Driving Clinical Impact Through Effective E-Learning: Practical Tips
During Covid, many companies developed capabilities to provide eLearning resources, both for internal training and for external education. In this episode, MAPS speaks with Sucharita Kundu, Senior Content Strategist at Wiley and Professor Michael Kirby, currently the Editor of Trends in Urology & Men’s Health about best practices for eLearning development and publication. We’ve transitioned from eLearning provided from a company-centric perspective to courses designed based on deep understanding of an audience’s content needs and interaction preferences. This episode teaches listeners to create eLearning resources that are relevant, credible and evidence-based.
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Garth Sundem 00:00
Welcome to this episode of the Medical Affairs Professional Society podcast series: “Elevate”. I’m your host Garth Sundem, Communications Director at MAPS. And today we’re talking about e learning with Sucharita Kundu, Senior Content Strategist at Wiley, and Professor Michael Kirby, currently the Editor of Trends in Urology and Men’s Health. This episode is sponsored by Wiley. Okay, first now with the capabilities we largely developed during COVID. We have so many options for delivering learning, internally. And externally we I mean, this podcast is one of the examples. So Professor Kirby, I was hoping maybe you could get us started by generally helping us understand when eLearning makes sense.
Michael Kirby 00:51
Okay, well, thank you. It’s a very good question. Of course, the two key things are ease of access, and cost. Keeping up with the latest research is a real challenge for most health professionals. And awareness of new guidelines, very important. And general practitioners in the UK get over 200 guidelines a year. So, with regard to cost, you save money on travel, you save money on time, the organizers save money on providing lunches and meals and accommodation. So it’s a very cost away cost effective way of helping people reach knowledge gaps. And of course, in medicine, we all need accreditation, an easy way for people to get their accreditation. And at the end of the day, what we’re trying to achieve is to improve clinical practice, and share it experience because you can’t get experience without doing the job, or listening to people who have been doing the job. So I think we we we’ve made tremendous progress. And I’ve done over 30 webinars this in the last 12 months. And we always get excellent feedback on this. And we need to build on the progress we’ve made already. Because, you know, the whole medical fraternity has gone online. And certainly, the world market is expected to be worth about $350 billion in 2025.
Garth Sundem 02:42
So, this is for eLearning. The world market for eLearning?
Michael Kirby 02:47
Oh, my yeah, yeah. So, so you’re in the right space, I think the other thing is, you know, eLearning is so flexible, you can log on 24/7. You can do it online, you can self pace it. And I think you add value by having experts there live. So we found having expert panel, questions and answers really makes a big difference. And I think having a multidisciplinary panel, absolutely critical. Because we want to engage with specialties we don’t normally engage with such as dentists, and doctors. That’s been a good example of that. So I think we can access multiple people who want to learn. Yeah, I think it makes sense
Garth Sundem 03:41
Okay. So we’ve been talking about the external value of e learning in delivering in this case, we were talking about guidelines for E credits to healthcare professionals who need them. This is external facing eLearning. And I wonder if Sucharita if there are too hard on the factors that make eLearning also attractive internal?
Sucharita Kundu 04:09
Yes, definitely. Very interesting question. And I agree with Professor Kirby about, you know, the external facing engagement of V learnings. It’s about the latest scientific research raising awareness bridging a gap in a therapeutic area. And also in cases of accreditation, where we driving, you know, behavioral change in clinical practice. So it’s very important in this in this current, you know, region that we are, but internally eLearning can extend the value of live conferences and events, particularly for knowledge sharing collaboration. And again, back to what Professor Kirby mentioned about cost when financial resources are pretty limited. The online learning method is definitely less cost intensive and can facilitate you know how wider access to multiple learners. And again, going back I think some of the points that Professor Kirby brought, it’s it’s kind of overlapping. Again, it’s about learners can learn from anywhere at any time. So not only is the reach more, we’re also kind of adding flexibility to these learners.
