WORK :: PRODUCT TRAINING
ORTHO CLINICAL DIAGNOSTICS
REINVENTING FIELD SERVICE TRAINING
FOR A VIRTUAL WORLD
Ortho Clinical Diagnostics’ Field Engineers (FEs) are the most well-known faces of the company within customer laboratories. They are responsible for installing new Ortho analyzers, for making annual visits for preventive maintenance, and for tending to any mechanical or software issues that arise during day-to-day operation.
Historically, FEs have gone through mostly in-person training whenever they certify to support a new analyzer. They are assigned online prework in the days leading up to the classroom event, then train at an Ortho training center for 1–3 weeks, depending on the complexity of the analyzer. This training, however, is not adequately focused on critical skills, nor does it have adequate reinforcement once FEs are in the field.
In an effort to increase learning comprehension and retention, reduce travel-related costs, maintain high levels of productivity, and support emerging markets, Ortho turned to Zimmet Group to help them re-envision FE training that relies more on digital delivery and ongoing engagement.
Our mission: Develop a digital-first experience that left trainees better prepared in less time and at lower cost.
We would start with Ortho’s flagship transfusion medicine analyzer, the ORTHO VISION® Analyzer.
LOOKING THROUGH A NEW LENS
Zimmet Group began by examining the existing training curriculum and separating the wheat from the chaff. The existing digital prework program was nearly 40 hours of page-turning e-learning, which many learners reported “just clicking through to check a box” without getting much value.
Similarly, while the classroom training was seen as valuable, it focused far too much on operational theory and edge-case repairs. Learners might latch onto unimportant takeaways while forgetting key information. By refocusing on the mechanical and software issues that FEs experience most often, learners could spend less time in class, learning what they truly need to know.
To help us make these core curriculum decisions, we interviewed a global panel of exemplary FEs and FE trainers. By analyzing their input and drawing conclusions of our own, we designed a roadmap to VISION certification — every learning component, every day, every step of the way — from the first time that learners log in to the training app to the day they achieve final certification.
DEVELOPING THE NEXT LEVEL
Soon after project kickoff, the push for digital-first training took on even greater significance. Ortho’s entire training model was forced to change due to the global pandemic. They faced new restrictions on in-person training and travel, and arguably an even greater urgency to support a strained global healthcare system.
With the roadmap validated and approved, Zimmet Group shifted into development mode. To create a dynamic experience that stays interesting throughout and to account for the preferences of different learners, we built training assets across a variety of modalities.
“How It Works” Videos
Since a large portion of the FE’s job involves break/fix repair, they need to see how the components of the analyzer fit and function together. Because many FEs like watching and learning from video tutorials, Zimmet Group scripted a series of How It Works videos, which played a key role in introducing each subsection of the program. They also play a big part in post-certification performance support; FEs can access and watch the videos as refreshers in the moment of need.
Zimmet Group also created e-learning “micromodules,” which would follow each How It Works video and allow learners to recap what they learned, intuit more about the purpose and function of the analyzer’s various subsystems, and dig deeper into its most commonly encountered repair needs.
Zimmet Group adapted the flow and feel of each module depending on what was being taught. If it focused on mechanical components, we made it feel like learners were moving, disassembling, and reassembling parts. If it focused on using software, we simulated the actual environment.
Our goal was to create e-learning experiences that felt hands-on.
These micromodules focused not just on analyzer repair, but on customer care and proactive service as well. After all, to Ortho, product uptime isn’t the sole focus of the FE role; they must also be skilled relationship-builders who help sustain the company’s industry-leading levels of customer satisfaction.
At key points in the training program, participants have to take and pass a scored assessment. As much as possible, assessment was done at a comprehension or application level, validating that FEs can understand and apply what they learn.
The Checkpoint Check-in assessments are highly interactive and visual, aligning tightly to the material in the videos and e-learnings.
Thorough testing and validation occurs at key points of the program.
Zimmet Group designed a webinar experience that embodied the spirit of the program — digital delivery that can effectively take the place of hands-on instruction.
Using a robust yet affordable multicamera setup, trainees are “in the room” with a trainer and a VISION Analyzer. The trainer’s primary role is to act as a set of hands; the participants must demonstrate their understanding by instructing the trainer on how to perform actions, such as loading patient samples and running tests, removing and replacing mechanical components, and diagnosing and resolving error codes.
Application Design and Gamification
To host the virtual aspects of the program and facilitate webinar signups, Ortho adopted a new LMS. Zimmet Group customized visual components for the application so that both program and platform would feel unified.
We worked with the platform provider to not only adjust colors, fonts, and controls to match Ortho brand standards, but we also created an interactive gameboard to help learners navigate to their daily tasks.
We also created a full badging system for the program. Trainees unlock badges and earn leaderboard progression based on certain achievements. Some are earned as part of normal progression through the program; some require going above and beyond the call of duty.
We worked with Ortho to customize and gamify their learning platform.
Guiding Learners and Mentors
Finally, Zimmet Group created guides to ensure that trainees understood everything they were supposed to accomplish every day — both within the learning platform and outside of it. Trainees opened one of these guides at the start of every day, read about that day’s theme, reviewed a list of training topics, and worked through a checklist of tasks they needed to complete.
Mentors are another new and integral part of the program. Each trainee is assigned a mentor who will support them every step of the way — answering technical questions, facilitating educational visits to customer sites, and certifying the FE with a final in-field evaluation. To prepare them for their critical role, Zimmet Group created a Mentoring Guide with helpful descriptions and checklists for every aspect of the learning journey.
The pilot program is underway, with trainers certifying globally and new participants to follow in early 2021. Ortho anticipates that the new training approach will cut time to certification significantly, while also reducing expenses for travel and accommodations. Existing FEs also have more time to support current customers while certifying on a new analyzer.
Ortho anticipates year-over-year savings of more than $400k as a result of this training program’s overhaul.
Ortho also expects that FEs trained under this new model will demonstrate expected levels of performance in less time, with fewer calls to internal support teams.