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E-learning inductions in the pharmaceutical industry


I have been asked to look into ways of streamlining our induction process. Currently it consists of a one day session every two weeks covering H&S, company info. and regulatory information.
This method presents a number of issues 1) staff can only start on an induction day as H&S and reg. training must be covered 2) inductions can sometimes be run for only 1 person which is a resource issue.
I was thinking about using e-learning as an alternative option, coupled with some classroom based training. But I keep hitting a brick wall when it comes to convincing people that it is possible.

Is there anyone out there currently working in the pharmaceutical industry that has experience of e-learning inductions?
Allison Preece

3 Responses

  1. Keep asking yourself questions
    Hi Allison,

    E-Learning as part of an Induction programme is a very good option – as long as you recognise that certain topics will still require a face-to-face element. E-Learning and the support technology is seen as beneficial in Pharmaceutical and Healthcare industries as they tend to be heavily regulated and have a high staff turnover.

    We are seeing signs that regulation in particular is growing as a driver in integrating e-learning as companies realise the importance of proving due diligence when faced with litigation. Training records and sound learning programmes are seen as strong evidence in any case defence.

    There are a range of Pharmaceutical industries who have utilised e-Learning in some form – a quick search on the web shows the likes of Bayer, MediSense, Lundbeck, Abbott, Organon, GSK, Wyeth and BMS have all completed e-Learning projects. So you are going down a road well travelled.

    Proving the effectiveness of e-Learning to stakeholders can be a difficult task, as there are numerous cultural barriers to overcome before you look at the practical implementation. One of the issues you may face is the question “well what is it going to look like?” or “What’s in it for me?” – these will be difficult questions to answer if you haven’t been through this process before.

    I have a document “Moving Forward With Technology based Learning” that may help your understanding of these issues and if you contact me I can also forward some contacts within the Pharma / Healthcare field who may be able to share their experiences with you.

    If you wish to discuss this further please feel free to contact me.

    Good Luck.

    Paul Allman
    Head of Learning Services

  2. After e-learning
    As per the other comments, e-learning is quite well accepted within the Pharma sector. I think that, as you have described it, the issues seems somewhat deeper. If you are having difficulty convincing management of the benefits of e-learning to simply go through a ‘tick-box’ nil value added process – which most inductions are then the real problems lie with management!

    A way to persuade is to cost up the time and resources involved in induction and then compare with an e-induction programme. Straightforward cost anlysis seems to work quite well for me when pitching to pharma clients!

    Stop thinking in terms of training and induction and start thinking in terms of hard business. The only way you will get management to move is to prove the business case first then the people case afterwards. Doesn’t sound very friendly and in line with all the other advice on Training Zone, but it works for me!

  3. Steps to eLearning
    Dear Allison,

    As you are no doubt aware taking the steps to impliment eLearning within any organisation takes time and planning, is the workforce ready for e-learning? does the organisation have sufficent infastructure? and more importantly can eLearning demonstare a return on investment?

    Here are a number of things to consider that might help you to deliver a good case to management that eLearning, if assessed properly can bring significant cost savings to both small and large organisations.

    1 Review

    implementing an e-learning programme requires more than simply writing the training material. It needs to be part of an overall training strategy that is designed to give you the best possible results from the highest quality training. a strategic review of your company, your technical infrastructure and your staff skill levels. a good implementation plan will highlight any steps that may be needed to ensure that e-learning is successful — from changes to your technology to upskilling your staff to be ready for e-learning.

    2 Specification

    Establish what your business training needs are, incorporating any legal and regulatory compliance issues. look at the skill levels of your employees to determine where they are now and where you would like them to be in the future. Depth and experience in, and the understanding of, both training and technology means that you can be confident that any eLearning programmes will help you and your organisation reach your desired end goal.

    3 Access

    All your staff can benefit equally from eLearning, try and design you programs to accommodate the needs of those with visual or hearing impairments, and aim to make training accessible to disabled staff, remote workers, part-time employees etc.

    4 Program design

    Focus on the content of your training program. your depth and understanding of the process of training and learning ensures that you should be able to provide considerable input helping to create stimulating and effective training programs.

    5 Measurement & monitoring

    Information on progress is essential ROI can be measured by the success rates and the level of competence your staff have reached. You will be able to judge the overall effectiveness of your e-learning programme, and identify any future training needs. you can update your e-learning program as changes to legislation and standards occur.

    These are just a few things to consider and as mentioned previously, it’s all about return on investment a hard commercial view that will help convince management and stakeholders that eLearning combined with tutor lead courses can bring significant rewards.

    I hope this helps a little.

    Ian Fielding
    NDC Training Media Ltd


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