The Office of Animal Care and Use provides oversight and programmatic assistance for all Institutes and Centers at NIH who use animals in their intramural research programs. One of their key functions is to provide training classes to fulfill Federal requirements for working with animals and to monitor successful completion of training classes and refresher courses.
OACU had a database they were using to track employee training classes that was no longer supported by technical staff. The system was difficult to use and outdated.
The system was designed to accommodate traditional classroom training sessions. However, OACU was working to create on-line Computer-Based Training (CBT) modules that could be taken at any time. The new system would need to integrate registration and completion of on-line CBTs, on-line registration for classroom training, and successful completion of training classes and workshops.
After meeting with the client to understand what information they needed to track, we built a new database to track the status of training classes for all NIH employees and migrated the data from the old system. In doing so, we had to create a new employee training ID using a combination of the employee’s SSN and their last name. Because the old database allowed records to be added without any validation, many of the existing records did not have an associated SSN. We created a temporary ID that could be updated as employees already in the system registered for additional classes and updated their information to include their SSN as well as other contact information.
We then created a web interface to allow users to register for upcoming classes on line, requiring that this additional information be submitted so that incomplete records could be updated.
A separate database was created for each CBT brought on line. In this way, an employee could start a CBT but leave before completing every module. They could then return later to complete the training class.
When a CBT was successfully completed, this information was passed back to the main database, updating the status of that class for the employee. OACU staff can generate the reports they need to track training needs as they are required.
The new training tracking system has freed OACU staff from the tedious tasks associated with the logistics of registering and tracking training requests and completions.
Each year new features and access is added to the system – allowing IC administration to view the status of their employees, and then allowing the employees to view their training history and update their contact information. Automated emails have been added into the workflow, eliminating the need for much of the manual intervention that used to be required.