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Animal Care and Use Module Training Preview

In our last post, we discussed the crucial step of the software development process known as user acceptance testing (UAT). Now that UAT for our first module — Animal Care and Use — has successfully completed, we are making the final preparations for the go-live date, in April.

ERA Training Manager Lynley Wentzel is finalizing the training materials, many of which will be made available on the newly created Training page linked on the ERA website, and is gearing up to lead campus users in the most important part of go-live preparation — ensuring they know how to use their new system!

“With any implementation, ensuring the user community has all the tools they need to navigate the new system is vital to the success of the overall project,” Wentzel says. “Training and associated materials provide each unique user a variety of learning methods to ensure their needs are met.”

What to Expect

As we’ve mentioned, training is going to be offered in several ways. The training plan for each module will be specifically tailored to meet the needs of its users. For the Animal Care and Use module, training will largely be offered “just in time” (i.e., as users need it). This means there will be an emphasis on content that can be offered on demand, such as eLearning courses and downloadable quick reference guides. Additionally, the in-person courses that are offered will be held after the go-live date.

screenshot of a sample quick reference guide
Screenshot of a sample version of a quick reference guide. Please note: Training materials are not yet finalized and therefore are subject to change.

The reasons for this are twofold: 1) the Animal Care and Use module user community is relatively small, which meant all of the heavy users (i.e., IACUC office staff) could be involved early and have been able to learn the system gradually 2) many users will not need to use the system immediately; PIs who need to submit new applications or amend existing protocols will do so at different points throughout the year, and therefore will require training on an as-needed basis.

As you might imagine, it would make little sense to train someone on a process they won’t perform until weeks or even months later. Learners’ retention rates are much higher when they are able to immediately apply the knowledge learned.

“Learners, especially adults, need to apply learning immediately. The brain is a marvelous thing that forgets unneeded things to make way for things currently needed for the job or day-to-day life,” Wentzel says. “When an adult learns something new, applying it immediately to their work reinforces the learned material. If not, we all will forget. It is just human nature.”

Of course, when it comes to the Sponsored Programs Module — which will have a lot more users, across a wider range, all at the same time — training will need to be offered earlier, with more opportunities. And it will be. Again, remember that each module’s training will be specifically tailored for that module.

What’s Next

Speaking of the Sponsored Programs Module, expect to hear more in the coming weeks about the plans for the rollout of its submodules — Proposal Tracking, Award Tracking, Proposal Development and Financial Tracking — and the progress made thus far.

Additionally, as we get closer to Animal Care and Use module’s go-live date, we plan to share important information such as who to contact for various system support needs.

So keep a close eye on your email inbox and this blog!