Meet the team behind c4c! We are a diverse group of people from many different backgrounds, but all of us are working towards a common goal: better medicines for children through European clinical trials.
Today’s spotlight is on Alessio Ceccherelli from the Tor Vergata University of Rome, who manages the c4c Academy learning platform.
The team members of c4c don’t only have different nationalities, but also come from diverse professional backgrounds. Contrary to what one might think, not all of them have followed studies related to medical science. Alessio for example first graduated in Italian literature and then obtained a PhD in sociology of communication. From there, he moved to the field of e-learning and specifically focused on the management, organisation, and development of online trainings. He has been working in this field for about 15 years. “I have obtained much experience in online education, but also have expertise in storytelling and other communication and engagement techniques,” he says.
Finding a common ground
Alessio built up significant knowledge about paediatric clinical trials thanks to his work at the children’s hospital Bambino Gesù in Rome. That made him the ideal person to manage the c4c Academy learning platform, which offers online trainings around paediatric clinical trials to all people involved in the c4c project. “Doctors, pharmacologists, data managers, nurses, and administrative staff follow our courses. Most of our users work within the hospitals involved in c4c, but the courses are also attended by employees of companies within the consortium,” explains Alessio.
“Although we have completely different backgrounds, I can collaborate efficiently with the medical experts in c4c. We can understand each other very well. Many of my collaborators also think I am a technician or an informatics engineer, professions that are far removed from my studies in literature and sociology (laughs)”.
Thanks to the Academy platform, the experts in c4c are gaining greater insight into all relevant aspects of paediatric clinical trials. “We are helping to shape the future leaders of paediatric drug development.”
Offering communication guidance
The trainings on the c4c Academy learning platform are usually video lectures, apart from some quizzes. To make these lectures (that often focus on complex topics) clear and compelling, Alessio’s expertise in storytelling comes in handy. With his team, he developed guidelines for the scientists that are giving the trainings. “For example, we advise to limit lectures to maximum ten minutes, to explain things in a short and precise way,” says Alessio. “It’s also important to speak to the camera in an informal and friendly way, as if really talking to someone directly in front of you.”
Blended education as the way to go
Of course, all of us became much more familiar with online trainings during the pandemic, as we got used to various kinds of learning and working from distance. “There are now tons of e-learning courses out there, and the quality of online trainings has improved substantially,” says Alessio. “But even as someone who has been working in this field for so long, I don’t believe that distance learning alone is the answer. Face-to-face communication is crucial as well. So, I think a blended form of education, a combination of digital and face-to-face training, is ideal to prepare our leaders and staff for the future.”