The Delicate Balance of Learning and Innovation

By November 26, 2022November 29th, 2022LTEN Focus On Training

GUEST EDITOR – Tracey DeSilva

Learning leaders at Bayer are on a journey to change the employee experience

As training experts, we must balance learning and innovation in a way that advances skills, enhances autonomy, drives flexibility and delivers measurable results. While every learner has unique needs, a strategic overview of foundational skills, developmental gaps and organizational objectives is the critical primary step in creating a plan to upskill the workforce of the future before choosing platforms and
digitizing content.

The rise of digitization has caused the decline of standard, enterprise-wide instructional programs. In their place, curated, personalized learning journeys have taken hold, allowing employees to seek and receive  targeted information to aid them in their day-to-day tasks and developmental plans.

Passive learning delivers mediocre results for both the learner and the organization. Active learning, through engaging platforms with custom content, is where we find the balance between learning and innovation.

Over the past few years, those of us who lead learning at Bayer have been on a journey to change the employee experience and drive early engagement by using innovative learning as a key lever with the new hire. In this issue of LTEN Focus on Training magazine, Bayer’s Renee Landry and Rachel Lamb share what they have done to impact learning journeys for U.S. leaders and new hires, using creative designs, fresh custom content and campaign-like approaches that make learning and development “sticky” and fun for colleagues.

Renee and Rachel have capitalized on the opportunity to brand our culture and the employee experience by incorporating adult learning principles, designing a pervasive learning experience and delivering asynchronous interaction that meets colleagues where and when they are ready to learn.

As a complement to this innovative learning design, the U.S. Pharmaceutical learning team created a radically new approach to initial training for sales professionals that puts them in front of their customers within their first week at the company.

Long gone are the days of firehose learning over four to six weeks (remember when home study binders arrived at our doorsteps?). Instead, we have designed and deployed a drip learning model that covers product information, customer relationship management basics and compliance requirements at a threshold that permits the sales professional to begin field activity while completing remaining
training requirements, in a drip fashion, over the ensuing weeks.

Stay tuned for a future feature story sharing more details about this innovative learning approach!

In the meantime, enjoy reading the article “Bayer’s Innovation in U.S. Learning” by Rachel and Renee, as well as the other learning innovations covered in this issue.

Tracey DeSilva is vice president, learning & development, for Bayer U.S. Email Tracey at


About LTEN

The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network ( is the only global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization specializing in meeting the needs of life sciences learning professionals. LTEN shares the knowledge of industry leaders, provides insight into new technologies, offers innovative solutions and communities of practice that grow careers and organizational capabilities. Founded in 1971, LTEN has grown to more than 3,200 individual members who work in pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies, and industry partners who support the life sciences training departments.

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