ABSTRACT: Up-to-date, adaptable and specially designed to help students excel, Central Qualifications' online system for recording clinical assessments – the Central Skills Log (CSL) – is the latest cutting-edge tool for the veterinary education sector. This article explores how this innovative learning portal supports students, teaching staff and the profession in the training of veterinary nurses.

What is the Central Skills Log?

The Central Skills Log (CSL) is an online work-based learning and communication tool developed exclusively for Central Qualifications (CQ).

Acting as an ePortfolio, the CSL supports both a students skills development and a Centre’s delivery of CQ qualifications by providing a platform for recording, monitoring and quality assuring practical assessments in the Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (DipVN/EVN), Diploma in Animal Nursing (DipAN) and the Veterinary Nursing Assistant course (VNA).

How does it work?

The CSL forms an integral part of a student veterinary nurses training by allowing him or her to easily record the attainment of practical skills necessary to gain a qualification.

On completion of practical tasks, students are able to upload pictorial and media evidence via smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer, as well as monitor their progress and record achievements. Indeed, the system supports and encourages the use of any media form in the documenting of skills – from written reports and photographs, to presentations and videos.

This advanced functionality, therefore, allows students to select the most relevant and beneficial methods for demonstrating their achievements and increases the quality of the evidence uploaded.

The easy-to-use system also allows both students and teaching staff to manage learning for the duration of the qualification – that is, whether in terms of checking the completion of individual tasks as part of larger units, tracking down outstanding tasks, or simply to see what practical tasks will be coming up next (Figure 1).

Figure 1.Tabbed browsing allows for multiple tasks to be viewed simultaneously

Similarly, as students are required to complete a prescribed number of working hours in order to achieve a qualification, a time-logging facility is available to record time spent in practice. Further, every practical task within a qualification is featured on the CSL and accompanied by explanatory notes, providing valuable clarity and guidance to the student, as well as standardisation across centres.

Finally, access to the CSL across a secure internet connection, via any web-enabled device, allows for the recording of skills in a working environment, as and when the task is completed, and at a time convenient to the tutor and student.

Supporting a team-based approach to learning

The CSL supports and facilitates CQ’s team-based approach to learning and teaching. Practical tutors, clinical coaches and lecturers, as well as internal and external verifiers, can access a students record to collaboratively monitor progress and update records. A clinical coach or practical tutor, therefore, can view evidence provided by a student, add comments and assess progress.

Similarly, internal and external verifiers can view interactions between students and clinical coaches/practical tutors in order to validate that the evidence uploaded meets the qualification requirements.

With the CSL, Centre-based clinical coaches are able to view all learners at their practices, rather than just those to whom they are nominated as coaches. This subsequently allows for sharing of teaching resources between Centres and practices. In addition, with a team- based approach to teaching, dependency of mentoring is removed from the individual and, instead, allows students to benefit from the experience of an entire team during their education.

Further, students are not disadvantaged should their one and only mentor be absent, as another tutor will be able to access the CSL to get up to speed with their progress and, in turn, stand in at a moments notice.

Increasing the lines of communication

In continuation of its support of team-based teaching, the CSL aids communication between students, mentors, tutors and the quality assurance team (Figure 2). The CSL facilitates direct e-mail communication between students and tutors, thereby ensuring that the knowledge and experience of the teaching staff is utilised at every opportunity.

Figure 2. Providing detailed statistics of progress and easy tracking of correspondence between students and tutors

Similarly, internal and external verifiers can exchange confidential communications between one another that will not be visible to students and the practical teaching team to ensure the quality of course delivery and student progress.


CQ is committed to improving the way in which veterinary nursing qualifications are taught and strives to continually improve both student and teaching staff experience.

Early 2013 saw the release of version three of the Central Skills Log, which introduced new and improved features, and further investment in the development of the learning portal is planned for later this year. 


Jacqui Garrett DMS CVPM

Jacqui Garrett is director of Central Qualifications and has worked within the veterinary profession for over 18 years. She initially worked in veterinary practice, before joining AT Veterinary Systems (AT) 13 years ago. In 2011, having led a team of experienced practice managers at AT, Jacqui brought her experience and expertise to Central Qualifications.

To cite this article use either

DOI: 10.1111/vnj.l 2077 or Veterinary Nursing Journal Vol 28 pp 336-337

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 28 • October 2013 •