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The transition to eLearning takes more than just logging on to a computer.

Development of an effective online learning program requires many steps. The Specialized Information Services (SIS) Division of the National Library of Medicine sought support from ORAU to make the seamless transition from traditional, in-person instruction to Web-based, self-paced training.

As a first step, ORAU directed eight bimonthly staff trainings on best practices in eLearning and instructional design. This vital coursework was successfully completed on the topics of training material development, test item construction, and organization of large-scale, multicourse trainings.

ORAU technical training specialists introduced SIS staff members to TopClass, the new learning management system software, and they practiced setting up courses online where students had easy access. This access allows SIS to expand its reach in an efficient, cost-effective manner. Participation is no longer limited by classroom space. Instead, training is available to people from across the country without the expense of travel. With the expansion of target audiences, ORAU has helped NLM offer various types of continuing education credits to online trainees.

With guidance from the ORAU specialists, SIS staff members are putting instructional design principles into practice. Together, they are converting existing materials into an eLearning format organized around course goals and objectives. They are rethinking and shifting the teaching approach to student-focused learning. The six SIS training programs included in this reframing for online use are NLM Environmental Health and Toxicology Program, Disaster Information Management Research Center, HIV/AIDS, Office of Clinical Toxicology, General Medical Health Information and Outreach.

ORAU continues to provide technical and professional support in the conversion and administration of the learning management system.

Contact us

For information about ORAU’s health communication, preparedness and response needs, contact Marcus Weseman, M.P.A., vice president and senior associate director, Health Communication programs, at 865.576.3420 or