Using Survey Data to Dynamically Generate Certificates of Participation for Continuing Education Credits
Beckman Coulter Inc. develops, manufactures and markets products that simplify, automate and innovate complex biomedical testing. The company’s diagnostic systems are found in hospitals and other critical care settings around the world and produce information used by physicians to diagnose disease, make treatment decisions and monitor patients. Scientists use Beckman Coulter’s life science research instruments to study complex biological problems including causes of disease and potential new therapies or drugs. The company has an installed base of more than 200,000 clinical and research systems operating in laboratories around the world.
Through Webinars and other training events, medical technicians who use Beckman Coulter’s in vitro diagnostics systems stay up to date with hematology, chemistry, hemostasis and other subjects pertinent to screening blood samples. In order to maintain accreditation, the technicians need to provide proof of their successful participation in continuing education programs. Beckman Coulter sought a way to harvest data from post-training evaluation surveys and provide certificates of participation that candidates could send to their respective credentialing organizations.
“In order to arrange for people to get their continuing education credits, we used to have to print out P.A.C.E. (Professional Acknowledgment for Continuing Education) certificates and mail them back to each person,” recalls Beckman Coulter Technical Training Supervisor Frank Loforte. “We wanted to eliminate that extra step.”
A custom solution built upon Questionmark’s Open Assessment Platform allows Beckman Coulter to cut the costs of printing and mailing the certificates.
This solution leverages standard Questionmark functionality: post-seminar assessments capture key information about participants to special fields, making the captured data easier to share dynamically via server variables. Once submitted, the assessment is scored using a binary number scheme that points participants to one of eight distinct assessment outcomes. Each of these outcomes corresponds to a specific combination of certificates that participants may require. Within each outcome, participants can print and save certificates by clicking on a dynamically generated URL that passes the data required for their certificates to a custom solution based on standard ASP.NET web technology and freely available open source code for generating PDF files.
By eliminating the step of manually printing and mailing certificates to each Webinar attendee, Beckman Coulter was able to deliver over 4,000 certificates in three months without any personnel cost. Loforte says, “This alone over the period of one year will pay for the investment we made in switching to Questionmark for our survey delivery system.”
Questionmark’s Open Assessment Platform is also used after instructor led training to capture Level 1 results for the courses and instructors. This anonymity encourages participants to voice their opinions more freely than they did before. “Our previous system wasn’t anonymous,” recalls Loforte. “People had to log on and register, so they were worried about how instructors would respond. Now they know that their input is totally anonymous, so we are getting better feedback. We’ve also set this up using groups so all can monitor results for an entire course, but only the individual instructor and their supervisors get to see their personal results.”
With the success of using Questionmark to conduct surveys, Loforte has started running pilot Level 2 assessments and has migrated his own paper-based tests over to Questionmark. His knowledge, application and analysis tests (based on Bloom’s Taxonomy) have enabled Loforte to pinpoint areas in which his students need further development.
Loforte says “I am encouraged by the flexibility of the Questionmark assessment system and am looking forward to developing more Level 2 assessments, implementing Level 3 assessments, and developing applications that use the QMWISe API.”