Garth Sundem 05:22
But it’s interesting that MAPS is definitely in this space. You know, we have a very distributed membership with 11,000 members something at this point all over the world. And, you know, we do have in person conferences, but then we reach people, primarily through online resources, this podcast being an example of that. One thing I’m wondering for our own purposes, Professor Kirby is with so many people joining this space, what can our audience do? And specifically, what can MAPS do to make our eLearning content stand out? How can we drive engagement? And maybe even how can we measure this?
Michael Kirby 06:09
Well, I think the key thing is to have relevant content. Okay, so we need to find out what people need to know. And once we know that, we can provide learning objectives. And then we can provide a scope for that. And we can deliver it. So what we need to do, of course, because there’s so much on offer, we need to make these podcasts discoverable, perhaps through social media, Apps, Google ads, through journals. But I think at the end of the day, you need a multi channel approach, because this is going to be multidisciplinary. So you need a multi channel approach. If people are going to be watching these episodes, then they need to be very digestible. Okay. We don’t want to produce any indigestion, that’s for sure. And we can do that by making it engaging. And I think particularly interactive, and certainly what I’ve discovered in the last year or so is, you need to have questions and answers, you need a good chairperson, make sure that the questions that the audience are putting do get answered. And if it’s not timely discussion, they couldn’t be put up in the chat format. I think the other thing, of course, to get people to engage is to make it accessible for mobile phones. 25% of people the moment use a mobile phone, compared with about 35%, using a laptop or similar device. The other I think good thing for the people organizing the sessions, is that the information is there, how many people are visiting? And how do they spend on this? How much time they spend on that? And I think how often do they come back? Because that tells you how effective your being is if people keep coming back to each new session you do so the bottom line is any thing you produce has got to be credible. It has to be evidence based, well referenced, and with some key opinion leaders and experts on the panel. And I think what will happen is then that will allow the companies watch or the hospitals watch to retain their talent, their workforce talent, and you know, enthusiasms infectious. And the idea is that we will infect people with enthusiasm and motivation to to better for their patients at the end of the day.
Garth Sundem 09:11
And what’s there’s a lot there that strikes me and I have about 15 things I would like to follow up on but you know i What resonates with me is your description of designing eLearning content from an audience centric perspective, you said relevant, and once you know an audience’s needs, then you can design the learning objectives to meet those needs. One thing I see is organizations so often deciding the messages they want to communicate and then trying to, I don’t know strong arm their audience into engagement. And you’re saying that the perspective is exactly or a successful perspective is exactly the opposite. You know, knowing your audience first and then provide Doing a the relevant content, be the omni channel approach or multi channel approach so that they can access it easily. And another thing that you said that I think really resonates is then not losing that audience after a one time engagement, but but knowing who they are, and pulling them through and into future engagements, Sucharita, is there anything that you wanted to add about how to make our content stand out? I mean, search Google as you brought up as well, but is there anything you would add to the successful design or publication of engaging eLearning?
Sucharita Kundu 10:40
Yes, I think I want to go back to one of the points that Professor Kirby brought up about the use of mobile phones, one of the things that I very quickly learned, while designing these, you know, Wiley knowledge hubs eLearning courses, is that if I just looked at a laptop and designed my website, that that wasn’t really the most effective engagement channel for my learner’s we realized, and through Wiley surveys that as my pension, that about 25% of the medical information is now being accessed through mobile phones. So any user design, anything, any asset that we’re creating, really, we need to keep in mind that we have to have a very easy user interface that’s easy to navigate clear instructions, apart from obviously, the peer reviewed, quality, credible content that Professor Kirby has been speaking about. So that’s one of the things that comes up. And the other thing that came out of our healthcare professional surveys was that the source credibility remains really an important factor for health care professionals. So we’ve seen that online channels through which we’re promoting an engaging these eLearning courses, is, is a very important factor to drive, you know, greater influence and impact.
