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With medical research, disease management strategies and therapies constantly evolving and informing best practices in healthcare, lifelong and continued professional development is essential for medical professionals.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt learning at all levels, including the delivery of timely medical and health education. With in-person lunch and learns, seminars, workshops and conferences off the table, the industry is moving quickly, innovating and developing programs that leverage technology to deliver important scientific and health-related information.

The good news is there are several advantages to virtual professional development.

1. Convenient

On-demand online learning/training, as opposed to instructor-led training, enables learners to access information at a time and place that’s convenient for them. People can tackle information when they are in the right frame of mind for learning, plus they don’t have to take time out from a busy workday to attend a one-time seminar or factor in travel time.

2. Effective

The Research Institute of America reports that e-learning boosts retention rates by 25 to 60%, compared to retention rates of 8 to 10% for face-to-face learning. This ties back to convenience—as opposed to attending a one-time workshop, people can participate where and when they are in the learning mindset, plus they can work at their own pace, even going back to review information they didn’t fully understand the first time around.

3. Engaging

Modern learners tend to be visual learners and virtual learning that combines videos, speakers and, increasingly, simulation technologies (screen-based simulation, augmented reality/AR and virtual reality/VR) provides unique advantages for healthcare educators and facilitators to communicate and illustrate new procedures, techniques or skillsets. In addition, virtual learning can be highly interactive and personalized with the right tools and technology.

4. Efficient

Virtual learning is a time sensitive and highly scalable solution that’s ideal for the widespread dissemination of important information across different geographies and even languages. The demands on attendees in terms of time and effort are less than in-person learning, which means programs are easily scalable to accommodate more learners.

5. Consistent

With virtual learning, there’s little in the way of distractions or getting off topic. Most lecturers to facilitators have their own approach to teaching or speaking, but virtual learning does away with variables by ensuring that information delivered is controlled and on-message. Each learner goes through the same experience and has access to the same information.

6. Cost-effective

When factoring in travel-related expenses, such as hotels, flights etc., or even commuting, parking and meals, the costs associated with in-person learning can add up for both the attendees and provider. Investing in a solid, well designed, virtual learning program pays off in a way than a one-off event can’t—while the information is relevant, you can use it again and again for new audiences, plus there are added savings in terms of venues and materials.

7. Safe

Research, best practices and advances in therapies and other treatments continue to develop, despite the pandemic. Sharing this information with healthcare professionals and their patients is essential—virtual learning is the safe solution for the times we are in.

Find out how the Bridge Medical Communications team can bring your virtual learning program to life. Contact us today!