There Has to be a Better Way to Train

If you’re involved with any aspect of training programs at a pharmaceutical company, you’ve probably found yourself thinking, “There has to be a better way.” Currently, trainees sit through mind-numbing classroom and digital presentations on material that seems barely relevant to their work. Then, they’re given hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of pages of SOP’s to “read to understand,” when—let’s be honest—everyone knows there’s absolutely no actual understanding taking place.  

Hands-on activities could offer more value, but the problems only compound. SME’s are overburdened, with little time to devote to training. Equipment and environments can’t easily be made available: at many companies, cardboard boxes are used as teaching stand-ins for critical equipment. And all too often, trainees learn a series of procedural actions (although they’re not always even very good at those), though they have no idea what they’re doing or why. There has to be a better way.  

We strongly believe that training with virtual reality (VR) is that better way. VR offers a host of benefits, but perhaps most impactfully, it allows trainees to learn tasks in simulated environments, receive coaching and feedback, and practice until they’re comfortable and competent: all without using precious SME time and physical resources. Along the way, thoughtfully designed VR can teach the scientific principles and the “why” behind the procedures and best practices. 

I recently had the opportunity to write an opinion piece about VR for pharmaceutical training in the European Journal of Parenteral and Pharmaceutical Sciences. It provides an overview of current training challenges (and their impact), explains how VR can address these challenges, and then provides some predictions for how VR-based training will evolve in the coming years.  

I invite you to read my whole article here: https://www.ejpps.online/post/vol28-1-workforce-training-for-pharmaceutical-manufacturing-operators#viewer-apecq 

And, if your interest is piqued, you might want to read QxP founder Crystal Mersh’s blog (“Controls are Not Enough”) about why QxP developed Virtuosi®, an immersive learning platform that incorporates virtual reality simulations for training in aseptic processing, quality control microbiology laboratory, and cell and gene therapy manufacturing. My colleague Vanessa Figueroa’s blog, “Top 20 Pharma Company Chooses QxP Virtuosi® Platform,” is another good read.  


Tyler DeWitt, PhD, is the QxP Executive Director of Innovation. Tyler is the product manager for Virtuosi® CGT, a VR- and video-based educational platform for manufacturers of cell and gene products. He is also a frequent consultant on Learning and Development programs for pharmaceutical and biotechnology organizations. Tyler holds an Sc.B in Biochemistry from Brown University, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from MIT, where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow.

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