Biological recording is the activity of recording information on where a living organism, habitat or community is found, when it was seen and by whom. Biological records inform wildlife monitoring, research, nature conservation and policy, as well as helping to engage the public with nature and developing wildlife survey and identification skills.

iRecord is a free tool created by the Biological Record Centre to support naturalists and biological recording schemes and societies. It facilitates the submission of biological records into the complicated network of organisations that make up the UK’s biological recording community. It is an ever-evolving platform with many features and an ever-expanding user base, including over 700 registered record verifiers that contribute their taxon-specific expertise into the verification system.

This course will introduce learners to the basics of biological recording, such as grid references, data flow and verification. In addition, the course will give those new to iRecord (or those existing users that struggle with the platform) an introduction to the basic features of the platform and instil them with confidence when using iRecord to submit biological records.

  • 4-week online course for adults, with a weekly time commitment of 3-5 hours.
  • Access to study content, activities and tutor-graded assignments through the FSC virtual learning platform that can be studied and fit the lessons around your own schedule. Understand how our online courses are delivered.
  • Access to weekly live virtual classroom sessions at the end of each week with the course tutor through Zoom (recorded for those that are unable to attend the live sessions).
  • E-certificate upon course completion.
  • This course will involve completing field assignments so learners will benefit from access to a garden or local park.
  • See the ‘Example Timetable’ and ‘What’s Included’ sections below for more information about this course.
  • Each individual needs to place their own order to ensure we can sign you up to the learning platform and give you access to resources.
  • If you have any questions about our online courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions first.
  • If your question is still not answered, email [email protected]

This course is aimed at adults only and course attendees must be at least 18 years old in order to attend.

What topics are covered in this course?

  • REC101 Introduction to Biological Recording covers what a biological record is and introduces concepts such as data resolution, data quality and verification. The iRecord platform is introduced and learners are set up with accounts and access to the Discovering iRecord activity for future assignments.
  • REC102 Grid References & Submitting Records introduces the technical skills needed to submit records, including grid references and practical experience of submitting real biological records through iRecord in the form of a ‘mini-garden birdwatch’.
  • REC103 Data-Flow & iRecord Activities covers what happens to a biological record between the initial observation and use of the record by user groups such as conservationists, scientists and decision-makers. Assignments teach learners how to respond to verifier queries, edit records and look up individual species records on the iRecord system.
  • REC104 Exploring & Downloading Data looks at how data can be accessed in iRecord and where to go outside of iRecord to access national and even international datasets. Learners are taught how to download their records and explore data held on the iRecord system.

Please note that bookings will close at 9 am on Monday 06 March 2023 to allow for all participants to be enrolled to the online platform – bookings will not be taken after this time.*

* Bookings will close sooner if course capacity is reached

Who Should Attend?

Anyone and everyone that is interested in making their wildlife observations count, including students, biological recorders, citizen scientists, ecologists, academics, wildlife photographers and anyone that considers themself a nature enthusiast.

Introductory course. Level descriptors can be found on the following webpage: Framework and Course Level Descriptors. No prior knowledge or experience of wildlife recording, species identification or using iRecord is required for this introductory course.

Course Fees

Regular Price: £60 
For professionals and residents outside of the UK. Select ‘Attendee (Online)

Subsidised Price: £40
Subsidised by the FSC BioLinks project for non-professionals eg. volunteers, biological recorders, wildlife gardeners, amateur naturalists and students. Available to UK residents only.   Select ‘Attendee subsidised (Online)

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses.

  • Discounted rates
  • Privately run courses for your group
  • Bespoke courses developed specifically for your needs

Email [email protected] to discuss your options!

Tutor: Keiron Brown

Keiron Derek Brown first became interested in invertebrates during a field-based entomology module at university and went on to volunteer on soil biodiversity research projects at the Natural History Museum (London). This included sorting samples of invertebrates to order level and sampling invertebrates across the New Forest in Hampshire and the Malaysian rainforests of Borneo.

In his spare time, he is the national recorder for earthworms (running the National Earthworm Recording Scheme on behalf of the Earthworm Society of Britain) and the Chair of the Ecology & Entomology section of the London Natural History Society. Keiron now manages the FSC BioLinks project, with the aim of inspiring amateur naturalists to take up the identification and recording of invertebrate groups that are often forgotten and rarely recorded. The courses Keiron teaches include Discovering iRecord, Identifying Terrestrial Invertebrates with Microscopes and our various earthworm courses.

