Areas Where E-learning Can Help the Pharma and Manufacturing Sectors
E-learning has been adopted to impart compliance training. In fact, 98% of organizations surveyed in a research by Towards Maturity admitted to their preference for technology-enabled compliance training. This is not surprising because of the ease with which training can be tracked and records maintained to fulfill mandatory requirements by regulators.
Here, I would like to share how eLearning can benefit two sectors - pharmaceutical and manufacturing.
Compliance Training In the Pharmaceutical Sector
If there is one sector where regulatory policies are stringent, it is the pharmaceutical sector. Pharma companies have to adhere to a number of regulations imposed by various agencies. If you are in a pharmaceutical company, you would know that you cannot afford to make mistakes as they can prove to be costly. Therefore, you have to train employees about the rules, regulations and recommended guidelines to prevent these mistakes. E-learning is very effective and can help train employees quickly, as mandated by the regulators of the sector.
Good Manufacturing Process Training
Precision and accuracy are very important in pharmaceutical companies as it is a matter of life and death. Self-paced online courses or eLearning modules can be provided to your employees to supplement what has been covered in a face to face training session. This serves as a reinforcement of the procedures that is valuable and essential to retain the knowledge for a long time. Breaking down the modules into small byte-sized units enables employees to assimilate the information and understand requirements of regulatory agencies such as FDA and WHO. Simulations, videos and animations can be effectively used to make sure that best manufacturing processes are shared in such a manner that employees transfer the knowledge on to their jobs.
Educating about Electronic Records and Electronic Signatures Guidelines
In the digital age, it has become a common practice for companies to maintain documents in the electronic form. This practice has lot of Do’s and Don’ts that employees need to understand. Staff members also need to be aware of the consequences, in case of a breach. Information in the form of a lengthy document, containing the Do’s and Don’ts and guidelines, is difficult to retain. However, small eLearning modules that provide easy and clear information about guidelines by regulatory bodies with respect to electronic records and electronic signatures (ERES) are comparatively well-received by employees and effective in communicating the message accurately. Again, videos, animations and simulations can be included in the instructional strategy.
Training to Promote Good Laboratory Practices and Good Clinical Practices
The importance of Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) and Good Clinical Practices (GCP) cannot be undermined. More than a classroom method, self-paced eLearning is better to demonstrate the importance of stipulated process to be followed in a lab or clinic. There is a one to one interaction that ensures better focus and concentration on the subject shared. Laws pertaining to clinical trials, safety precautions, ways of handling of samples and laboratory equipment etc. are some of the subjects that can be dealt here.
Prevention of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Violations
There are several legislations that are in place to protect intellectual property rights (IPR). Employees need to be trained on new legislations pertaining to intellectual properties and enforcement requirements. E-learning can be effectively used to ensure employees are presented with different case- studies pertaining to the violations of IPR. Employees will be able to understand the gravity of the situation and consequences of IPR violations. Just-in-time learning can be provided in the form of small modules of 1 to 2 minutes that can be accessed through multiple devices.
Pharmaceutical companies deal with hazardous substances. Employees need to understand and adopt safety precautions, when using these substances, failing which there could be serious accidents costing human lives. Face to face training sessions can be followed up with eLearning courses to make sure employees understand and follow standards and guidelines laid out by bodies such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in USA or Work, Safe Work Australia in Australia. Safety procedures can be demonstrated through scenarios and simulations enabling employees to better appreciate and understand safety procedures and adopt them in their job situations.
Compliance Training In Manufacturing Sector
Manufacturing companies need to impart training on many regulatory and compliance matters. Here are some ideas on how eLearning can benefit the manufacturing sector, particularly in relation to training on compliance matters.
Code of Conduct, Anti-bribery Policies and Information Security Training
Training on conduct, ethics and information-security can be imparted very effectively through lots of examples and scenarios. These make it easy for employees to understand how the information is relevant to the situations that they are likely to face in their jobs and adopt the right approach in such situations.
Safety training is perhaps the most mandated of trainings, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Best Practices during jobs and emergencies are other aspects, which are required to be dealt either as a part of safety training or independent training. With eLearning, small modules and courses can be developed to make employees understand the mandatory requirements as well as guidelines with respect to SOPs, health and safety, using real job practices that employees can relate to easily. Videos can be effectively used to impress upon employees the risks to themselves and the organization in case of a breach of the well-laid out guidelines.
Process and Quality Training
Quality is an important aspect in the manufacturing sector, and it is achieved by adhering to the defined process guidelines at every stage of the manufacturing process. Depending on the sector, you will have to follow the quality guidelines stipulated by a regulatory body or the organization itself. With eLearning, it is possible to let employees understand the entire process framework, their individual roles and the need to adhere to the process to ensure that the products are as per the quality guidelines.
Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
GMP regulations cover multiple facets of manufacturing such as production, hygiene, maintenance of equipment and so on. It is the onus of the manufacturers to ensure minimization and elimination of defects/contamination in the products. Organizations face grave penalties like product recalls, seizures, fines and in some serious cases imprisonment. Therefore, it is necessary that employees appreciate and understand the importance of following GMP regulations. E-learning allows informing as well as training employees effectively, in an engaging and interactive way through scenarios and case studies.
These are just a few instances where eLearning can be used for training in the manufacturing sector. There are many training programs that can be offered through online methods, in an effective manner.
Organizations in both pharmaceutical as well as manufacturing sectors would benefit from periodic reinforcement of training. However, employees are likely to suffer from ‘compliance fatigue’ if training is monotonous and static. Instead, if you adopt eLearning, you can make training dynamic, and non-linear, giving employees more control on how they go about completing their training modules. Refresher training can be put together with the original eLearning modules with minimal effort, thereby reducing costs, while ensuring that employees continue to get trained. If you are in pharmaceutical or manufacturing sectors, do share how training is done in your organization. It would be interesting to learn the challenges that you face while providing training or while taking training. Do share your thoughts.