.

Interview with Prof. David Aanensen (Big Data Institute Oxford)

In light of the growing need for genomics skills and combined goal of building capacity in genomics and bioinformatics, the Wellcome Connecting Science (WCS) and the Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance (CGPS) partnered on developing a course for skilled researchers and public health scientists focused on genomic surveillance of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

In this interview, Prof Aanensen gives the big picture and importance of training expert scientists to train others using train the trainer approaches. Prof David Aanensen is the director of CGPS, based at the University of Oxford. His group works to address the urgent global health problem of antimicrobial resistance, through genomic surveillance of pathogens on a worldwide scale. Training and capacity building form an important part of CGPS’ work, empowering researchers and healthcare workers from around the world with the skills in genomics and bioinformatics to tackle antimicrobial resistance. Similarly, Wellcome Connecting Science have identified a growing need for increasing local training capacity for genomics and bioinformatics through development of Train the trainer courses and provision of tailored resources useful for training others.

Having explored the gaps and key areas of development in AMR surveillance and partnered with WCS, the goal was to build capacity for genomic surveillance through equipping expert scientists with skills to train others. Experienced researchers and public health scientists were already based at institutions equipped with facilities for genome sequencing and bioinformatics. Their motivation was to develop skills in how to train others in their own institutions and countries thereby building capacity locally. Defining the target audience and understanding their training needs paved way for planning the course, formulate teaching objectives and learning outcomes.

Based on the interview above, discuss the following:

Task 1

Why is it important for newly trained trainers to use sound, evidence-based educational approaches when they train others? Please use the comment area to share your thoughts about the interview.

Task 2

Read the first 2 paragraphs of Train the trainer Course Summary.pdf and try to summarise in your own understanding: what are the need, goal and objectives for the course.

Task 3

For your own course design, try to write your main goal, objectives and justification for your training. Share and discuss it with your peers.

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