Context and motivation

When it comes to organising training courses, there are significant challenges related to logistical and administrative tasks, such as identifying trainers, managing registrations, collecting feedback, and standardising training materials. Existing learning management system solutions typically prioritise e-learning content, providing a sub-optimal experience for other formats. Similarly, commercial and/or closed-source solutions, may not cater, scale, or accommodate the diverse needs of different training communities. Finally, solutions developed within institutions, often by stacking multiple free or licensed tools, generally lack automation, requiring considerable manual intervention to use and maintain, while simultaneously providing a limited and organiser-specific solution.

Our solution

We aim to design and develop the ideal training platform, using the BioHackathon as an opportunity to “think outside the box” of technical needs of each single training institution/entity. Our vision is for this training management platform to provide comprehensive assistance in planning, delivering, assessing and recognising training activities. Therefore, this project comprises two sub-projects: the concept and the development. The work carried out for these will take place simultaneously, with regular feedback and exchange.

At a first stage, we will fill a “training platform wish-list”, which will be the foundation to further refine and develop the concept into an actual platform. The (evolving) features roadmap will include:

  • This platform will be open-source by design, with the aim to be adopted by a community of users and developers improving its sustainability
  • Trainer’s needs: comprehensive profiles recognising their achievements, networking with potential co-trainers, gathering of trainee’s feedback
  • Trainee’s needs: personalised training paths, training feedback system, networking with other trainees
  • Event management: event/training announcement, customised registration forms, participant registration with automatic waiting-list and interest handling
  • Training materials: standardised system for collecting, storing and annotating (FAIRifing) training materials

This training platform is in line with projects that are currently being developed in the de.NBI and ELIXIR networks and that we will connect to, in particular (1) cataloguing training materials and events (i.e. Tess), (2) personalised training paths, (3) metadata annotation of training materials, (4) initiatives to acknowledge and certify trainers. By developing an open-source and community-designed solution, we aim to create a sustainable project that benefits the wider training community.

Your profile

If you are reading this, you most likely have the skills to join this project, in either or both of the aspects we will work on. We would highly value your contribution, particularly if you have one or multiple of the following:

  • You have experience as trainer or trainee in a scientific environment
  • You have a user-centric perspective, to ensure the platform meets the needs of both trainers and trainees
  • You have expertise as developer, with experience in either: Python (Django), CI/CD development (testing and deployment), container technologies, API/backend design, database design, sysadmin tasks, web design, rich web interfaces or data privacy (GDPR).

Projects lead: Renato Alves (EMBL/ELIXIR-DE), Lisanna Paladin (EMBL/ELIXIR-DE), Isabela Paredes Cisneros (EMBL), Silvia Di Giorgio (ZB MED)