Building a microlearning curriculum at WorldFish

The Objective

WorldFish AquaticAnimal Health Team and its partners developed extensive training materials for end-users to learn more about fish sampling skills for disease diagnostics. Those materials can be adopted as part of research, routine disease screening or in response to abnormal fish mortality incidents during outbreak investigations. WorldFish needed a way to make this content digitally more easily accessible by end-users for use on aquaculture farms, hatcheries etc.

The Outcome

The team rapidly built a microlearning curriculum of seven interlinked courses, optimised for delivery to users' phones. Researchers, students, fish farmers, extension workers and service providers can now access this information on their phone anywhere in the world.

Background to the project

WorldFish has already built a substantial amount of public information on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. Fish diseases represent one of the major challenges and limitations to sustainable aquaculture, and the team wanted to disseminate training materials remotely via interactive learning experiences on mobile devices to build capacity in this critical area.

preparing a fish for disease sampling

Using the microlearning platform the WorldFish team devised a sequence of fish sampling trainings for disease diagnostics, designed to target fish farmers, extension workers and service providers, among others, ensuring that biological samples are collected properly — the cornerstone of good aquatic animal health work for efficient response to disease outbreaks and prevention of infectious diseases.

Globally we need to create practical and easy to use vocational training materials to build capacity of young researchers, small scale farmers and field officers working in health management of aquatic food systems.
Many of these people have access to smartphones and internet, so building engaging digital training materials on mobile is an effective method for us in addressing the challenge.
Jerome Delamare-Deboutteville, Scientist at WorldFish

It was essential to build simple training materials that could prepare anyone involved with biological sample collection in advance of face-to-face or virtual workshops, or even in replacement of these existing approaches. You can see a snapshot of some the materials WorldFish created below.

Example of WorldFish microlearning training experience for fishers

The Fish Sampling Curriculum

researchers conducting a sampling test

Quality biological sampling is a fundamental requirement for all kinds of disease diagnostic and pathogen screening work. WorldFish and partners developed a fish sampling curriculum to provide end users with the necessary guidance and knowledge to perform one of the six major fish sampling methods for disease diagnostics, including wet mount preparation, microbiome, blood, bacteriology, molecular biology/virology and histology. A list of the necessary sampling materials for fish disease diagnostics under those different methods was also developed.

Aquatic animal health workers, farmers and others can access the full microlearning curriculum via a simple URL which they can access on their phone's browser at any time and complete at their own pace.
Having these micro courses on mobile devices allows the information to be more readily accessible as reference while on the job or prior to online or face-to-face trainings. This makes it very easy for us to effectively share WorldFish digital material via the microlearning courses developed on
Laura Khor, Research Fellow at WorldFish

Curriculum structure

Our fish sampling curriculum has been organised into microlearning sampling courses as follows (click on links to access specific trainings):

  1. Introduction to fish sampling for disease diagnostics – we invite all new users to start with     this broad introduction to the curriculum
  2. Foundations in fish disease sampling - This course should be taken by new users before any specific disease sampling training modules (3 - 8) below. It covers key preparation and setup requirements for all methods
  3. Wet-mount sampling
  4. Bacteriology sampling
  5. Molecular and virology sampling
  6. Blood sampling
  7. Histology sampling
  8. Microbiome sampling

sequence of microlearning training courses in WorldFish curriculum

Next steps for WorldFish

Having successfully launched this curriculum of microlearning courses on fish sampling for disease diagnostics, the WorldFish team are actively building more courses in the aquaculture space. They are looking to target more users with digital outreach campaigns, much like ILRI did for dairy farmers in Kenya, IRRI have done for rice extension agents in the Philippines, as well as others using the microlearning platform elsewhere.


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