Educating Translational Researchers in Research Informatics Principles and Methods: An Evaluation of a Model Online Course and Plans for

its Dissemination
Robert H. Friedman, MD Director, Biomedical Informatics Division Boston University Clinical & Translational Research Institute Professor of Medicine, Biostatistics & Epidemiology Boston University _____________________________________ Presented at the 2013 Summit on Translational Bioinformatics March 19, San Francisco, CA

Supported by a grant from NCATS: 3 UL1 RR025771

Educating Translational Researchers in Research Informatics Principles and Methods

R. Friedman1,2, V. Kudesia1, P. Sebastiani2, S. Monti1, D. Misquitta1, K. Peterson3, J.Whinfield3, R.Stoeckle 3
1. 2. 3.

Boston University School of Medicine; Boston, MA Boston University School of Public Health; Boston, MA Education Development Center, Inc.; Waltham, MA


Translational Research (T1-T4) generates and uses very large amounts of diverse data Research informatics’ principles and methods address data sets that are large and complex Relatively few translational researchers understand research informatics principles and methods or optimally use them in their research

*One Observer’s View


As a rule, the most experienced translational researchers know less about research informatics than their junior colleagues, especially junior colleagues who completed their research training within the past few years
As a rule, there is under-recognition among translational researchers of the value of research informatics applied to their research AND over-confidence about how much they know about the discipline

*One Observer’s View


Most informatics education programs do not focus on the application of informatics to research
Most informatics education programs are focused on training the next generation of informaticians, not training translational researchers about how to use informatics in their research

Most research informatics education takes place in doctoral and post-doctoral research oriented programs in various biomedical disciplines

*One Observer’s View


Bottom up development of design specifications for curricula and course(s) in research informatics based on needs assessments of translational researchers and informaticians who provide consultation, research resources and research informatics education to translational researchers in CTSAfunded institutions Needs assessments focused on translational researchers across the research spectrum from bioscientists to population health researchers (i.e., T1-T4) Used the results to identify the curricula and course(s), the time required of researchers to take the course(s), and the method of delivering the course(s)


Enable researchers to communicate with informatician consultants about the use of informatics principles and methods in their research Enable researchers to optionally utilize informatician consultants in their research from the design of their research projects to the analysis and interpretation of their research data


Enable translational researchers to understand informatics issues relevant to their research Enable translational researchers to apply informatics principles and methods to their research during their entire careers and effectively address the evolution of informatics and their research programs over time


A first, basic course in research informatics requires a translational researcher to spend about 10-16 contact hours to achieve its educational goals Translational researchers are willing to spend 6-26 contact hours in a research informatics course if they believe it will help them become more effective researchers


Translational researchers do not care about obtaining academic credit or certificates upon completing the course

Translational researchers need to understand the benefits to them of taking the course
Translational researchers like the flexibility and control that an online course has for them

Research Informatics Modules
1. Translational Biomedical Informatics for Biomedical Researchers 2. Databases and Data-Handling 3. Health Data Elements and Terminologies for Biomedical Researchers 4. Data Visualization Primer for Biomedical Researchers 5. Secondary Use of EHR Data: Assuring Data Quality and Fidelity 6. Basic Computer Hygiene for Biomedical Researchers 7. Legal, Regulatory and Ethical Issues in Using Human-Derived Data in Research 8. Analysis of Bioscientific Data: Introduction to Microarray Technology 9. Analysis of Bioscientific Data: Advanced Analysis of Microarray Experiments

Course Homepage

Module One: Overview & Goals

Module One: Course Preview Lesson 1: Description of the course content; the 9 Modules

Module One: Preview, cont.

Module One: Preview, cont.

Module Four: Overview

Module Four: Narrated Lesson

Narrated Lesson with Adjustable Audio/Pace

Module Eight: Overview

Module Eight: Content

Module Eight: Explore Activity


Evaluation Methods

Sample of 21 T1-T4 Faculty Translational Researchers at Boston University participated (6 T1, 9 T2-T3, 6 T4) Answered 16 multi-part Likert scale questions online at the completion of the course (n=17; 6 T1, 8 T2-T3, 3 T4)

Evaluation Results

 

Satisfied - 76% (only 6% “dissatisfied”) Informative- 100% (24% “very informative”) Will use information in research- 88% “likely” Contributed to understanding research informatics- 100% (29% “a lot”) Contributed to being better researcher- 88% (18% “a lot”) Would recommend course to researchers in your field- 70%

Evaluation Results
 

Course length: too short (41%); just right (41%); somewhat too long (18%) Course content: somewhat too basic (59%); just right (24%); somewhat too complex (18%) Preference for educational format: online (53%); combination of online & traditional (face-to-face) (41%); traditional only (6%) Bioscientists (T1) were more positive than nonbioscientists (T2-T4) regarding 1) impact of the course on their understanding of research informatics; 2) utility of the course in making them better researchers; 3) the view that the length of the course was ideal. All bioscientists recommend course to other T1 researchers.


Research informatics education for translational researchers is needed A basic online course in research informatics was judged very positively by a small representative sample of T1-T4 researchers Almost all of the researchers felt the course helped them be a better researcher, understand the use of informatics in translational research and would use information from the course in their research

 

Most of them would recommend the course to other researchers in their research field Almost all of them prefer online education to traditional face-to-face education but a majority would prefer either an online or face-to-face facilitator Bioscientists judged the course even more favorably than non-bioscientist researchers The results suggest that online education is perceived by researchers to be a particularly effective way to learn about research informatics principles and methods & to apply them to their research

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