Training has evolved significantly in the past decade. The growing number of millennials in the work force, the need to do more with less, and the 24 hour always-connected work cycle, have all contributed to an environment where traditional training methods need to accommodate the new norm. In pharma this is especially true. Add the complexity of clinical information and the need to know the intricacies of Market Access, and you find yourself pushing the limits of retention for any learner.
Fortunately, there is a solution to improve retention of information and drive toward more sustainable outcomes. The answer is MICRO-LEARNING. Simply put, micro-learning takes the full body of information that a sales rep must know, and breaks it down into small, digestible, focused training activities. By offering a more manageable quantity of information, the learner can more sustainably retain information and rapidly apply the information in practice. Self-directed micro-learning can be delivered through in-person or virtual training and can take the form of app-based podcasts, verbalization practice, assessments, gamified learning modules, competitor analyses, etc. Micro-encounters, alternatively, offer a complementary counterpart to micro-learning that is immersive and delivered as live, real-time, group activities.
So, how do we effectively integrate micro-learning and micro-encounters into a training program? Keep these best practices in mind:
Begin by defining step-wise learning objectives. Limit the scope of the learning objectives as well as the time and information necessary to achieve them.
Micro-learning and micro-encounters need to be immersive, active, and motivational while enabling sales reps to travel their own customized learning journeys.
Use multi-media and gamification approaches to enable all learning styles to access the information. This is particularly important in pharma where millennials comprise half of the sales force. Recognizing that this generation often prefers video over other media provides an opportunity to create training in the format they find most engaging and appealing. That said, this group is also highly discerning when it comes to production quality and will quickly discount the training if not at the level they have come to expect.
Never fall to the temptation of incorporating too much information in a micro-learning experience. It may seem minor, but even the smallest scope creep of information could defeat the true value of micro-learning.
Frequently assess learning through application rather than pure recall. The transfer of knowledge to long-term memory depends on embedding those neural connections through practice.
There is no question that live training experiences at NSMs, PoAs, and launch meetings have tremendous value in creating an inspiring, collaborative, consistent learning experience for the sales force. However micro-learning is the key to building on the strong foundation created at that live event to ensure sustainable applied knowledge and to ultimately equip your sales force with the skills they need to succeed.
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