James Vesper

Developing expertise of those handling temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products using e-learning


Because of its international scope and work in the area of vaccines, the World Health Organization’s Global Learning Opportunities for Vaccine Quality (WHO GLO) recognizes the need to develop the knowledge and skills of those involved in the pharmaceutical cold chain. Not handling and storing pharmaceuticals and vaccines at the proper temperatures can have significant affects on individual and public health.

To meet this need of developing the knowledge and skills of those involved in handling TTSPP, the WHO GLO developed a unique training course, Pharmaceutical Cold Chain Management on Wheels (PCCMoW), that takes 15 carefully selected participants on a bus trip in Turkey where they can make direct observations at the storage, warehousing, distribution and health care facilities as they physically travel with mentors by bus down the length of the cold chain.  Throughout the course, guided observation exercises take place at the visited facilities. Participants are provided with notes and tools to support their critical observations as they interact with operational staff and management at various facilities. Only a small number of people have been able to complete the course to date compared to the tens of thousands of people world-wide who could benefit from gaining expertise in this field. 

The WHO GLO has committed to recreate this successful educational bus course in a virtual form to enable larger numbers of professionals to learn key skills in the handling of pharmaceutical products. This project will provide the setting for the research to be conducted in the PhD study described here.

This project involves the development of an online Pharmaceutical Cold Chain Management on Wheels that will give learners a “big picture” understanding of the cold-chain and provide them virtual opportunities to critically evaluate storage facilities, temperature control, and practices.  The learners will do this in conjunction with experienced mentors who will guide and support them.


Vesper, J. & Herrington, J.  (2012). Considering communities of learners when creating an E-learning course.In T. Amiel & B. Wilson (Eds.), Proceedings of EdMedia 2012 (pp. 481-490). Chesapeake, VA: AACE

Vesper, J. & Herrington, J. (2011). Developing expertise in those handling time and temperature sensitive pharmaceutical products: Applying the early phases of a design research methodology.In T. Bastiaens  & M. Ebner (Eds.), Proceedings of EdMedia 2011 (pp. 591-600). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Vesper, J., Reeves, T.C. & Herrington, J.  (2011). The application of expert review as a formative evaluation strategy within an educational design research study. In Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2011 (pp. 973-978). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Vesper, J. L., Kartoğlu, Ü., Bishara, R., & Reeves, T. C. (2010). A case study in experiential learning: pharmaceutical cold chain management on wheels. Journal of Continuing Education in the Heath Professions, 30(4), 1-8.