The active involvement of patients, carers and the public with research has changed for evermore and, I believe, for the better.
For us to understand what research is about we have often had to wait for a course to be delivered at some point in the future and hope that it would take place somewhere nearby.
Today, sees the second outing of a free online course to help us understand clinical research. From the first run in November 2015, we can all get the information in a quite simple - a new, free* online course...
The course leaders, Allan Gaw and Fiona O'Neill, expertly lead and guide us through complex issues in a manner that I find illuminating and informative. I even appear to offer my penny's worth but please don't let that put you off.
It has been developed by the University of Leeds, is open to all and is likely to run at least once a year.
The short bite-sized film clips make it very accessible for most learners. You can get it on your smart phone, a tablet or your home computer - I have added the link to my desktop for ease.
Best of all is that we get to chose when and where to watch - preparing dinner, doing the ironing (rarely), on a train or at present in a pub!
The course offers the basics of what clinical research is and does but adds that further level by inviting us to think! We can then join in conversations with other learners based on the experience of learning and not on qualifications and titles.
The latest count is that over 3000 people are doing it! Why don't YOU!
As you get hooked you may wish to join the online discussion or engage with the #whywedoresearch Twitter group to see the enthusiasm for research.
The format and features of the Course allow us to choose the order of each week's topics, to move backwards and forwards at my pace and to repeat what I don't understand.
The film clips are in short 5-10 minute slots which meant that I no realisation that I had spent up to 4 hours.
I chose to do each section in a week but I was free to take longer or cram it all into a morning.
And...there is a Glossary, Transcripts of the programme, other Resources and useful Links.
So, please join up and then you can take your time learning.