Live webinars

The webinars will take place on the following dates at 6:30 pm (BST):

  • Week 1 live webinar: Thursday 16 Mar 2023 at 5:30 - 6:15 pm
  • Week 2 live webinar Thursday 23 Mar 2023 at 5:30 - 6:15 pm
  • Week 3 live webinar Thursday 30 Mar 2023 at 5:30 - 6:15 pm
  • Week 4 live webinar: Thursday 06 Apr 2023 at 5:30 - 6:15 pm

Please note - webinars will be recorded and uploaded to the virtual learning platform for learners unable to attend.

Course reviews

"Discovering iRecord was a brilliant course, as a beginner having heard of iRecord but not having had time to investigate. It allowed me to investigate in a structured way and having been shown the possibilities it was then less frustrating when I did my own assignment and recording. Before the course I was really unsure what to record or how to record it! Now I have to tell myself to remember to just enjoy watching insects and birds rather than trying to record every single one!"
Rosie Molton

"Before the course, I had no experience of iRecord or the 'world of submitting biological records'. The course showed me I could take part in species recording and that the data could be useful to various organisations. Due to the expert tuition, in spite of being a complete novice to iRecord, I was confidently submitting records within the space of a few weeks. The tutor's real-life examples provided context so that learning was memorable and easy to apply. I'd fully recommend the course to anyone, whether already working in the field of biological recording or just considering entering it."
Mair Shepherd

"Discovering iRecord took me on a fascinating journey into the workings of the wildlife recording platform. Earlier glances at the iRecord website had made me feel it was too overwhelming for me. But enjoyable assignments including wildlife surveying followed by entering our data eased me into it."
Elizabeth, Wildlife Enthusiast and Conservation Volunteer

"Prior to starting this course, my experience of iRecord was limited. I wanted to learn more and be confident in recording my observations and the course has provided me with this and more. I learned much more about how records from recorders like me can benefit National Recording Schemes and conservation in general. The delivery of course content was very relaxed and enabled me to work at my own pace. I would not hesitate in recommending the course to potential recorders such as myself to enable them to record confidently and understand how these records fit into overall recording movement."
Paul Budgen

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created to help you continue to build on your knowledge as the course progresses. With content crafted to the online Moodle Platform and bespoke to the FSC. The course includes:

  • 45-minute interactive Zoom workshops to connect with the tutor and other participants.
  • Expert tuition for which the FSC is renowned.
  • Exercises to work on independently in advance of each Zoom workshop.
  • Tailored course certificate upon completion

Once registered, you will follow well-illustrated, user friendly ’books’ to pick up knowledge. Quizzes, 'Skills Checks'  and tutor-graded assignments will give you instant feedback on your learning. Forums give students the chance to submit questions ahead of the live webinars. The assignments on this course involve going outside and observing nature - we believe at the FSC that virtual learning doesn't just involve sitting at a computer!

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing an FSC course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.

Bursaries and Subsidies

FSC BioLinks

FSC BioLinks was a project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund that developed training courses on biological recording and invertebrate subjects. As a legacy of this project, spaces are available at a subsidised rate to non-professionals eg. volunteers, biological recorders, wildlife gardeners, amateur naturalists and students. Available to UK residents only.

Student Discount

This course is eligible for a student discount. If you are a current student, please use discount code BioStudent20 at checkout for 20% off all Biodiversity courses.

Before You Attend

Once you sign up you’ll receive an email at least 48 hours in advance of the course opening with details of how to access our easy-to-use platform, Moodle.

Webinars are via Zoom so you won’t need any new software to attend

Please note that bookings will close at 9 am on Monday 06 March 2023 to allow for all participants to be enrolled on the FSC online learning platform.

This course will involve completing field assignments so learners will benefit from access to a garden or local park.

Recommended Devices

It is recommended that you access your course through a PC or laptop. Please be aware that there will be reduced functionality for both iRecord and the FSC online learning platform if you decide to access the course through a tablet or smartphone. The Field Studies Council is unable to email content directly to you.

Sorry this course booking is closed