Training Innovations Fund winner: Cochrane ClassMate

Cochrane’s Training Innovation Fund has been awarded to Cochrane ClassMate

The Training Innovation Fund was set up to support a project that clearly showed an inventive or pioneering approach to meeting the needs of Cochrane’s learners.  Cochrane ClassMate was considered by the Fund’s independent assessment panel to demonstrate a strong and combined emphasis on innovation and viability, against tough competition from ten other submissions.

Cochrane ClassMate is an innovative new online tool being developed by the Project Transform team behind the Cochrane Crowd project. Trainers will be able to use Cochrane ClassMate to create exciting activities for learning about evidence synthesis.  The tool will allow trainers and educators to create rewarding ‘learning by doing’ classroom activities by customising tasks from the Getting Involved platform.  

Learners will improve their research and information skills by carrying out practical tasks in identifying and classifying clinical trials and studies. Tasks can be tailored to their areas of interest or expertise.   

One of the great strengths of Cochrane ClassMate is the flexibility to create learning that is customised to the needs and interests of particular groups of learners. For example: a class of dementia clinicians wants to learn about evidence synthesis. Cochrane ClassMate will allow trainers to build learning exercises to screen studies specifically about dementia, giving students a chance to learn more about screening and study design, as well as being informed about the latest evidence. For new healthcare students learning the basics of evidence-based practice, Cochrane ClassMate will support creating tasks at an introductory level and provide metrics on performance. The approach will be to initially reach out to Cochrane’s existing network of trainers and educators, as well as to engage with new trainers and educators who sign-up to the Cochrane citizen science tasks.

For learners at all levels, Cochrane ClassMate can create games with rewards, incentives, mini challenges, or competitions.  Using Cochrane ClassMate also makes a real-life contribution to helping reduce the information overload because all tasks will contribute to building and enhancing the CENTRAL database, a vital resource for smarter and more streamlined reviewing. All tasks performed through the Cochrane ClassMate route will be subject to ongoing evaluation by the project team to ensure quality is not compromised.

Cochrane ClassMate is being piloted in first half of 2016, including testing through the QMed Knowledge Foundation, which supports the development of evidence-based healthcare practice in India through training programmes for students and professionals.  Cochrane ClassMate will be widely available by the end of 2016.

More information about Cochrane ClassMate will be available here over the next few weeks, as the initiative goes into development.  In the meantime, if you have questions or to sign up to the pilot exercises, please don’t hesitate to contact Anna Noel-Storr ( or Chris Watts (