Garth Sundem 12:03
That’s an interesting point. And this is one of the things that MAPS, I wouldn’t say struggles with, but it’s a question we’ve asked ourselves, you know, can we just use a trainer equipped with a slide deck to deliver content? And the answer? are, you know, we’ve come to through collaboration with our members is no, we need the credible expert delivering the content, even if the content is is, you know, is something that has been built ahead of time, is that which what you’re seeing as well, like the person or the persons delivering the content still matters?
Sucharita Kundu 12:46
Yes, yes. In fact, from one of the conversations today with one of my stakeholders, the feedback was, you know, we want a moderator who’s a subject matter expert, even for a live webinar, where the moderator basically is probably just reading off audience questions. So yes, it definitely matters who is delivering the content and whom they’re listening to? Very very important.
Michael Kirby 13:09
Ideally, you want an independent, steering parallel. So that it’s not it’s not seen as a promotional thing is seen as a learning for the benefit of, of patients or customers, whatever.
Garth Sundem 13:26
Oh, interesting. Can you talk a little bit more about that? So even if it’s, if if it’s Wiley or if it’s MAPS, sort of hosting the content? You’re saying that the design, it’s useful for that to remain independent? Could you talk a little bit more about that?
Michael Kirby 13:46
Well, I think that that takes away any bias. And I think people are very concerned about marketing and bias. I think. If there’s any suspicion of that, then some value is lost. So I think some independent advice and I think it’s always helpful to have patients on any steering committee themselves actually need to hear the patient voice.
Garth Sundem 14:16
Meaning that for CME steering committees, that that including the patient, along with experts brings another perspective and also and also credibility.
Michael Kirby 14:29
It certainly does. And for several of our webinars, we’ve had patients talking about their experience of their illness, and they always get a higher rating than the speakers. So yeah, the entry value there, they really like to hear people’s experiences.
Garth Sundem 14:54
That’s a really, you know, that’s a really nice practical tip that I hope that a lot of our listeners will will take away I mean, that’s a thing that could be implemented, I think across a lot of our listeners eLearning platforms is let’s involve patients, and let’s involve the patient voice, you know, perhaps in a public facing panel role, but also then, in the design of content from a from a steering perspective, is that are both of those uses? Patient? Relevant? Okay.
Michael Kirby 15:26
Yeah, I think so. And also to have an independent delivery channel, that might be something which, you know, providers might find attractive. So you’re taking it taking the delivery away from the promoter.
Garth Sundem 15:44
That that’s an interesting point as well, that I think will resonate with a lot of our listeners who are working with company sponsored channels, that I wonder if a collaborative approach for some of our listeners, you know, using independent panels, and then also panelists from their companies, on independent channels might might be an attractive eLearning format for them. But I’m sorry, I’m taking us into the weeds. So to read, let’s let’s, let’s get back to let’s get back to the content, and how we develop eLearning courses. How do we how do we create content that is relevant and credible? I think those two words really resonate with me relevant and credible.
Sucharita Kundu 16:33
Right, a very interesting question. And I’ve learned a lot while doing these, as Professor Kirby mentioned in some time earlier, that we really need to understand what the healthcare professions really need to help them in their clinical practice in the real world. So what we do is we start out with very thorough needs assessment of the gap or the gap analysis. So we really look at what are the specific gaps? What are the challenges, what are the learning objectives that would help the healthcare professionals and start really from there to build out the eLearning course. So once we have this thorough needs assessment, we go into the clear learning objectives and the outcomes. Once that is set, my next step is to have my brainstorming session with my independent editorial panel, where we get into one room discuss these are the questions How can we solve these? What do you see from your experience, and so that they then we proceed to the process of content selection, which again, takes us back to the credible and evidence based content. So ATP is always value eLearning courses that are based on up to date, evidence based information and guidelines. And we expect these courses to be accurate, reliable, and from credible resources. So clear references and citations really help the credibility of the course. So one of my first jobs is then to do a literature search. Along with the editorial panel, we do brainstorming sessions, we set up what we’d like to learn or if I can say the key take home messages, we want our learners to, you know, take home at the end of this course. So once we have that, then we proceed to the next step of content development. Professor Kirby, would you add to that, from your experience while working on the knowledge gaps with us?
