The Australian And New Zealand College Of Anaesthetists – Providing A Learner-Centric Educational Experience For Members

Published: Mon 13 May 2024 09:20 PM
Photo: Supplied
To empower thousands of potential learners with ready access to the education and training resources they need to thrive in their fields, ANZCA has used D2L Brightspace, the learning management system (LMS) provided by D2L, since March 2014.
D2L case study
ANZCA is the professional organisation for specialist anaesthetists and anaesthetists in training. One of Australasia’s largest specialist medical colleges, ANZCA is responsible for the training, examination and accreditation of anaesthetists and for the standards of clinical practice in Australia and New Zealand.
ANZCA is the body that supports 87% of anaesthetists in Australia and New Zealand. To empower thousands of potential learners with ready access to the education and training resources they need to thrive in their fields, ANZCA uses the Brightspace LMS powered by D2L.
RESULTSActive learners increased 10% from 2022 to 2023.ANZCA introduced several highly successful and popular fellowship courses.The focus is now more on a learner-centric, self-directed experience.ANZCA introduced a decentralised admin support structure, allowing course admins direct control over their own content.
The Challenge
Supporting Professional Development
Anaesthesiology is a complex and highly regulated field. In Australia and New Zealand, all medical professionals practising in this area must complete specialist training and development programs to learn and maintain the skills they need to deliver high-quality care.
ANZCA is the largest professional body for anaesthetists in the Asia-Pacific region. With a membership that includes more than 7,000 fully certified anaesthetists and 3,000 trainee doctors, the organisation provides a diverse range of education and training services.
ANZCA is also the chosen professional membership organisation for more than 6,000 specialist anaesthetists and 460 specialist pain medicine physicians who’ve each met its rigorous training and assessment requirements to become a fellow. The association’s fellows are among the most highly regarded specialist physicians in the world.
“ANZCA has now introduced a new structure for self-directed learning, which has enabled us to identify courses that are important to our members and focus on offering those regularly,” said Colin Lynas, learning technology specialist at ANZCA.
Utilising a self-directed learning experience has enabled our members to focus their educational experience on developing skills they require.
The Solution
ANZCA has truly benefitted from Brightspace’s decentralised administration support structure. This has allowed course admins direct control over their own content and has helped them overcome difficulties they had with content management. For example, ANZCA’s committees create a significant amount of content, which was previously hosted on the organisation’s website. With thousands of documents to manage, maintaining this content had become very cumbersome.
“D2L Brightspace now operates as an extremely efficient serving platform for all of our courses for anaesthetists,” said Mr. Lynas.
Shaping Engaging Learner Journeys
To drive its training programs, ANZCA has created a range of active, competency-based digital learning experiences tailored to the specific needs of its member community. For trainee doctors, the organisation offers a series of anaesthesia learning courses to help them prepare for their examinations. For fully certified anaesthetists, ANZCA offers professional development courses that address topics ranging from bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace to intercultural competency and practical ethics.
“Because D2L supports SCORM [Shareable Content Object Reference Model] standards, it’s easy for us to build media-rich course materials that include videos hosted on Vimeo, quizzes and more,” Mr. Lynas continued. “As a result, we can shape learning journeys that strike a balance between passive and active learning, which helps make the experience more accessible and compelling.”
Reaching A Wider Audience
ANZCA also now uses the D2L platform to offer a limited selection of courses to non-members for a fee via Course Merchant.
“Once someone qualifies as an anaesthetist, they can choose to specialise in pain medicine, and we have created courses to facilitate extended learning in this field,” Mr. Lynas explained. “By presenting scenarios that challenge participants to apply their knowledge and demonstrate their understanding, the D2L platform helps non-members build the skills they need to get their certification. Crucially, the tight integration between Course Merchant and Brightspace means we can enrol people automatically, which enables us to bring our materials to a large audience without driving up our operational costs.”
"Our goal is to deliver the best learning outcomes for all our participants. Thanks to the D2L platform, we’re able to offer engaging, collaborative experiences that empower healthcare professionals throughout the region to enhance their skills."
The Results
Attracting New Learners
Since it launched its new LMS in 2014, ANZCA has seen year-on-year growth in course uptake. Between 2022 and the end of 2023, there has been a 10% increase in active users.
“On average, around 1,800 users log into our LMS every month, and we’re still seeing a steady upward trend,” said Mr Lynas. “The fact that more and more people are enrolling for ANZCA’s courses is giving us great confidence that we’re delivering valuable and engaging learning experiences to anaesthetists across Australia and New Zealand.”
“The majority (77%) of our members now access D2L via a desktop, with almost 20% accessing the courses via their mobile and only 3% via their tablets, which used to be the primary [device] when Brightspace was first introduced. Our learners are roughly a 50/50 split between the PC and Mac platforms, and the fact that Brightspace is device agnostic means our learners can access courses from anywhere at any time on any device.”Personalising The User Experience
By embracing the Brightspace platform’s self-directed learning capabilities, ANZCA has found new ways to personalise the learning experience it offers to its learners. It has also been able to offer more of the fellowship courses that are in high demand from its members.
For ANZCA’s Rural Generalist Anaesthetist Exam (RGA), Brightspace is used to deliver the practice test and, as of 2023, the actual RGA multiple choice question (MCQ) examination. This allows trainees to practice for the exam and is also used as a learning tool wherein they receive feedback on each question supporting their learning of the course material.
“Brightspace has allowed question pools to be configured and randomised to minimise the risk of repeated questions. The members have met this migration to online delivery of the examination with overwhelming positivity,” said Mr. Lynas.
For the Initial Assessment of Anaesthetic Competence Exam (IAAC) ANZCA is moving towards a more formal and learning-driven assessment process, and the association has also started to use Brightspace for this purpose. As with the RGA exam, trainees can use the D2L platform to practice their knowledge and receive feedback on the questions, enabling self-paced learning.
A post-fellowship course that ANZCA offers leads to the recognition of graduate of the Chapter of Perioperative Medicine (POM). This course aims to develop a shared mental model that aligns with perioperative medicine practice standards and perioperative care principles outlined in the ANZCA perioperative care frameworks.
“The knowledge gained through the course aims to develop the perioperative medicine practitioners of the future who will provide leadership in developing perioperative services and will be advocates of changes that will improve health service experience and patient outcomes,” said Mr. Lynas.Saving Time And Adding Value
Some of ANZCA’s newer courses were developed through a collaboration of six medical colleges across the region, and they target medical fellows who work within or have regular contact with perioperative services and have an interest in service improvement. Changes can be made to any of the course content on an ongoing basis and new modules can be added very easily.
“Through the D2L Brightspace platform, we have been able to introduce a decentralised admin support structure. This has allowed our course admins to have direct control over their own course content without needing programming experience to make changes to it or to add new material.”
Mr. Lynas concluded: “Our goal is to deliver the best education experience for all our learners. Thanks to the D2L platform, we’re able to offer an engaging, self-directed education program that empowers healthcare professionals throughout the region to enhance their skills.”

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