Hello, all! In this installment I’d like to extend my blog beyond the screen and into the real world, and share a bit of what my company is doing to help better engage our learners during training and to help them retain what information is most relevant to their job, all while saving precious time. And spoiler alert: Most of what drives these initiatives is a direct testament to Adobe Captivate.
You can read about it in this short article I co-authored for Pharmacy Today (The text from the article is displayed below).
But what I’d really like to do is hear from all of you in the Community of the doors of opportunity Adobe Captivate has opened for you, or your company. I look forward to reading your comments!
Something micro is brewing
Whether formal or informal, education and training are foundational blocks for an organization to provide employee onboarding and organizational development. Similar to other practice settings, specialty pharmacy is highly regulated, with training requirements stemming from the federal government, executed contracts, pursued accreditations, and company best practices. In addition, robust baseline and continuous clinical education efforts compensate for the minimal coverage of specialty pharmacy in college of pharmacy curriculums, as well as for the ever-changing landscape of specialty guidelines and products.
Over the past few years, one trend within this unique area of practice involves heightened operational demands coupled with additional training requirements. Ensuring that revenue-driven tasks are supported by training, and not overpowered, is an important differentiation to balance business needs with educational requirements. This challenges training departments to evaluate their current offerings and identify more innovative, efficient, and effective measures to roll out company-wide education.
Consider the organizational implications of a live training session: the costs associated with the presenter’s time (preparation and execution), the attendee’s time, as well as loss of productivity when attendees are pulled away from daily tasks. Each of these factors plays a role in making a live session rather costly to the company. Another challenge, especially for pharmacies with several locations across the country, is ensuring these training sessions occur at an appropriate time for multiple time zones and that they are equipped with the proper technology for remote access. In fact, according to the Association for Talent Development’s State of the Industry 2017 webcast, over the past decade, the training industry has seen a steady decline in the amount of instructor-led classroom time.
Now, consider the amount of content that learners retain. Outside of attendance and feedback, insufficient data are collected on learning and information retention from live sessions. Some people believe that feedback surveys capture comprehension data; however, we disagree on the grounds that end-of-session feedback surveys trigger a learner’s reactions to a session, rather than measure true learning. Therefore, answering the question of how a training department ensures appropriate use of staff time, while collecting comprehension and retention analytics, remains challenging.
A busy practice setting such as a specialty pharmacy can offer innovative training solutions such as computer-based simulations and microlearning modules. Computer-based simulations present users with real-time, real-world replications of their daily tasks. These programs allow a company to gather learner data to help measure training effectiveness, retention, and engagement. Rather than giving employees a feedback survey at the end of a lecture, a simulation allows companies to test their employee’s knowledge of a topic and gather what was truly learned, not what employees felt they learned. An additional benefit of computer-based simulations is the ability to release a subsequent module to test performance a certain number of days after initial rollout. This technique can help companies identify employees who might need additional exposure to or practice with a given topic.
Microlearning is a global term used to describe training that is quick and to the point. Think of it as a billboard on the side of a highway, where you have about 10 seconds to learn meaningful information about a product, service, or company. Microlearning training programs provide focused training on a specific topic in time chunks that allow users to remain engaged. Furthermore, microlearning can amplify learner retention by implementing parameters of repetition, color schemes, and symbols.
When evaluating training format and type, employees often express that they take more pleasure in training that is short, concise, and interactive, rather than other traditional methods. By making courses more interactive, engaging, and concise, training departments can be successful in catering to the learning styles (i.e., visual, auditory, read/write, kinesthetic) of their targeted audience and allow for additional time to focus on their main objective: providing patient care.
An example of how a pharmacy organization might implement these proposed training solutions is through an annual, required course. Some required training courses are wholly regulated in content but often allow creative freedom in both style choice and delivery method. By using the principles of microlearning, a company can create effective training that takes less time and ultimately allows more time to focus on patients. Multiply that time saved by an entire organization’s workforce, and hundreds of productivity hours could be gained upon implementation!
As the year continues, we challenge you to evaluate your organization’s current educational offerings. Perhaps including computer-based simulations or microlearning can benefit and streamline your organization’s training efforts.
Adam Beardslee, CPhT, corporate trainer; and Stephanie LaPointe, PharmD, manager, education and training, Diplomat, Flint, MI