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Learning, Research and Practice Communities

The Centre for Health Evidence (CHE) uses integrative internet technologies to enable virtual communities servicing the needs of learners, researchers and practitioners.

Virtual Learning Communities

VIVITechnologies with a learning focus organize educational content such as university curriculum, a workshop series, or continuing education activities. Features available include presentations, videos, readings, discussion forums, online note-taking tools, interactive learning activities, calendars and integration of licensed resources. Incorporating new web technologies such as RSS feeds, blogs and wikis into VIVITechnologies creates a vibrant and participatory learning environment.

A number of Canadian universities use Vividesk technology to manage online curriculum in health-related courses. HOMER, a University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry desktop, supports the medical school curriculum from first year medical school through residency. The University of Alberta School of Public Health, McGill University and the University of Ottawa use ViviTechnologies to manage evidence literacy curriculum for health sciences and medical students.

Virtual Research Communities

VIVITechnologies with a research focus allow users to search the literature, access project management tools, and collaborate online.

EPIQ (Evidence-based Practice for Improving Quality)

EPIQ Virtual Research Community (VRC) was developed as a tool to facilitate online collaboration among 26 neonatal intensive care units across Canada and as a repository of data found and created by users. The VRC provides access to a series of collaborative resources, reference databases, and customized templates to create collections of evidence that are shared with other EPIQ members. The VRC is the central source of EPIQ related materials. Therefore, the VRC allows investigators and clinicians to collaborate and share findings in order to improve patient outcomes.   

Virtual Learning and Practice Communities:

CHE has developed special expertise in integrating knowledge and clinical resources. Knowledge resources include free web applications, subscription-based products, and even full suites of knowledge tools. Clinical resources include electronic health records, imaging tools, and drug information databases.

CoPosis™(link to website) is a national online Community of Practice (CoP) for healthcare professionals interested in advancing discussions and understanding issues surrounding select diseases and disorders. The VIVIWEB learning community management system provides a variety of community-enabling “objects”, including integrated learning modules, linked discussion forums, case-based narrative interactivities, collaborative workspace tools and rich links to high-quality evidence repositories.

The goal of the SEARCH program (link to SEARCH Canada website) is to bring research closer to practice in healthcare. The SEARCH Virtual Learning Community/Vividesk project provides a gateway to the SEARCH curriculum. It gives participants advanced communication, collaboration and project management tools that sustain their individual and group work. It is also used to nurture the SEARCH network.

Alberta Health Services supports dissemination of and compliance with continuing care health service standards through the Continuing Care Vividesk Desktop. Facility living, supportive living and home living staff access the standards along with supporting evidence, resources and training materials.


The Pearls program of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) uses a Vividesk desktop to offer semi-structured, self-directed practice-reflection learning activities to participating physicians. The Pearls program and the Desktop activities provide an opportunity to gain, enhance and demonstrate the skills needed for evidence-based practice.