Six full e-learning modules now available

Six new e-learning modules are now online at the ETPLAS Website.

Commissioned by the European Commission with funding from the European Parliament, these modules are open to anyone, and will assist tutors and course providers in training individuals who have responsibilities for conducting animal research or who have oversight of animal use, for example as members of ethical committees. All modules were developed using the learning outcomes from the EC Education and Training Framework document. The modules are split into short lessons, so participants can make use of any short periods of time that become available for learning activities. They contain self-assessment questions so that trainees can check their understanding of the concepts presented, and after completion of each module the trainee is awarded with a certificate.


Modules EU 10 and EU 11 cover the design of procedures and projects and include information about experimental design concepts and the legal and ethical framework that relates to our use of living animals in research procedures. Particular emphasis is given to the application of the 3Rs to all aspects of study design.


Module EU 12 deals with the implementation of the severity assessment framework within projects using live animals, providing an overview of the severity assessment framework, its contribution to improving animal welfare, to promoting implementation of the 3Rs, and to enhancing transparency. EU 12 is intended to complement, draw together and expand on the information and key concepts from other modules to provide a stand-alone module on severity assessment. It provides information on the prospective classification of the severity of procedures, the continuous assessment of severity and the reporting of actual severity. It explains the principles governing severity assessment, the concept of direct and contingent suffering, the concept of cumulative severity and why severity assessment is a key component of the Directive.


Module EU 25 covers a range of topics relevant to the training of all those involved in project evaluation. It includes training in how the objectives of the project, the application of the 3Rs, and the assessment of severity classification should be used to undertake a harm/benefit analysis. It provides examples of how to assess severity, the range of harms that need to be considered and how the potential benefits of a project can be assessed. The content is designed to be accessible to both professional assessors and to lay persons who may participate in local or national ethical review of projects.


Module EU 52 introduces the main elements needed to search for and identify (existing) non-animal methods and approaches. The module includes an introduction to the 3Rs, with emphasis on Replacement, and then splits into three parts focussing on each necessary step of the search process: 1) developing research questions, 2) designing a search strategy and searching appropriate sources, and 3) documenting the searches and their results. The module is applicable to research, regulatory testing and education and training.


Module EU 60 provides guidance to in vitro test method developers and others interested in ensuring the quality of new methods or approaches, and in improving the efficiency with which these are developed, tested, optimised and approved by regulatory bodies. The module consists of four parts: 1) Context and needs for reliable and relevant in vitro methods; 2) Method development and implementation, based on ‘Good In Vitro Method Practices’ (GIVIMP), 3) Demonstrating the scientific validity of a new method or approach and 4) Knowledge assessment. After completing module EU 60, trainees will understand the critical aspects to take into account when designing, optimising and ensuring that the newly developed in vitro methods are reliable, relevant and fit-for-purpose. Furthermore, trainees will get an overview of the different steps and target groups involved in the process of test method development, optimisation and, if applicable, in the validation of new methods and the pathways to regulatory acceptance.