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BCI Launches New Animal Care Training Website

09:27AM Aug 25, 2014

Online training in animal care just got a new look at the Beef Cattle Institute.
By: Audrey Hambright, K-State Research & Extension News

If you’ve been to the Animal Care Training website lately, you’ll notice it has a new look.

Animal Care Training (ACT), an online training program hosted by the Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) at Kansas State University has incurred a significant amount of growth since its start in 2009, giving the website considerable grounds for an upgrade.

The Animal Care Training program was developed to educate English and Spanish-speaking beef and dairy producers, animal transporters, livestock auction market employees and bovine veterinarians. Web-based audiovisual training modules in English and Spanish feature topics such as animal husbandry, animal welfare, environmental stewardship and food safety practices.

The site is currently home to more than 200 online training modules for beef producers and 400 continuing education modules for veterinarians. The program is the result of collaborations with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Association of Bovine Practitioners and Livestock Marketing Association, with the BCI at Kansas State University.

One of the first changes you’ll notice when navigating the site is the new logo that headlines the home page. The symbol of the two hands is meant to emphasize the care the program is taking towards animals in addition to the content taught to users in the training modules.

Arthi Subramanian, website developer for the BCI, has been instrumental in the work of creating a new interface of the ACT website. According to Subramanian, once the issues were identified it was easier to make a plan.

"One of the primary issues we identified with the old website was that it was not user-friendly and lacked mobile compatibility. Users had difficulty navigating to Web pages and playing videos in the modules," she said. "This led the BCI to discuss as a group the need for a new website that allowed users to access on handheld devices with minimum scrolling."

After major concerns with the site were addressed, the team decided on an overall design. In addition to streamlined navigation, modules are also highlighted by more colorful and visually appealing graphics.
"We started developing a few prototype designs and decided as a team the design we liked best for the home page, keeping in mind the different audiences for the site," Subramanian said.

Creating a more visually appealing layout for the user while maintaining the primary function and purpose of the online training site was key in the planning process. Kelly Oliver, project coordinator for the BCI, described the options available.

"Animal Care Training is a user-friendly site set up for producers to keep track of their training and certifications," she said. "All users need to register individually. However, if a user has multiple employees, they have the option to register all employees in one group under their username in addition to the individual registration. This gives the user the ability to purchase training for and keep track of training and certifications for the employees."

In addition to the unveiling of the website, Animal Care Training is host to new training offerings. Recently released is Dr. Tom Noffsinger’s Animal Handling Training that focuses on teachings of Dr. Noffsinger and his experience working with feedyards and ranches on low-stress cattle handling. Also highlighted on the ACT site is the Beef and Dairy Cow Health and Welfare Training.

To view the new website and featured training modules, visit Animal Care Training (ACT).