Two UK-based projects – both involving eXact Learning Solutions, a provider of learning content management systems (LCMS) and digital repository (DR) solutions – have been shortlisted for this year’s IMS Global  ‘Learning Impact Awards’, which are being announced in Long Beach, California, this month. The IMS Learning Impact Awards are designed to recognise ‘the most impactful use of technology worldwide in support of learning’.


This year’s shortlisted projects involve the Birmingham Learning Platform (BLP) and the Radiology – Integrated Training Initiative (R-ITI), a partnership between the UK’s Royal College of Radiologists and the Department of Health, which paved the way for the e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH) programme.


The BLP, which involves over 190 Birmingham schools – Infants, Primary, Junior, Secondary, Special and Extended Schools – and is used by teachers, pupils, parents, governors and administrators – facilitates the sharing of information and is creating a Birmingham-wide social learning community. The platform, which uses eXact learning solutions’ HarvestRoad Hive and Hive Explorer (DR), aims to foster collaborative approaches to sharing content, best practice, training and functional improvements.


The BLP includes such activities as:

  • A virtual transition programme which, for the last nine years, has helped Year 6 (ten year old) pupils, who are transferring from primary to secondary education, to make friends with others going to their new school in September, and find out more about the school from trained peer mentors (Year 7, 8 or 9 pupils).
  • ‘Brum Talks’: a city-wide Moodle/Hive site which supports the teaching and revision of mathematics.
  • The Birmingham Children’s University, a Moodle/Hive initiative providing SCORM-compliant e-learning packages for non-curriculum learning to over 60 subscribing schools.


The second shortlisted programme – R-ITI – is a blended solution, combining traditional teaching models with state-of-the-art e-learning techniques and technology, delivering the entire three-year radiology core curriculum. The R-ITI grew out of the need, identified in 2003, to increase the number of trained radiologists in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and is now available over the web to all 4,000 UK radiologists.


On the back of the R-ITI project, e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH) was formed in 2007. From Audiology to Anaesthesia, Dentistry to Dermatology, Pathology to Pharmacology, e-LfH  – which uses eXact learning solutions’ Learn eXact LCMS to create content – delivers over 30 e-learning projects, with over 10,000 learning objects being available ‘24/7’, in partnership with the UK’s Royal Colleges of Medicine and other professional healthcare organisations.


Currently 750,000 users can access e-LfH content – typically at the rate of over 1,000 hours a day. To date, the user community has performed 425,850 hours of learning in total – the equivalent of over 48 years of online activity – and it has launched 1,123,986 learning objects.


Comment: The R-ITI project is well known but the BLP has been kept well under wraps until now. The project – particularly its virtual transition programme – seems to have a great deal to recommend it. Maybe other cities – in the UK and elsewhere – would like to learn from, and adopt their own BLP.