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Our client is a leading contract research organization (CRO), offering comprehensive drug development solutions for a variety of industries. They provide preclinical, clinical, and post-market phases of drug development, product life cycles for medical device and diagnostics and development services, and regulatory support for chemical testing and crop protection. With their 70,000 strong global employee base, they offer unmatched global scale and decentralized clinical trial capabilities, supporting clinical trials in around 100 countries.

Their scientific expertise and world-class CRO capabilities have made them a global leader in nonclinical safety assessment, clinical trial testing, and clinical trial management services. They  provides drug development services across multiple therapeutic areas that include cardiovascular, diabetes, endocrinology and nephrology, immuno-oncology, infectious diseases, oncology, ophthalmology, rare diseases, and pediatrics.



CommLab India’s association with the client started in 2010 with an eLearning project worth USD 4000. 

They had heard about our company and holistic service offerings through our marketing efforts (blogs, webinars, etc.). They chose to try us out as we are one of the very few eLearning vendors offering multiple services under one roof – classroom to eLearning conversion, Flash to HTML5 conversion, eLearning translations, and LMS services.

After working on a few other projects, we were offered this Onboarding Program in 2017. We had partnered with the client on approximately 60 projects to date, working with 6 stakeholders from the organization till now.


The requirement was simple – to develop a comprehensive onboarding program for their new hires. What made it not so simple was their requirement for cutting down the time spent by new hires in the classroom, without affecting the effectiveness of the training. And the fact that the client was in the process of going through a couple of major acquisitions in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry made it just a bit more complicated.

How does a leading CRO cut down on training time to introduce new hires to the company’s general functions and prepare them for their specific roles?

Blended Learning for Onboarding and Skill Training – A Success Story 1

Through a comprehensive blended learning program, of course! The training was to be delivered over 5 days. 

The training on days 1, 2, and 3 was for general induction. It included introducing the new hires to different functional departments in the organization (HR, Finance, and IT, etc.), and training them on how to access and navigate the company’s Learning Management System (LMS). It included 26 hours of instructor-led classroom training (ILT) along with a mandatory eLearning course on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH).

Days 4 and 5 were reserved for role-specific training that was different for Clinical Laboratory Services and Clinical Development Services. This role-specific training was to be delivered through eLearning that the learners could complete at their own pace. In addition, the new hires were also to undergo online training on Clinical Data Management on writing effective queries and using software tools to track status and manage discrepancies. The total training for days 4 and 5 came to around 10 hours of ILT and 6 45-minute eLearning courses.


The blended approach for onboarding training leverages the best of classroom training and online resources. CommLab India needed to develop instructor-led training material for onsite classroom training (PowerPoint presentations, facilitator guides, and participant manuals), standalone eLearning modules, videos, job-aids, and worksheets. The team that worked on the project included a dedicated project manager, 12 instructional designers, 1 visual designer, and 3 courseware developers.

Blended Learning for Onboarding and Skill Training – A Success Story 2

Instructor-led Training (ILT)

Each classroom session included an icebreaker that ensured new hires got the opportunity to interact with their peers. Short group activities made use of flipcharts and handouts to involve all participants.

The facilitator guides included:

  • Course agendas with timelines for completion and explanation of topics covered
  • PowerPoint slide decks or SharePoint site links to course material
  • Instructor notes on how to teach, and the materials necessary to deliver the instruction
  • End-of-chapter exercises

The participant manuals included:

  • Student notes for the PowerPoint decks
  • End-of-chapter scenario-based and/or task-based exercises
  • A journal to jot down reflections
  • Handouts for activities


The eLearning courses were designed to deliver role-specific training on the tools required to be used by Clinical Data Management professionals. These courses used ‘Watch-Try-Do’ simulations to take learners through the steps of using the tool and giving them a chance to practice working on the tool in a risk-free environment in the course. The courses were developed in Articulate Storyline.

The complete training provided 21 learning hours including 6.5 hours of eLearning and 14.5 hours of instructor-led classroom training. The total number of deliverables included:


ILT Session Presentations
eLearning courses
Activity Handouts

The Challenges

One of the main challenges in delivering the training was working within the aggressive timelines. The client already had the onboarding training scheduled for their Asia center, and so the training material had to be ready to be rolled out within 6 to 7 weeks.

Another major challenge was sorting through the tons of training content that was with the organization, a large part of it acquired during the many mergers and acquisitions. The content needed to be gone through carefully to identify relevant content and discard what was not.


The training was very well received by the learners. The blended learning strategy helped:

  • Cut down the time new hires spent in the classroom
  • Provide learners the best of both worlds – classroom and online – to address diverse learning styles
  • Leverage technology for rapid upskilling of new hires, resulting in a positive learning experience


Here is what the client said about us on eLearning Industry.



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