Driving Organizational Change Initiatives Through Remote Learning: A Case Study

Today, one of the most important business needs for organizations is to create a sustainable and scalable learning ecosystem for the ever-evolving workplace. No longer can L&D departments afford to work in silos. The key job that L&D leaders have on their hands is to keep their (remote) workforce engaged by instituting learning in the flow of their work and to create measurable business impact through learning. All of this leads back to delivering the right content to the right person at the right time in the way they want it, to improve business outcomes.

As a 105-year-old privately-owned company, Midmark Corporation, a leading manufacturer of medical, dental, veterinary products and related services, has been through many transformations in its lifetime.  Sometime back, they decided to expand their focus from products to providing seamless solutions that improve the experience between the patient and the caregiver.  The Professional Education team at Midmark was tasked with the responsibility of accomplishing this organizational level change initiative through implementation of remote learning solutions. The team realized that to achieve the end goal, it was important to help Midmark teammates understand the clinical and patient experience and how their products help improve patient outcomes. To facilitate the required learning, Midmark strategized and selected multiple methodologies.

Details of the components used in their blended learning program are shared below.

  1. Introductory video

To begin with, the Professional Education team sent an introductory video by their Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tom Schwieterman, explaining that Midmark was going to focus on COPD and Spirometry. The reasons for this choice (listed below) were shared with learners via multiple mediums – posters, on stage with patients, through patient video, etc.

    • COPD is the 3rd leading disease cause of death in United States.
    • There are 160,000 COPD related deaths in the United States every year.
    • It is estimated there are 12-14 million people in the US with COPD that are undiagnosed.  And Spirometry is the most effective and common method for diagnosing COPD.
    • Only about half of Primary Care offices have spirometry test equipment, and if they do, they may not know how to get it into their workflow or interpret the results.
    • COVID-19 has left many people with permanent lung damage that moves them into the COPD realm of care.
    • Midmark believes they can help more clinicians learn how to incorporate spirometry testing into their daily practices and hopefully make a positive impact for patients with COPD.

2. eLearning module

The talking head video was followed with a “What is COPD?” eLearning module. This module provided an overview of what causes COPD, profiles of people with COPD, and Midmark’s solution set.

3. Live presentation

At their annual Commercial Summit, Dr. Tom gave a live presentation on the need to address COPD as a company. This was to reiterate the importance of addressing COPD. They also had posters on the walls around the presentation room with key facts about COPD.

In a remote learning setup, Dr. Tom’s presentation could have been handled via an interactive webinar.

4. Q&A session

And then Midmark brought on stage two patients with stage-4 COPD, to hold a Q&A session with the audience. The Professional Education team had also made a video of the patients telling their stories that was shown before bringing them on stage.

In a remote learning setup, the video could have been streamed remotely and the Q&A could have been held online.

5. Hands-on training session

The team then had the learners rotate through hands-on spirometry testing sessions where they learned to use the spirometry equipment and take tests on themselves.

In a remote learning setup, this could be done remotely via a webinar and through individual coaching as the key sales teammates have their own spirometry devices as part of their sales kit.

6. Gamification modules

Over the next few weeks, the team rolled out 4 ‘Day in the Life of a Patient with COPD’ gamification modules where the learner had to make decisions on how to deal with the impact of COPD in daily life activities. These modules, which were produced by Harbinger, comprised 4 topics

  1. Having a flare-up while doing normal activities
  2. The stigma of having COPD
  3. The responsibility to take care of yourself
  4. Options to keep healthy

Gamification elements such as scores and Patient Wellbeing Indicators were used to increase the engagement level of the modules and emphasize the importance of taking appropriate decisions at right time.

Outcomes

Mid-way through the program, Midmark surveyed a cross section of their sales and marketing teammates. Some of them have very little to do with COPD or selling spirometry products and services.

Here are some key insights

  • 91% of them found Dr. Tom’s overview video Very or Somewhat Useful
  • 97% found the “What is COPD” eLearning module Very or Somewhat Useful
  • 91% found the first Day in the Life gamification module Very or Somewhat Useful
  • No one found any of the above “not useful” even though they may not be involved with spirometry

What is interesting is that the videos and eLearning modules were rated higher than the hands-on spirometry workshops that only received an 80% useful score. The fact that the hands-on spirometry training received relatively less approval as compared to the other learning modalities, speaks about how remote/online learning, if planned and structured well, can get us the desired business results.

Learnings

Here are some key learnings that the Midmark team captured from their whole experience.

