The pharmaceutical industry employs millions of people across the world. This is an industry that is undergoing a lot of change and it is important that employees are trained to handle the dynamic business needs of the industry. Staying up-to-date is the only way to ensure your company’s survival. But the only hitch is that the pharmaceutical industry faces a couple of challenges when it comes to training employees. Read on to know more about these challenges and how e-learning can offer a plausible solution.
1. Rapid Launch of New Drugs
The pharmaceutical industry is under pressure to develop new drugs and market them successfully in a short time. When a new drug is launched, it has to be marketed effectively. Advertising, sales promotions, and publicity have a limited role to play in the pharmaceutical industry. The emphasis is on direct selling through sales representatives. This means sales representatives will require training on the benefits of the drug and associated risks, if any. It is difficult to arrange a face-to-face training as sales reps work from different locations across the globe.
Rapid e-learning development could provide a solution to address this challenge. E-learning modules explaining the features of the new drug are extremely helpful in disseminating information. Rapid authoring tools such as Lectora, Storyline, and iSpring have made it easy to develop rapid e-learning courses as they cut the development time by as much as 40% compared to a traditional tool like Flash. Though development time is cut down, effectiveness of learning is not compromised as features such as scenarios and interactive multimedia elements can be included in rapid e-learning courses.
Also, e-learning can offer just-in-time performance support to sales reps who are on the field. When they have to educate doctors and other potential clients about the clinical applications of a drug, they could use a microlearning module that acts as a quick refresher on the drug.
2. Rapidly Changing Regulatory Compliances
It takes a lot of effort and resources to manufacture a drug formula that meets the approval of the FDA, EMA, and other regulatory agencies. When a drug is manufactured as a bulk product, it is necessary that it meets exact specifications. Inadequately trained staff can pose a threat to drug quality and the results can be devastating for the pharmaceutical manufacturer.
The FDA, for example monitors drug quality by ensuring that manufacturers adhere to Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations can make the FDA deny approval to market a drug. It is necessary for pharmaceutical employees to be trained on these regulatory compliances.
Compliance training is not a ‘check-the-box’ activity. It needs to teach us to think critically and equip us to handle the gray areas of compliance on the job. E-learning can do a good job at making compliance training interesting and interactive. It also allows easy updates to course content whenever there is a change in regulatory laws. Compliance training requires regular reinforcement. Interesting microlearning modules in the form of infographics and games are wonderful strategies for reinforcement of learning.
One of our clients, a leading medical equipment manufacturing company wanted to train its employees on its indirect sourcing purchasing policy. This was necessary to avoid compliance risk and make the purchasing process consistent. To build interest in learners and motivate them to take the course, we used interactive videos. To make the training program more realistic, we used scenarios and interesting interactivities to explain the policy. Articulate Storyline was our tool of choice to create interactivities and complex assessments in the course.
3. Budgetary Controls on Training
Classroom training programs continue to remain an integral part of training in pharmaceutical industries. But, with thinning training budgets and lack of qualified instructors to deliver uniform training across different geographical locations, many pharma companies are looking to take part of the training program outside the classroom. Right from sales personnel to laboratory staff, everyone in the pharma industry is required to learn quickly. A face-to-face training program is not feasible when you need to scale up training globally and deliver it rapidly.
Apart from being well versed in product and domain knowledge, trainers in the pharmaceutical industry need to be aware of market scenarios. So when trainers talk about the market scenario in USA, it may not be applicable to the markets in Asia and Europe and vice versa. With most pharmaceutical companies operating globally, it is difficult to find classroom trainers who are aware of all the different markets. Even if a qualified instructor is available, the next option would be to get employees to travel from different locations and attend the classroom training in one central location. This has a direct impact on the cost of training.
While e-learning may not be a be-all and end-all training solution for the pharmaceutical industry, it can cut down the cost of training as well as translations considerably. That could probably explain the reason why an increasing number of pharmaceutical companies are looking at blended learning to provide effective training.
Would you like to add to these reasons on why e-learning is essential for training employees in the pharmaceutical industry? If yes, please use the Comments section to share your thoughts.