The pharmaceutical industry is driven to find ways to get approved medicines into patients’ hands faster – not only to save lives, but to improve the quality of life for many. The clinical colleagues at Pfizer understand this and are being tasked in new ways to overcome the challenges of drug development. In an effort to expedite the research, development and study of new products for the benefit of patients, the Pfizer organization is stressing more than ever that “time matters.”
In looking for opportunities to promote “time matters” in getting affordable medicines to patients in need, we identified one area that would directly support Pfizer’s clinical trial lifecycle – training. A first-class training program was needed and would be a key factor to helping colleagues achieve their goals.
After surveying our internal clinical trial community, it was determined that more effective training would help our colleagues perform their roles more efficiently.
According to our findings, the existing training wasn’t fully meeting their needs and they felt we could do more to prepare them to tackle the tasks required from their role’s perspective. They read the processes, took the required training, but they weren’t connecting to what they were being asked to do. Colleagues responded that they were on information overload and felt a heavy “training burden” without getting to what they really needed to know for their role.
A SOCIAL APPROACH TO ROLE-BASED TRAINING
In order to improve our training program, changes to our training strategy and approach were necessary. Our clinical staff would need to complete and access training quicker and easier. The new program would have to be more adaptive and flexible. It needed to incorporate a multi-modal approach that would appeal to all learning styles and experience levels.
As colleagues moved within the organization into new roles, they needed a way to learn their new responsibilities quickly and efficiently, as a new employee would in a new hire training program.
A new internal, web-based e-learning education site was developed to address this training need within the organization. The new program was designed with the end user in mind. Building it, though, required the socialization and collaboration of not just end users, but leaders and internal stakeholders who would contribute to the content and add relevant stories and examples to fully make the training more robust and effective.
Since many of the leaders in the organization were the most impacted by trying to manage changes in the organization and help their teams be more informed, they were more than happy to work with our training team. The line leadership partnered with us to ensure that any required courses would now be bundled in a way that colleagues could clearly identify with and apply the information directly to their roles.
The goal of this new program was to deliver in-context training utilizing a storytelling approach.
The microlearning videos, dubbed “mobisodes” for this new program, are essentially bite-sized digital shorts bundled into e-learning courses, but also made available as standalone resources accessible from company mobile devices.
The intent was to capitalize on the success of Google and YouTube as learning tools and craft these mobisodes in a manner that resonated with our colleagues. The mobisodes, which are designed as lively animated and narrated videos, are written and delivered in a more informal and fun way compared to what was previously offered.
This method of training lends itself to being more “shareable” as these mobisodes, which are hosted on an internal video platform similar to YouTube, can be easily sent to colleagues across the organization. This “just-in-time” training method directly addresses colleague complaints about the previous training not being timely or accessible enough.
When the program launched at the end of 2016, many of our clinical colleagues were facing job role changes and needed to focus on the medical and technical elements of their tasks. These medical professionals didn’t have time to be sifting through information that would divert their focus. They needed to learn the processes that were crucial to their role – and they didn’t have time to waste.
Therefore, the objective of the new training program was to provide a lens into a clinician’s world by injecting real-life stories and situations into the e-learning modules.
UPPING OUR GAME USING FAMILIAR TOOLS
To safeguard our success, our training team sought to build a network of subject matter experts (SMEs) who shared our vision and were committed to improving the required training.
In partnering with the SMEs, our developers learned the key processes and tasks from Pfizer’s standard operating procedures and listened as the experts described how these procedures are performed from their role’s perspective.
Their collaboration was crucial in developing relevant, informative courses, but the partnership wasn’t without its challenges. Many experts were not familiar with how to help create this type of training at first and it was often difficult for some of them to communicate their stories. Some colleagues were reluctant because their “old school” way of thinking prevented them in participating and fully understanding how telling their stories could translate into training. Once they participated in the knowledge transfer sessions and saw how these microlearning videos were being created, they were fully on board.
The new program allows colleagues to access training anytime and practically anywhere. They can take training at their own pace, access course transcripts, related job aids, and other task and process information – all at their convenience.
THE RESULTS ARE IN
A year after rolling out the initial program for clinicians, the scope of the initiative has expanded to include two other roles, and more are already in development to include key roles across the entire organization.
The colleagues and SMEs are now fully engaged and ready to help expand this platform. The feedback has been largely positive – with many colleagues acknowledging that the new training is something they can finally relate to and engage with.
They feel that the new materials paint a better picture of their everyday jobs and that they can perform better while meeting the needs of the business and are no longer feeling as overloaded and frustrated by the training requirements. Colleagues are more motivated to take the training and are willing to get involved to help create it.
Plans are already underway to build a fully mobile experience to give our colleagues access to supplemental scenarios, to participate in competitions, earn virtual rewards and bonuses, and unlock new learning paths where they can not only challenge themselves and learn more on the job, but also feel more engaged and informed.