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1.  Best practices in bioinformatics training for life scientists 
Briefings in Bioinformatics  2013;14(5):528-537.
The mountains of data thrusting from the new landscape of modern high-throughput biology are irrevocably changing biomedical research and creating a near-insatiable demand for training in data management and manipulation and data mining and analysis. Among life scientists, from clinicians to environmental researchers, a common theme is the need not just to use, and gain familiarity with, bioinformatics tools and resources but also to understand their underlying fundamental theoretical and practical concepts. Providing bioinformatics training to empower life scientists to handle and analyse their data efficiently, and progress their research, is a challenge across the globe. Delivering good training goes beyond traditional lectures and resource-centric demos, using interactivity, problem-solving exercises and cooperative learning to substantially enhance training quality and learning outcomes. In this context, this article discusses various pragmatic criteria for identifying training needs and learning objectives, for selecting suitable trainees and trainers, for developing and maintaining training skills and evaluating training quality. Adherence to these criteria may help not only to guide course organizers and trainers on the path towards bioinformatics training excellence but, importantly, also to improve the training experience for life scientists.
doi:10.1093/bib/bbt043
PMCID: PMC3771230  PMID: 23803301
bioinformatics; training; bioinformatics courses; training life scientists; train the trainers
2.  Navigating the changing learning landscape: perspective from bioinformatics.ca 
Briefings in Bioinformatics  2013;14(5):556-562.
With the advent of YouTube channels in bioinformatics, open platforms for problem solving in bioinformatics, active web forums in computing analyses and online resources for learning to code or use a bioinformatics tool, the more traditional continuing education bioinformatics training programs have had to adapt. Bioinformatics training programs that solely rely on traditional didactic methods are being superseded by these newer resources. Yet such face-to-face instruction is still invaluable in the learning continuum. Bioinformatics.ca, which hosts the Canadian Bioinformatics Workshops, has blended more traditional learning styles with current online and social learning styles. Here we share our growing experiences over the past 12 years and look toward what the future holds for bioinformatics training programs.
doi:10.1093/bib/bbt016
PMCID: PMC3771234  PMID: 23515468
continuing education; bioinformatics; online learning; massive open online courses (MOOCs)
3.  Bioinformatics Training Network (BTN): a community resource for bioinformatics trainers 
Briefings in Bioinformatics  2011;13(3):383-389.
Funding bodies are increasingly recognizing the need to provide graduates and researchers with access to short intensive courses in a variety of disciplines, in order both to improve the general skills base and to provide solid foundations on which researchers may build their careers. In response to the development of ‘high-throughput biology’, the need for training in the field of bioinformatics, in particular, is seeing a resurgence: it has been defined as a key priority by many Institutions and research programmes and is now an important component of many grant proposals. Nevertheless, when it comes to planning and preparing to meet such training needs, tension arises between the reward structures that predominate in the scientific community which compel individuals to publish or perish, and the time that must be devoted to the design, delivery and maintenance of high-quality training materials. Conversely, there is much relevant teaching material and training expertise available worldwide that, were it properly organized, could be exploited by anyone who needs to provide training or needs to set up a new course. To do this, however, the materials would have to be centralized in a database and clearly tagged in relation to target audiences, learning objectives, etc. Ideally, they would also be peer reviewed, and easily and efficiently accessible for downloading. Here, we present the Bioinformatics Training Network (BTN), a new enterprise that has been initiated to address these needs and review it, respectively, to similar initiatives and collections.
doi:10.1093/bib/bbr064
PMCID: PMC3357490  PMID: 22110242
Bioinformatics; training; end users; bioinformatics courses; learning bioinformatics

Results 1-3 (3)