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Biopharmaceutical Company Creates Award-Winning Virtual Learning Curriculum

2021 Brandon Hall Gold Award, Excellence in Learning — Best Use of Blended Learning

Sanofi is a global biopharmaceutical company based in France, focused on human health and dedicated to supporting people through their health challenges. With more than 100,000 people in 100 countries, Sanofi is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions around the globe. Sanofi’s Learning and Development (L&D) team approached Innovative Learning Group (ILG) to partner with them to design and develop the Time-to-Train Virtually curriculum, helping Sanofi shift away from reliance on in-person (classroom-based) learning.

Situation

In an effort to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and equity in learning across sites, Sanofi was starting to transform its programs, which had been traditionally in-person, to be delivered virtually. When the pandemic hit, however, the transformation had to be accelerated. Sanofi immediately recognized the importance of ensuring its trainers, who are experts at in-person facilitation, were set up to succeed at virtual delivery as well.

Solution

The target audience for the curriculum was approximately 3,000 experienced trainers across Sanofi globally. Recognizing and respecting that experience, Sanofi brought together a group of learning experts and trainers from multiple geographies and parts of the business. Together with ILG, this group determined how best to acknowledge and leverage their experience, and close any skill gaps the trainers may have when presenting virtually.

Learning objectives were identified and delivery methods were determined. Careful consideration was given to which objectives could be met in an on-demand solution, which would best be achieved in facilitated sessions, and which could be supported through other resources.

The curriculum focused on the “doing” part of training virtually rather than on the learning theory behind it in order to make the curriculum digestible for all trainers — whatever their background or field of expertise. Many of the trainers are subject matter experts (SMEs) with varying levels of expertise/experience in adult education. In addition, because of the urgency of upskilling trainers to deliver training virtually, the curriculum had to be designed to ensure learning could be applied immediately after its completion, taking learners from awareness to application quickly.

The end solution includes a blend of the following:

Leading Virtual Learning Overview E-Learning

This e-learning course begins with images, video, and audio that simulate the differences between in-person and virtual training to emphasize the need to treat these delivery methods differently. It provides an introduction to trainer behaviors and techniques that, when applied, produces outstanding virtual learning experiences. The e-learning course also helps trainers become familiar with the online technology tools they would be using, including annotation, polling, and breakout rooms.

Based on what is learned in the e-learning course about backgrounds, lighting, camera angles, and appearance, participants are asked to set up their virtual space and appear during the actual Leading a Virtual Learning Workshop as they would if they were the trainer.

Leading a Virtual Learning Workshop

The workshop includes two three-hour facilitated sessions with an independent practice activity in between. It is spread over multiple days to encourage internalization and retention of content, practice, and exploration of resources. An electronic participant guide provides instructions, and space for notetaking and creating a do-it-yourself job aid of best practices.

  • Session 1, Practice, begins with a conversation-starter video of good and poor virtual facilitation, as well as a discussion of the participants’ setups of their virtual spaces. Participants explore the techniques they learned in the e-learning course from the viewpoint of a participant, facilitator, and producer to demystify virtual learning and training. Practice activities require participants to demonstrate interpersonal and technical virtual skills, and use available resources, such as Zoom video tutorials.
  • Independent practice, Application, is conducted by participants who have been partnered into groups of two outside of the virtual workshop. Using mini trainer guides and presentation slides, each group prepared for and practiced presenting two different 10-minute presentations, with each person in the group practicing the role of facilitator for one presentation and the role of producer for the other.
  • Session 2, Performance, is the final session in which participants present their 10-minute presentations to the large group, demonstrating interpersonal skills and virtual facilitation techniques, and receiving feedback.

Community of Practice (CoP)

A SharePoint Teams site specific to virtual learning serves as a repository for participant workshop materials, as well as an informal learning site to be used by qualified trainers after they have completed the curriculum. Participants can also access performance support resources on technology and virtual training, such as quick tips, and links to curated tutorials and articles.

Results

The curriculum has had a positive impact on the L&D team, trainers, and learners themselves. By pivoting to virtual delivery, the curriculum ensured needed training would still be conducted effectively, trainers would be comfortable delivering the programs, and learners would remain engaged throughout the training. In addition, the use of virtual training has demonstrated that it can be as effective as in-person training, and has the benefits of allowing more participants to join from different locations, while saving time and money on travel. 

To learn more about how Innovative Learning Group can help you with your LMS selection, contact us at info@innovativeLG.com.

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