Feature Story – Kristina Belyea
Supporting continuous learning puts companies leaps ahead of others
Have you heard the phrase “learning in the flow of work?” Many industry leaders and companies are discussing how it is transforming the way commercial learning and development (CL&D) teams train and reskill employees. So, is this the next big thing to be adopted globally? When implemented, what impact does it have?
According to analyst and author Josh Bersin, “Learning in the flow of work involves accessing quickly and easily an answer or short piece of learning content while you are working.” Well, that does not seem like a revolutionary concept.
Global technological investments in CL&D have been increasing for years to facilitate and improve just-in-time learning. Many companies are going beyond just training and are using this idea to enhance employee experience.
According to Bersin, “employees who spend time learning at work are 47% less likely to be stressed and 39% more likely to feel productive and successful than those who do not.” Organizations are not only investing more in training and learning, they’re looking to harness technology that will support continuous learning and reskilling year after year, increasing the overall value to employees.
Companies that pivot to support continuous learning, while making it easy for employees to engage, will leap ahead of those that hesitate in an increasingly unpredictable labor market.
Life Sciences Impacts
Let’s explore its impacts in life sciences. When discussing how to reach our customers, we’ve all heard the phrase “content is king,” but the same concepts apply to learning and development. We need to be able to offer learners the right content at the right time.
When onboarding and training field teams, this type of “learning in the flow of work” approach allows for readily scalable training at a global level. There is instant access to content and connections.
Take the example of launching a new drug. Quickly onboarding, training and equipping sales reps to speak with healthcare providers (HCPs) about new therapies in a highly regulated environment is not easy. Making it easy for reps to access approved medical, legal and regulatory (MLR) content when they need it, while on the go, is even harder.
Providing learners with content in microformat – quick, snackable bits – that is accessible with the swipe of a finger on a mobile device not only supports your learners in the flow of work, it helps ensure they are referencing the most up-to-date, accurate and approved content.
Another interesting example is that a new layer of global training and collaboration will be enabled when learning platforms incorporate the power of artificial intelligence (AI). When a question is asked, AI can connect the learner with the right answer or the most knowledgeable team member on that topic for a coaching conversation. This AI capability is fascinating since we know how critical it is for our teams to learn and communicate the relevant and approved content.
No matter where you are, we all face similar challenges when training our teams. With all the virtual noise, webinars and meetings, it can be a struggle to keep and maintain the focus of our teams.
Life sciences field reps may find it hard to find the time to dedicate to training when faced with looming deadlines, an evolving regulatory environment and ever-changing customer needs. And, if this is the case, how do we know if the training is being retained and applied in the real world?
When considering the role of a sales rep and the difficulties of finding time to educate and train teams under the pressures of sales targets, “learning in the flow of work” means seizing the opportunity to have a significant impact. That happens by capitalizing on the moments to learn by doing and giving employees a holistic, personalized and supported learning journey. That means offering learners a range of modular content such as videos, podcasts, books and articles of various lengths to reduce learning barriers.
Let’s break down the pillars of a personalized learning journey:
- Accessible & On-Demand
- Curated Content
- Learner Profiles
Bottom line: A personalized learning journey engages the learners where they are and empowers them to take the next step whenever and wherever they can.
How About Performance?
OK, but what does it mean for the company’s bottom line? We know there is a correlation between performance and learning.
Learning behavior can be captured and connected to performance data to help managers identify coaching opportunities to increase commercial effectiveness. In addition, it allows training teams to
selectively address knowledge gaps and interact with various learning modalities suitable to that team.
Learning has evolved into a blend of push and pull techniques, as well as microlearning, gamification and AI, to keep learners involved and to encourage retention and application in the real world to achieve the best possible results.
Why do tailored learning journeys enhance learning enablement in the flow of work?
- Save Time: You don’t have to relearn something if you already know it.
- Drive Learning Interest: When AI recommends learning modules and content based on interest, weaknesses and strengths, the desire to learn grows.
- Content in Modality: The information is tailored to the learners’ strengths, whether through text, audio, video or other means.
The learning model in the life sciences industry has always relied heavily on a one-size-fits-all, in-person approach, so when the pandemic hit, it was an unprecedented shift to virtual learning. With the new technology available, many companies find themselves in the position of having to virtually empower their reps and educate and train them remotely.
A silver lining of this forced change is that training teams realized that developing and launching personalized training was not only possible but, in many ways, easier than “the old way” of training.
As we move beyond the pandemic, we are now entering a time where learning in the flow of work can bring the best of tradition in line with the opportunities afforded by technology to establish a new norm.
Learning in the flow of work also checks the box of giving people what they need, when they most need it, facilitating their ability to learn and retain the information. For salespeople, having the correct information readily at their fingertips at the right time means better interactions and a higher likelihood that the HCP will write your product.
Investing in People
We live in an age where we ask Google, Siri or Alexa anything we want and expect an immediate answer – so, of course, when it comes to learning, why wouldn’t we expect and demand the same?
Today’s employees expect to be part of the team, and that means investing in them. That means mutually beneficial learning opportunities that establish a career path to help attract and retain talent
in a global marketplace. And what better way to see results than by investing in people to ensure they have the skills and tools to achieve results in real time?
Have you already adopted learning in the flow of work? If not, what are you waiting for?
Kristina Belyea is director, content marketing, for ACTO. Email Kristina at Kristina@actoapp.com.