I recently had the pleasure of attending LTEN, an annual event for life sciences trainers and educators. This year's conference was held just outside Denver, Colorado at the Gaylord Rockies - which features a beautiful backdrop of the rocky mountains. As someone who had never been to Colorado before, I can’t imagine a more perfect place to stay.
I was so excited when I was asked to attend this conference. Being a fully remote member of the marketing team, I knew it would give me a chance to meet some of my teammates in person. Additionally, I'd have the opportunity to connect with some of our customers, many of whom attend the event every year.
Overall, it was a very well orchestrated event with some excellent sessions and speakers, entertainment and opportunities to network. There was a great energy as everyone was thrilled to be together in person. While I learned a ton about the challenges and priorities of the life sciences industry, here are my top three takeaways from the event.
Effective Measurement Of Knowledge Retention & Application Is Critical To Sustainable Training
Attendees that came to our booth expressed that they struggle to effectively gather data on the success of their learning programs. This makes sense since most traditional learning tools only offer completion data, as opposed to engagement and proficiency data, which can be used for program refinement and individualized coaching. As a result, employees typically consider training, such as an hour-long LMS course, to be a one-time event, when it really should be thought of as the beginning of a learning journey. Qstream’s microlearning and knowledge reinforcement platform really resonated with these folks since it gives L&D a way to not only reiterate critical information immediately after longer courses, but also to measure proficiency around whether or not that information is retained and applied in the field over time.
Science tells us that humans are wired to forget just about everything they learn. In fact, about 80% of what we learn is forgotten within 30 days. Qstream uses the spacing and testing effect to combat the forgetting curve. The platform deploys quick multiple-choice assessments to help learners retrieve and reinforce information right before they forget it. If they answer correctly, they see their score go up; if they answer incorrectly, they are provided with a quick explanation of the right answer and are asked the same question again at a later date to ensure proficiency. This idea of flipped learning -- where learners are tested first and then taught through explanations that are provided after they answer each question -- is a hit with employees since they don't waste time on concepts they have already mastered and get individualized content to build off their existing knowledge. Qstream also offers real-time leaderboards to add a layer of friendly competition among peers, which was also a hit with attendees.
During his session titled, “Evaluating The Effectiveness Of Training,” Qstream Director of Sales-Life Sciences Paul Kortick shared that formal training only accounts for about 10% of employee performance. Other more heavily weighted factors such as on the job learning (70%) and social interactions, mentorships and coaching (20%) are unfortunately out of L&D professionals' control. This means that training cannot be directly correlated to productivity and can only be used to measure skills and knowledge gaps. Paul explained that this can be achieved only by asking the right questions and that these questions should be clear and concise, relevant to each learner and aligns with business goals.
Life Science Professionals Are Focused On Developing A Distributed, Remote Workforce
Like most industries, the pandemic has forced life sciences to usher in new ways of doing things, especially when it comes training a remote workforce - and doing so in a way that is engaging and impactful. Scalability of training was something that often came up during the event. According to McKinsey, less than half of companies are successful in implementing large-scale learning across departments and regions. As a result, L&D teams are pivoting their action plans and looking to invest in technology that allows for individualized learning across multiple departments and teams.
Specifically, scenario-based questions, like those available in Qstream, make learning more tangible and accessible at all levels of an organization. And since Qstream’s technology flips learning - only offering personalized education on concepts that are not mastered - each person has a learning experience that is relevant to their role and level of proficiency. These quick-hit questions also help combat the fatigue people are experiencing from back-to-back virtual meetings.
Since the onset of the pandemic, companies have also been dedicated to addressing mental health among their workforce. One of the keynote speakers delivered a very thoughtful message on this topic. Shola Richards, an award-winning Director of Training, author and workplace activist, shared the importance of creating kinder work environments that help employees thrive personally and professionally.
His work spawned after a suicide attempt early in his career as a result of incessant workplace bullying. He told attendees to let these three questions guide their interactions with colleagues:
- Is it kind?
- Remember that your words and actions affect others
- Is it true?
- Trust in the workplace is critical
- Is it necessary?
- Doing what's necessary is not always easy, but very rewarding in the end
You can learn more about Shola’s story and methodology here.
Our Customers Are Awesome!
I can’t wrap up this recap without giving a special shoutout to our incredible customers. While several scheduled some time to meet with us during the event ahead of time, many stopped by our booth to say 'hello' in person for the first time in two years, give us an update on how things are going with Qstream and learn what's new with our learning and knowledge reinforcement technology.
I was blown away by the incredible feedback we got from users and it was great to see that Qstream is making a profound impact on these organizations. One woman popped by just to say "thank you" for what Qstream has done for her teams and others shared that our platform has been critical in training and developing a remote workforce throughout the pandemic. I knew Qstream was extremely valuable to so many, but these conversations really solidified it.
Our customers and other attendees were excited to learn more about Qstream Connect, our new integration and automation solution, especially when they heard that they could easily connect microlearning to the apps their employees use today, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. Others were impressed with a common scenario we like to share that automatically enrolls new team members into a "welcome" Qstream about the company's mission and vision. Since many new employees are coming on board in remote environments, this offers an easy way to assimilate them into the company and build engagement right off the bat.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by the Qstream booth - familiar and new faces alike! We hope all attendees got as much out of the event as we did and we’ll see you next year in San Antonio.