  • No matter how short a module is, learners like to know ahead of time how much time it will take them to complete the module
  • They found that allowing teammates to study topics remotely per their personal schedule allowed for more focused attention
  • Learners need to understand how the topic fits into their sales goals and corporate strategies
  • And, the learners’ managers need to understand how important it is for them to proactively support the learning

On June 18, 2020, Midmark Corporation and Harbinger Interactive Learning came together to deliver an insightful webinar touching upon all the above aspects. You may view the webinar recording here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW-IV7yblJs and hear it directly from Cleon Wellington, Professional Education Director at Midmark Corporation. For any further queries or to have a discussion, please reach out to info@harbingerlearning.com.

eLearning Conversations – A Passive Way to Learn

A dialog between two characters to present a scenario for learners – Does this sound familiar? All of us who have been associated with eLearning development, mostly have developed such samples showcasing conversations and scenarios.

There was a time when such conversations were considered an engaging way to learn. To make it more effective, voice-overs were added. But, let us step-back for a moment and think if it is an engaging and active mode of learning? Isn’t it a pretty passive way where the learner is simply watching the screen and is only following what is being displayed? The question that arises then is, if such conversations or scenarios are not very effective, then how do we solve this problem? One possible solution that I can think of is to have the learner interact with the system as part of the scenario. And based on how the learner interacts, the system can respond to the learner and take the conversation ahead. With advancement in technology, chatbots could be used as an important element of this.

Chatbots are a great way to engage learners in a conversation and experience the scenario unfold. To explain it better, imagine a conversation between a doctor and a patient on the symptoms to observe for a disease. The doctor needs to recommend the right medication. To train a doctor well on this scenario, we could have the doctor (learner) converse with a bot which acts as a patient. The bot would respond to the doctor’s examination questions. This would help the doctor to know the right set of questions and gather as much information as possible before getting into the actual scenario. This bot could even be voice-enabled which will allow the learner to talk to the bot.

And how do we take this to an eLearning course? Well, in an eLearning course, a bot can be embedded instead of the conversation slides. And when it comes to questions or assessments based on the scenario, the course can continue like usual. Such chatbots can be created using variety of technologies such as Google DialogFlow, Microsoft Q&A Maker, and Amazon Lex.

Chatbot in eLearning

Interested in seeing a demo? Feel free to reach out to us at info@harbingerlearning.com.

 

 

 

Four Effective Ways to Train Your Catering Staff

In some of my previous blogs, I touched upon the growing need for training in the catering industry. We also looked at certain skillsets and processes that catering managers need to be groomed and trained on. With millennials and Gen Z forming a huge chunk of the catering industry’s employee-base and the high turnover rate that is generally prevalent here, training has never been more relevant. This makes a good case to look at some of the most efficient ways to train your catering staff and enable them to provide outstanding guest experience.

  1. Micro-Learning

Micro-learning is now a pervasive trend, in almost all walks of our digital life. It goes without saying that it is an effective method to train your catering staff as well. Micro-learning is on-demand, delivered at the point-of-need, and highly relevant because the employee is concentering on one skill/learning objective at a time rather than worrying about the entire curriculum.  For example – Instead of a long course on how to serve food to the customer, your staff will enjoy consuming small micro-learning nuggets on how to set up the table or how to serve wine when they need to learn about them.

  1. Scenario-Based Learning

Use of scenarios based on real-life situations is a very useful training mechanism. Scenarios can help learners to understand the best way to handle a situation. Training can be made more interactive by the use of branching scenarios where there could be different results to a situation based on the learner’s response.  Scenario-based training is the ideal mechanism to train staff on soft skills. For example, a scenario on how to handle an irate customer or how to greet a customer can enable employees to be prepared with the relevant skills when the real-life instance occurs.

  1. Game-Based Learning

Use of game elements in learning enhances the learning experience, makes it fun, and also gives the learner a sense of challenge and achievement.  Leaderboards, time-based quizzes, time-driven missions are some of the common mechanisms used in game-based learning.  For example, a time-bound, game-based module that requires the learners to finish setting up 10 tables flawlessly, and get on the leaderboard, can be a great way to train your employees on relevant skills.

  1. Learning Reinforcement

Catering staff deals with customers on a regular basis and it is important to find ways to reinforce the training. Tools like learning enforcement apps, flash-cards, interim knowledge checks, and standup meetings are an effective method to reinforce training.