Michael Kirby 18:42
Yes, I think so. I think what I have valued is the multidisciplinary approach, really. And you’re quite right. Two key words are relevant and credible. But the key words you missed out is evidence based. Really, and that’s where the, you know, the literature review comes in. So yeah, keeping up with advances in medicine is such a challenge. And it really is in moves on so fast. But of course, our patients expect us to be up to speed. It’s our responsibility to do that. And, you know, this is this is a very good way to approach it.
Garth Sundem 19:31
Okay, well, that Okay, so that’s interesting. I, I remember years ago interviewing researchers on problem solving, and they said that one of the characteristics of an expert problem solver is they would spend more time characterizing the problem and and then only then would they go about the solution process. And Sucharita what you describe strikes me as is very similar in the, you know, designing an effective eLearning course, requires a lot of time on the front end in conceptualizing the needs of your audience, and then only then solving the problem of how to address those needs in an evidence based way. It in terms of in terms of I don’t know, the time or the effort or the energy that you spend designing eLearning programs. Is that how you see it? Do you spend a lot of time on the front end understanding that ecosystem before you dive into the course content?
Sucharita Kundu 20:38
Absolutely. You’ve hit it. Bang on, it’s absolutely right. A lot of work goes upfront in this thinking about how to get the most beneficial eLearning course, if I may say, out to the learners. So we do a lot during this first step before we go into the actual development. But I would also not take away from my learning instructors, the portion that they do during the learning development. So once we have these clear learning objectives, the next thing is to think about what type of formats we want to use. So in case you know, if there’s something that we want to do about a disease awareness, and just raise awareness about this disease area, sometimes you’ve seen a masterclass video is probably the best way going forward with our care. Well, the key opinion leader versus maybe when you’re looking at treatment options for this disease area where a case study might be more relevant. And you’d really want somebody to have a one on one interaction with key opinion leader where webinar with an Ask the Experts section where they can chat, actually, or pose the question to the expert might be helpful. So I would say yes, to answer your question. We do a lot of the work upfront, but then a lot of thinking or iterate of improvements go while we’re actually developing the course too.
Michael Kirby 22:11
I think the other thing to see, Suchi, is the fact that we need to learn from the feedback and the evaluation. Certainly my experience in the last year has been the feedback has been so helpful in letting us know what we’ve done well, and what we could do better. And I think we need to make sure that we always give due regard to the feedback.
Sucharita Kundu 22:39
Absolutely agree and distract from the experience that I have. We’ve seen infographics are really a hit amongst a lot of the healthcare professionals. I’ve had 4000 downloads in a month for one infographic. So obviously, we realized that that was something that is really resonating with the learners. So absolutely, Professor Kirby, we need to take the feedback in from our learners from our repeat visitors and see what they’re really engaging with, or what type of content they’re engaging.
Michael Kirby 23:13
Yes, we found the same thing with some of our guidelines, if you do a nice one page short version. Wow, people love that.
Garth Sundem 23:25
What an interesting question in eLearning, I Oh, well, we’re over time already. But I, you know, I want to put a put a peg in the idea that I feel like eLearning used to be a company centric, you know, information dissemination tool, where we would say, here’s what we’re going to teach you. And it’s a one off course. And when we’re done, we’re done. And now we’re talking about designing from the perspective of the audience. You know, we’re talking about not having these be a single moment in time but pulling them through longitudinally to meet the ongoing needs of our of our audience, with audience feedback in mind, using all sorts of different channels, using all sorts of different formats. It’s not just didactic. And now I want to go to your webinars. So thank you, Sucharita, and Professor Kirby for joining us today. To learn more about how your organization can partner with Wiley to drive eLearning success, find their webinars, online MAPS members, don’t forget to subscribe. And we hope you enjoyed this episode of the Medical Affairs Professional Society podcast series: “Elevate”