In recent years, the medical device quality, regulatory, and clinical environment has evolved tremendously. Continuous training has therefore become a key issue for manufacturers in this sector. What are the obstacles and opportunities? Strategiqual discusses this topic.
It appears that, from an ideological point of view, organizations often adopt a vision of continuous training towards human development that converges with their strategic outlook. Practically speaking, however, the people subject to such training exhibit very moderate enthusiasm. The following question arises: how do we ensure that training becomes an asset to the organization and its employees?
Current obstacles (or "brakes") and the "levers" (or mechanisms) to counter them
Continuous training enables professionals already in the workforce to develop their skills and knowledge. Training must therefore ensure that new expertise is acquired with relevance to a practical application within the organization. However, there are multiple major obstacles or "brakes" to the good implementation of continuous training activities:
an imbalance between regulatory compliance issues and educational issues, to the detriment of the meaning given to this training;
a theoretical complexity that is not adapted to the practical implementation of the knowledge acquired in training;
a training dynamic based on top-down formats where the learners are placed in a passive position;
a lack of time and an absence of autonomy for the learners who no longer have agency over their training;
If there are brakes to the realization of relevant and effective continuous training, there are also levers or mechanisms to increase its efficiency:
To give back meaning (Why): training should meet precisely defined educational objectives for personal development, as well as the organization's strategic issues;
To explain the theory (what): the presentation of the principle, the regulation, and the theoretical basis of the subject;
To detail the method (how): this is about creating coherence between the desired meaning of the training, the desired theoretical elements and their operational implementation. For this to happen, it is fitting to pay particular attention to a central element: the training content. The trainer, a field expert, has the mission to make this content educational and dynamic.
Favouring content quality and repetition
Did you know that during training, the attention span of an adult declines after 20 minutes on average? Repetition, therefore, allows new notions to be registered in the long term memory.
The trainer's objective is to ensure a balance between detailed concepts and the quantity of information presented during the training. It is crucial to not favour quantity at the expense of quality. So, it's a matter of using flexible, dynamic and repetitive methods to anchor important notions in line with the professional realities that the training aims to enrich.
For example, if vigilance is handled by the individuals that manage and implement it daily, it becomes complex to maintain the knowledge of those that are only involved in this process from time to time. Yet, it is still essential for each employee to have an understanding of their role and the importance thereof in the handling of vigilance, even though they encounter this once every six months. Their knowledge must be "reactivated" regularly.
For this reason, it is more relevant to favour short and flexible training formats such as e-learning where the learner is independent in his/her journey. Another solution is blended learning which gathers multiple training formats and allows one to benefit from the advantages of each of them. For example, this method may comprise e-learning, where the theory is done independently by the learner, and an in-person lesson that promotes exchange, in-depth study, interaction and application to the structure.
Food for thought: If you are being trained in life-saving techniques without practising cardiac massage, do you think you can apply this knowledge to a real-life situation? Transpose this question to the topic of risk analysis, for example. Would you feel fully capable to apply risk analysis in your organization without having it practised first during your training?
"Serious games": acquiring true skills
Leaving a training course with the question "what does that mean?" in suspense means that the theory was retained but the practical application was not addressed. It is important to systematically integrate practical illustrations in training to meet the developmental needs of the learner. There are many practical applications of theoretical concepts: sharing concrete experiences, practical cases, workshops, experiments, or "serious games".
Serious games combine training and fun while presenting the topics addressed or applying the knowledge to a practical case interactively and entertainingly. The goal is to learn while having fun. These games allow the learners to be involved in the decisions, to make mistakes without having a complex, to motivate, and to create group cohesion. The educational impact is very important and enables the acquisition of not only knowledge but skills, too. It is literally a matter of applying the expression "child's play", revealing one's ability to gain confidence and competence in an activity.
Continuous training and personal development
In this article, we have shown that some methods and tools transform continuous training into an asset for the organization as well as its employees. The onus is on the trainers to find the right balance between the addressed theoretical concepts and their practical application, intending to develop new skills.
At the individual level, continuous training can also be a vehicle for evolving towards new activities or a new function within the organization. Involving an organization's employees in an efficient and educational continuous training program is truly a win-win logical approach.
By calling on the strengths of the organization and trusted partners, you will be able to meet these new challenges.
Please note that this article is a translation of the work done by Marie Lebarbier and Aymeric Lebon, Strategiqual. The original article can be found here.