The Postgraduate Virtual Learning Environment (PGVLE)
The country is on lockdown – Postgraduate doctors in training and faculty teams need a way to deliver teaching in a virtual environment
A fully integrated Learning Management System with Web Classroom using open-source software and unlimited scalability
Postgraduate learning in the digital age in response to COVID
The Covid-19 pandemic decimated postgraduate clinical training. Not only were the clinical commitments suddenly higher but the opportunities to learn and develop had majorly diminished.
The lockdowns prevented face to face teaching activites from taking place and the best efforts to connect via video-conferencing were limited due to organisational challenges.
The PGVLE initially started life as a platform for Core Surgical Trainees in the West Midlands to connect monthly and progress their learning. The results were overwhelmingly positive and the expansion began.
The platform grew from 110 core surgical trainees to 500 surgical trainees in all specialties. The onboarding of physicians and psychiatrists meant an expansion of first 3000 in June 2020, to 5000 by December 2020.
The sustained growth now has a current capacity of 20000 users with plans to expand to 30000 in the next few months,
The Big Blue Button
Another masterful piece of open source software, the Big Blue Button is a dedicated virtual web-conferencing classroom. it’s seamless integration with Moodle makes it an excellent partner platform.
The PGVLE is built on a Moodle LMS (Learning Management System). It is highly versatile, and being open source is incredibly economicalIt offers several features the key ones being Resource Delivery, Integrated Web Classroom (BigBlueButton) and Governance/Administration
The Moodle LMS allows resources delivery in a manner that would cater for anyone and everyone. Whether it be a collation of simple web links all the way through to online quizzes and engaging monitored activities using SCROM or H5P. The ability to embed resources into the platform allows the creation of controlled learning pathways that can be adjusted to whatever learner group is engaging.
The integration of the Big Blue Button allowed the delivery of resources and classrooms all in one space with a single sign on process. The BBB is a browser based so there were fewer system demands. The auto-archiving and permanent classrom model also allowed for a one time set up process which could be permanently without repeat adjustments.
Governance & Administration
The creation of the PGVLE for non-commerical, educational use, behing a secure perimeter allowed for delivery of resources in keeping with UK Fair Usage within Copyright Law. Information Governance was supported by NHSE, as were user policies.
The built in feedback and reporting strucutre allowed programme leads to access anonymised feedback and teaching attendance, with more autonomous courses allowing self-certification upon completion of activities
With expansion into national programmes and absoprtion of pre-exisiting platforms, the PGVLE is considered to be key to the future stable of online offerings by NHSE.
Current Capacity 20000
After leading the way with Virtual Core Surgical Training in the West Midlands with consistently high feedback and trainee/trainer engagement the model has been adapted for the national stage. It's a proud moment for the @PGVLE team to be supporting @CSTHubUK as...
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As we close on 2021, the PGVLE continues to grow and now has nearly 7500 users registered on the platform with ongoing uptake. The recognition that remote and virtual teaching and learning is core part of educational strategy means that this form of delivery is here...
So a proud collaboration with the Vascular Society to deliver the Aspire 7 (FRCS practice course for 40 trainees with 23 faculty over 2 days in March 2021) and Aspire 8 (Consultant preparation course for 16 trainees with multiple faculty from the worlds of management,...
Virtual learning continues to establish itself and the infrastructure that we've built in the West Midlands is garnering interest everywhere! It was incredible to receive a request for an article by Dr Ed Briggs (Editor, NACT Newsletter) sharing our regional...
One of my overriding aims was to grow the PGVLE organically. Not just build it and put it out there but to nurture and invite groups into the fold. We started with surgery - Vascular and Ortho leading the way, but now all rotations in the West Midlands on board (with...