The use of virtual training existed long before COVID-19, but the pandemic made web-based on-demand training a necessity. As on-demand training and virtual investigator meetings become more common, sites, sponsors and other stakeholders have many questions on the subject. Here are a few of the most common questions we receive on virtual clinical trial training:
Q. HOW MUCH SAVING CAN WE EXPECT FROM A MOVE TO ON-DEMAND VIRTUAL CLINICAL TRIAL TRAINING?
Internal data show that delivering on-demand training to sites reduces cost by 60%, gaining 55 enrollment days on average, and it reduces 50% of sites’ time by eliminating redundant training.
Q. OF THE VARIOUS MEETING PLATFORMS, ZOOM, WEBEX, GOTOMEETING, ADOBE CONNECT, ETC., IS ONE ESPECIALLY GOOD FOR TRAINING?
No one platform is more appropriate than another. It depends on your specific needs. Ask yourself:
- Is an attendance record important to you?
- Is security important to you?
- Is interactivity important to you?
- How large is the audience? Is it an internal meeting with just your study team or is it investigator meeting with clinical site staff?
- Do you want everybody to have an open telephone line, or do you want to control when questions are asked?
Each situation has its own solution, depending on how you answer those and other questions.
Q: AS WE’VE SEEN IN EDUCATION SETTINGS, THERE IS SOME SENSITIVITY ABOUT ASKING PARTICIPANTS TO BE—AND STAY—ON CAMERA. HOW DO WE NEGOTIATE THAT ISSUE DURING YOUR TRAINING?
It requires empathy. Someone may be having personal issues at home and isn’t comfortable being on camera. You want to try to get everyone on camera, but we need to be sensitive. Everyone’s situation is different. It might be case by case at times.
Q: PRESENTERS IN VIRTUAL MEETINGS HAVE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF PROFICIENCY. THEY MAY NOT BE ABLE TO USE POLLING, OR THEY’RE UNSURE ABOUT HOW TO GET THE VIDEO UP. THIS IS AWKWARD IN A MEETING AND COULD BE EVEN WORSE IN A TRAINING SESSION. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE?
It’s important to rely on those with expertise in running virtual training, even if it’s just internal training for a small group. It makes sense to invest in a platform to make it professional. So many things can go wrong, and you don’t want that headache during your live meeting.
Here’s what one of WCG’s clients has to say: “That’s why we have used WCG for even our more informal internal meetings, and everyone’s live on microphone. For me running the training, being that facilitator, it made my stress level much lower because I knew they were there to provide support; we had presenters with different issues, but we had that support, and it went very smoothly.”
Q: HOW DO YOU KEEP PEOPLE ENGAGED AND ATTENTIVE DURING VIRTUAL MEETINGS?
Start with icebreakers, as with any meeting.
Every six to eight minutes, put in an audience-response question. That can be anything. It can be testing their knowledge or a quiz on material content that’s being presented. It could be something to do with how their site is equipped or what their recruitment strategies are.
Set aside times for Q&A. Typically, presenters like to move through their presentation. At the end, they’ll say, “I’m happy to take any questions.” Then, after a 10-second pause, and then the agenda moves on. We recommend that you set aside 15 to 20 minutes for questions. Publish on your agenda that there will be a Q&A session. Then, allow people to raise their virtual hands. You give them an open mic, and you have communication between the sites and the study team.
Have some polling questions. Keep it interactive. Consider a chat box: Some people just aren’t going to be comfortable to speak up and ask a question. They’ll be more comfortable with a chat box that allows them to communicate with the presenter and not the entire audience.
Q: IF WE MOVE TO ON-DEMAND TRAINING, HOW DO WE FORM TRUSTING CONNECTIONS WITH SITES AND INVESTIGATORS WITHOUT IN-PERSON MEETINGS?
By including live sessions. If your training is largely on-demand, you still have the opportunity for a live virtual that allows the site staff to communicate directly with the study team. It’s especially important to hold live regular live Q&A session.
Be sure to record and transcribe these sessions so salient question and answers can be added to the ongoing FAQ documents housed in the on-demand training solution for ongoing access.