Consistent and effective training delivery across sites can be a challenge in the context of a global clinical trial with double or triple-digit site numbers and site staff located in all corners of the globe. Although clinical trial training is a specific niche and requires explanation of complex protocol, ICH GCP, and regulatory matters, plus descriptions of challenging concepts, at the end of the day there are simple features applicable to all gold-standard eLearning development that can reduce manual work and make training for clinical trials more compelling, which will improve compliance rates.
1. Know your target audience and keep them motivated
A good eLearning course isn’t just about providing essential information. It needs to motivate the end user. In the context of clinical trial management, site staff need to take the training to ensure they know what is required to safeguard study participants and to mitigate deviations. Site staff work in an environment where they move rapidly between tasks, often switching at short notice to address some unscheduled item. Large tracts of time for online training are a luxury and interruptions are commonplace. It’s important to recognize this and to break down study protocol training into bite-sized chunks. Keeping this in mind ensures the content delivers for your busy target audience.
2. Storyboard your ideas
Your eLearning course must convey the essential aspects of complex, text-heavy protocols and present them in a fluid and easy-to-understand visual format. Storyboarding is the best way to make your eLearning ideas visual! This gets your team working together, converting the content into animated graphics to ensure each scene looks good and the message is clear for the learner. Take the time to think about the story you are telling. What are the most important aspects of the scene and how should they be sequenced to portray the overall message clearly? With storyboarding, everyone on the training development team has strong visualization from the beginning of how the final product will look and how the course will flow screen-by-screen.
3. Resist putting everything onscreen - short and sweet is best
With the best intentions for learner engagement, it can be tempting to throw everything plus the kitchen sink into your course. The end result can be a tedious slog that is a turn-off for learners. A golden rule is that too much media overwhelms. Don’t distract the learner from your key message and make sure what is onscreen is clear and concise, whilst still visually appealing. Remember that the average person's attention span is limited. Short and easily digestible training is best.
4. Optimize for mobile
In today’s world, learners are constantly connected via smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices. Optimizing your courses for mobile platforms through the use of responsive design is critical to ensure your target audiences can complete training on the device of their choice when they choose to. Remember that over 80% of physicians now use smartphones for professional purposes.1 For this reason, it is essential to keep mobility in mind when selecting the type of authoring tool you’ll be using to create your courseware.
5. Make the effort worthwhile for the learner
Inherently, we all like to receive something to acknowledge our success and to make the effort feel worthwhile. Providing certification is a simple but tangible way of doing so. A certificate provides your learners with a sense of accomplishment and also acts as an essential document for inclusion in the site master file. These can be set to generate automatically when a course is completed.
6. Survey your learners
After an eLearning module is completed, surveys are a great way to gather honest, actionable, and insightful feedback. Always adopt a continuous improvement attitude to the eLearning you create to stay ahead of the curve and ensure your courses deliver as you want them to! Remember though, as with the eLearning itself, know your audience. Our target audience is busy healthcare professionals, so we keep ours short and to the point!
References: Smartphones enter UK physicians’ offices. eMarketer. http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Smartphones-Enter-UK-Physicians-Offices/1011264
If you want to learn how Longboat can support consistent training and compliance across all stakeholders involved in the success of your clinical trial, we'd love to talk to you.
If you're looking for your next instructional design opportunity, please contact us. We are always on the look-out for talented people to join the Longboat crew.
Note: Longboat’s ICH GCP (E6) R2 training is listed on Transcelerate's website of GCP providers who meet the Transcelerate GCP training minimum criteria.