The biopharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy that continuously modernizes their facilities and adopts new biomanufacturing technologies. Emerging technologies in biomanufacturing are rapidly changing the landscape of drug manufacturing and require the development of new courses and skills to meet these changes. This project will update the current biomanufacturing curriculum and develop virtual but realistic 3D biomanufacturing workplaces and laboratories (v-Labs) as centerpieces of activity-based curriculum modules. This will facilitate a blended learning-by-doing instructional model that will comprise traditional laboratory setting and virtual experimentation. This blended learning environment will boost students’ understanding of bioprocessing, prepares them for the hands-on training and fill the gap between academic knowledge, practical job-related understanding and professional skills. Through a series of workshops, webinars and other dissemination activities, teachers around the country will be instructed how to incorporate project materials and blended learning model into their curricula training programs. Short courses will be offered as professional development to bring biotech industry technicians up-to-speed with emerging technologies and latest advances in bioprocessing.
project is an activity-centered approach based on a theoretical framework of social constructivism and situated cognition, as well as on our successful experience of employing a blended instructional model to respond to industry demand for biomanufacturing technicians equipped with modern transferable skills. The modular architecture and flexible framework in conjunction with reconfigurable and customizable interactive assignments make it possible to easily adapt online exercises to students’ backgrounds and specific training needs. The project will also create a cloud-based cyberinfrastructure to integrate and organize curriculum resources and assure access to learning/training modules from any locations using computers or mobile devices. Activity-based curriculum modules will be developed in collaboration with academia, leading biopharma companies and the ATE National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce. All virtual modules will be aligned with industry requirements, skills standards for biopharma technicians and the latest biomanufacturing trends including the paradigm shift toward Manufacturing 4.0.