· 6 min read
Little did I know that when I delivered our Cogent- approved RP/GDP course in March 2020 in Watford, it would be the last time I would be delivering in-person training to a group of enthusiastic attendees for the remainder of the year!
Like all other businesses, NSF had to quickly adapt its business model from being client facing to a virtual method of delivery, while maintaining our high-quality standards and the interactivity and application of knowledge needed for effective learning.
We redesigned all our in-person training courses to be delivered as either self-paced eLearning or as virtual instructor-led classes, or a combination of both. This combination of blended learning enables learners to layer their knowledge through videos, tasks and assignments at a time convenient to them, and also attend several virtual instructor-led live classes to meet the experts, work through case studies and scenarios, ask questions and debate with other participants. The virtual instructor-led classrooms are focused and engaging with the use of polls, whiteboards, annotation tools, chat functions and teamwork sessions in virtual breakout rooms. They have been designed to ensure full participation and interaction to maximize learning, rather than PowerPoint-heavy webinars.
We found that this solution embraces different learning styles, provides an opportunity for content to be revisited and allows reflection time, as well as still providing live access to the experts. It also has the added benefit of being accessible from anywhere in the world, from the comfort of the learner’s home or place of work.
We found that once our participants have experienced interactive virtual training and were familiar with the technology used, they came back for more!
Virtual training has resulted in more people registering from across the globe. It has been great to run public courses with participants from the UK, Europe, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong and the U.S. It really enhances the training with different perspectives and region-specific interpretations. We have also completed client-specific training and adjusted our working day to suit their time zone. The photo below shows a recent GMP training course with learners from China, India, Indonesia and Thailand!
Looking to the future, we conducted a survey of our global pharmaceutical, medical device and dietary supplements training clients to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on their training and education plans, their perceptions toward virtual and remote training, as well as their thoughts on returning to in-person training when it becomes available.
We learned that we need to provide choice for our customers. Virtual training will continue to grow and needs to be flexible, on demand, recordable, engaging and accessible.
In-person training is still the preferred delivery method by the majority as it allows attendees to build important networking relationships with other professionals, as well as the opportunity for more in-depth technical teamwork activities, and factory visits for certain courses.
As a result, we will continue to improve our virtual training offering, as well as planning for in-person training courses as soon as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and it is safe to do so.