These different training modalities are an effective way to train your staff members and keep them motivated.  I would be keen to know of any other approaches that you use to ensure your staff is trained well. Share your comments below or drop a note to info@harbingerlearning.com

Medical Device Sales Training – Time for a face-lift

Medical device sales reps are considered to be amongst the most sophisticated reps globally, as they require strong intellect, skills, and qualification to stay competitive in this industry. With the advent of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and disruptive technologies, there is tremendous focus on the way medical device sales training is delivered. Traditional digital learning methods are unable to match pace and requirements of the modern day sales reps and hence it’s time to relook at this training.

Let’s look at some interesting ways to give a face-lift to medical device sales training.

  1. Modernizing legacy courses

The modern day medical sales reps work in an extremely competitive and dynamic market which demands them to have requisite product knowledge at their fingertips. Online training modules developed in legacy tools kills the overall purpose of effective, on-demand sales training. The need is to convert these legacy courses into new, mobile-friendly formats, which the sales reps can access anywhere and anytime.

  1. Creating relevant micro-learning chunks

Medical device sales trainers are increasingly looking at converting lengthy eLearning modules into meaningful micro-learning chunks which can capture key learning objectives. These chunks can be easily pushed via mobile apps to keep the sales reps updated. For e.g. If there are any changes in FDA 21 CFR, specific updates can be easily pushed via mobile app to sales reps.  Another example of this could be delivering key product information chunks to sales reps. These micro-nuggets can come in handy while pitching to their prospects.

  1. Converting ILTs, webcasts, and podcasts to self-paced digital learning products

Medical device sales training can be in multiple forms including ILTs, webcasts, and podcasts. These formats are effective but it’s really difficult to assess the sales reps’ knowledge once they complete them. It’s also challenging for the reps to recall everything they watched or listened to, after a certain span of time. The solution is to convert such ILTs, webcasts, and podcasts into self-paced digital learning products which have assessments. These products can then be delivered to the sales reps as refresher courses at frequent intervals, which could help in content reinforcement.

  1. Converting the courses to meet modern compliance needs

Traditional digital training may deem ineffective if it doesn’t comply with the latest industry regulations. Modern-day medical device sales training is expected to meet different compliance needs like 508, WCAG 2.0 AA, LTI, and xAPI. So, ensure that the training you develop for your sales reps complies with the industry regulations, and is also flexible enough to accommodate any future updates.

Since knowledge is the foundation of medical device sales and practitioners around the world rely on it, it is critical to present it in the most convenient and effective form. I hope the above approaches come in handy when you strategize your medical device sales training.

Autonomy in Corporate Learning – Content Guidelines To Follow

By definition, autonomy is your capacity to take responsibility for, and control of your own learning, whether in an institution, or completely independent of an instructor or institution. Does this sound familiar? Can you relate to it? Let’s explore further in this article.

There are drastic changes in our everyday life when it comes to learning, compared to a decade back. Autonomy is a big part of this new age learning and is completely transforming our learning experiences. Kids are learning with apps like Byju’s and professionals are making use of portals like Udemy. Watching tutorials to create curated photos for Instagram and vines for YouTube!

Autonomy in workplace learning has been fueled by certain factors in the recent years. Some of them being:

• Inclusion of millennials and gen Z in the workforce
•High mobile usage penetration
• Rise of the gig economy

Users who opt for an autonomous style of learning are usually the ones who want to learn a particular skill in a very short time frame. These users are expected to grasp concepts quickly and put them into practice immediately.

At the core of it, autonomy demands the focus to shift from a culture of training to a culture of learning.  Building right learning content is the first step towards encouraging it. Here are some good practices to remember as you develop autonomous learning content for your organization.

1. Personalize the course
i. Using terms like “I am here” or ‘’you are here’’ for the user’s status.
ii. Allow users to input their name, which the system dynamically fetches through the course.

2. Make users feel accountable
i. Showing awards or rewards that they have earned.
ii. Having negative scoring also helps sometimes.
iii. Having timers to create a sense of urgency.

3. Guide users without overwhelming them
i. Showing roadmaps or scoreboards for the status – this is very important for self-paced learning.
ii. Using accurate signifiers to guide the user – these ensure that no time is wasted in completing user actions or interactions.
iii. Providing options to revisit or skip.

4. Keeping content light and precise
i. Using smaller animations with greater impact, since the attention span of the modern-day learners is quite low.
ii. Animation screens should always be ‘open-navigation’ and not restricted. Users should be able to decide which part of the animation they want to visit.
iii. Do not use jargonized statements and objectives. Keep the language simple. And also, try and limit the total number of objectives to 4, to keep them achievable.

Autonomy is more of a mindset than a practice. What do you think? Are there any best practices that you would like to share? Comment below!