On Monday, June 5th, I started day one of the 46th Annual LTEN Conference in Nashville, Tennessee at the Gaylord Opryland. LTEN is the Life Sciences Trainers and Educators Network, previously known as the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers (SPBT) and prior to that, for us older alumni, the National Society of Pharmaceutical Sales Trainers (NSPST).
I’ve attended this conference almost every year for nearly 20 years. After all, my foray into Learning and Development after graduate school was in this market, working on product training for market leading brands like Pfizer’s Lipitor® (atorvastatin calcium).
The LTEN conference offers a unique inside view of the Life Sciences industry and how the Learning and Development functions within these organizations are challenged to drive efficiencies, compliance, and performance improvements to ultimately result in better business outcomes, whether that be in sales, marketing, or R&D.
I attended several sessions and explored the Expo floor as well. Here is what I found…
A key need that was apparent across many organizations in attendance was leadership development and the ability to adapt and thrive in today’s fast-paced world. Driving a culture of self-driven development with accountability and offering personalized learning pathways and plans was a hot topic of discussion. It wasn’t surprising, as this is also a key focal point in Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends. Specifically, Deloitte says,” High-performing leaders today need different skills and expertise than in generations past, yet most organizations have not moved rapidly enough to develop digital leaders, promote young leaders, and build new leadership models.” Maher in the past year or two has performed leadership curriculum analysis, re/design for clients to address this newer model of leadership. The discussion at LTEN reinforced this is indeed still an important challenge for organizations.
Microlearning is a shift for companies, and is a different approach to design and learning, but is indeed being embraced in Life Sciences. It was great to benchmark Maher’s approach to microlearning and online Academy design in a session on the setup and value of a Corporate University to facilitate both structured and self-driven learning. It walked through the various components of a university, how to curate content, and the importance of microlearning assets being available for just-in-time and just-as-needed performance support. It also reinforced the value of a centralized user / learner experience for all types of learning, providing consistency in messaging, as well as reducing redundancy of work that can occur in siloed organizations.
The third main take-away for me at this conference was stepping into the realm of virtual reality learning. The examples that were most appealing were those that allowed you to experience a patient experience, or a doctor’s experience. Very impressive work coming out in this space.
On a personal note, I’ve had a little flavor of downtown Nashville and the outstanding food, including southern mac-n-cheese with hot chicken and some fried pickles. And, without doubt, the live entertainment scene is incomparable! I won’t comment on the Stanley Cup situation, given I am a Penguins fan in Predator territory, beyond saying those folks are very proud and loud fans. I look forward to returning to explore more southern charm and enjoy further the great city of Nashville.
Maher & Maher is a specialized change management and talent development consulting firm based in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The firm is U.S. Department of Labor’s national technical assistance provider supporting the Employment and Training Administration’s implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and a number of other priority initiatives of the administration that advance and promote the public workforce system. Maher is also currently involved in a number of sector strategy, regional planning, organizational strategic planning and training initiatives in multiple state and regional areas. For more information about our services, visit our website or call us at 1-888-90-Maher.