Innovative educational approaches for pharmaceutical technology training

5 October 2022

Pharmacy, Geneva University Hospitals (HUG),
Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Western Switzerland (ISPSO), Section of pharmaceutical sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Training is one of the pillars of quality assurance in pharmaceutical technology. Only well-trained and qualified operators will be able to ensure that the preparations produced meet the quality requirements. Traditionally, training is based on reading regulations and procedures, followed by learning technical skills through mentoring. However, this approach has some drawbacks. Reading texts is not very stimulating and the rate of retention of information is low: it is therefore necessary to imagine more active learning methods. The learning of technical gestures is generally done in real life, with a risk of providing preparations with defects: an approach in a simulation environment is therefore highly desirable. Finally, the training approaches rarely address the issue of teamwork, which is essential for the proper functioning of our preparation units.

It is therefore time to drastically change the way operators are trained, based on the main principles of pedagogy. In order to promote effective and satisfactory learning, three main principles must be applied: keep the lessons short (attention span decreases after 20 minutes), promote interactive teaching and introduce edutainment. The new paradigm is that of "blended-learning": teaching basic knowledge at distance (e-learning / micro-learning) and bringing learners together only to work on technical skills (know-how) and non-technical skills (interpersonal skills) in an interactive and fun way. In these face-to-face teachings, forget the ex-cathedra courses and replace them with interactive approaches, such as peer learning (learners become the teachers), simulation and games. Error rooms or escape games are good examples of using edutainment to make learning fun.

These new approaches are beginning to gain ground in the field of pharmaceutical technology. They are very effective (better than traditional teaching), they are efficient because they rationalise the time of all those involved, and they bring pleasure and satisfaction to learners, but also to teachers. So why deprive yourself? Just one last piece of advice: you have to learn how to teach. So don’t hesitate to take a training course in this field, in order to master all the issues involved in setting up a training course, from the initial design to its evaluation.

Conflict of interest: nothing to disclose

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