2020 changed everything, including training and learning.
Did you switch your training strategy to eLearning or web-based this year? With limited options, many organizations implemented virtual or on-demand training this year because of travel restrictions and limits on group events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some organizations are still weighing the benefits or effectiveness of eLearning but haven’t taken the plunge yet, and a few organizations are just waiting until in-person training can resume.
Advarra went all-in on eLearning this year With cases still growing near all Advarra offices, we have fully embraced our 100% virtual learning strategy to keep customers and staff safe. We started investing in our eLearning program in 2017, so Advarra’s Training Team was ready and equipped to convert all of our training to fully virtual learning this year, when it became clear that COVID-19 was going to prevent us from conducting classroom training safely.
Why should you consider eLearning?
Some of the advantages of an eLearning program are clear – eLearning is accessible whenever it is convenient, staff can review it at any time, and it can (should!) include assessments or knowledge checks to make sure learners are really “getting it.” eLearning can be assigned to hundreds or thousands of staff at the same time – getting the message out about new processes or policy changes to everyone immediately. eLearning provides a consistent message and allows learners to work at their own pace. Have you ever been ten minutes from the end of a two-hour class with too much material left to cover? eLearning won’t ever have to cram, rush, or skip content due to time constraints.
There are other advantages to running an eLearning program. Consider a scenario where you have 300 staff to train on a new electronic software program, or who need to satisfy their requirement for annual human subjects protection training. What does it look like to train these 300 people? In the traditional manner of classroom training, it becomes a complex mathematical equation based on the number and size of your computer-equipped classrooms, the number of trainers on your team, the number of staff away from the clinics at one time, and the number of classes a trainer runs each week without collapsing from exhaustion. Sure, it might make sense to offer a morning, afternoon, and evening class so staff can choose a time to fit their schedule, but if one trainer is expected to teach all those classes, they’ll be running around from sunrise to sunset.
Now imagine your only computer training room seats 20 people. You’ll need to schedule at least 15 training sessions for 300 staff, which will require at least two to three weeks. What does that look like if you use eLearning instead? A series of eLearning modules provided in a learning management system (LMS) and completed by all impacted staff within a few days prior to go-live. No training room needed.
Sounds great. What’s the catch?
Creating custom eLearning is a big project; creating the content, writing scripts and storyboards, designing the modules, incorporating feedback from subject matter experts (SMEs), and developing assessments requires just as much time and effort as designing a classroom training program. You might choose to assign a project manager, one or more eLearning Developers, plus SMEs who know the content. An eLearning project might take 3-6 months or more. Calculate 6 months’ of an eLearning Developer’s salary, plus a Project Manager’s salary, appropriate software licenses, and time from subject matter experts – that will cost your organization $100,000 or more.
Sounds expensive. Are there any other options?
Advarra’s in-house team of eLearning developers can create custom eLearning for your organization for a fraction of the cost. We have internal experts on Advarra technologies and clinical research topics who can kickstart your eLearning projects, plus a team of full-time eLearning Developers with experience creating scripts, storyboards, interactive and engaging modules, and assessments. Using your workflow documents, standard operating procedures (SOPs), or existing training materials, we can start on your custom eLearning project today.
Is eLearning really worth it?
Someone is going to ask you about the return on investment (ROI) of eLearning. What is your department or organization’s ROI? Is it really wise to spend all this money on eLearning software, audio equipment, and new staff? If we hire eLearning Developers, how long will it take for them to onboard and learn your workflows and policies?
You will realize value from your eLearning program. On-demand training is more convenient; you won’t have to pay your staff to travel to and sit in a classroom. Knowledgeable staff will complete their tasks more efficiently with fewer errors.
eLearning provides the greatest ROI when it saves your organization time, so evaluate what training is required for many, several hours long, and offered frequently. You’ll see greater ROI if you reduce your costs – use Advarra’s custom eLearning services to launch your training program and realize value faster.
Organizations slow to adopt new training strategies will fall behind. Partnering with ACRP in spring 2019, we conducted a survey of over 1,500 clinical research staff. Our results found 1 in 3 respondents said they did not receive adequate initial training on the technologies they use regularly, and more than half said they didn’t receive any ongoing trainings for these technologies. Even more compelling, 80% of respondents found on-demand training (like eLearning) helpful. Your staff want on-demand training, and it can be just as effective as in-person training, so we encourage you to try it out.