COVID 19’s Influence On Education In Pharmaceuticals & Freeze Drying

The past year has been a challenge for us all, on a global scale. For many, adjustments have been made to the parameters of life that we are accustomed to and we have had to adapt to change, vocational and work related training and learning being no exception.


The Covid-19 pandemic has had an effect on almost everything, including traditional teaching and learning methods, such as in-person classroom based ‘go to’ options that we are accustomed to for the freeze drying and pharmaceutical industry. Although technology was already being heavily used to support traditional teaching methods prior to the pandemic, this type of virtual education has been in development for many educational institutions, meaning that whilst the facilities were mostly available, they were as support tools rather than the entirety of the learning experience. This meant that many people – educators and students – were catapulted into an unfamiliar learning environment where technology was suddenly the only viable option. This is comparable to the move from traditional methods of communication, to a more digital world where smart phones and tablets became, for most, the only method of communication that would allow us to stay in touch during the initial pandemic stages and subsequent lockdown periods.


At the beginning of 2020, we were all unaware that things were about to change so drastically, particularly in the diagnostic and pharmaceutical industry which had to ramp up production at a extremely fast pace, to help with the crisis as the pandemic spread throughout the world.


The teams at Biopharma Group have worked hard to adapt during this period of change, by finding new, innovative ways of working, whilst also keeping up with the dramatic increases in demand for equipment, tests, therapies and vaccines required throughout the pandemic. In some cases, team leaders have set aside commercial value in order to do what could be done to help reach better and faster conclusions.

Early on during the Covid-19 crisis, scheduled training/education courses were put on hold to make way for high priority projects, such as developing diagnostics and vaccines which utilised freeze drying as a viable and successful production that would become long-term solution. It was realised that along with these developments, came the need for increased emphasis on learning and education to support the evolving needs of those utilising freeze drying in their production, as well as for the pharmaceutical industry as a whole which was under immense pressure to get products out to the general populace fast, but also safely. As more companies and research institutions were becoming involved with the international effort to produce a sufficient number of testing kits and effective vaccines, more people needed to understand how to successfully apply lyophilisation to produce a stable, robust and repeatable product.


During the first half of 2020, Biopharma Group invested in the promotion of a series of webinars that were free to access by participants, which provided information about the work we were delivering in the fields of diagnostic and vaccine development. Feedback from within our industry sectors on the importance of sharing freeze drying resources, reaffirmed the need for lyophilisation information to be made widely available, regardless of the limitations of the pandemic restrictions.


It is clear that over the past year, that digital forms of communicating via apps such as Teams, Zoom and the use of webinars, have become more widely accepted as a more legitimate method of providing supported learning when compared with traditional teaching methods. Our presenters have adapted quickly to the use of increased technology and some have developed new skills for engaging a large audience in new ways from behind the camera, instead of in person, whilst also adapting to a new hybrid-style of working environment combining the office with working from home.


To accommodate a global audience, we have now produced a collection of pre-recorded webinar resources which can be watched from anywhere, anytime. These can be purchased via a platform for viewing at your own convenience and as many times as you wish during the set purchase period along with the PDF’s of the slide decks. This method of learning may also be a better fit for some, as it allows for learning at your own pace. Questions can be emailed to our presenter team members and replies are promptly returned to address any queries, outside of what would usually be a direct, ‘live’ question and answer session. On completion of the modules with a course, a certificate of attendance will be sent to the registrant.


The Biopharma Group team members are continually reviewing and developing the ways in which we can deliver our educational content, to ensure that the educational experiences remain consistently engaging and informative whilst offering all the benefits that technology have brought to our adaptive learning environments. These methods also allow us to deliver content on a larger scale and to a wider community, allowing access to lyophilisation training to all those that need it, regardless of the circumstances or location.


In conclusion, the use of technology has provided many benefits within our learning sphere and not only has it created a more dynamic method of teaching, it has also made our products and processes more accessible and efficient. Whilst working together with students and teachers alike from across the globe, we have established a new way of working which we hope will continue to develop and help us deliver integral learning across a wide number of freeze drying applications and industries. Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted so many lives, we are pleased to have achieved something positive out of the challenges that remote learning development has presented us.


For the future, not only does this new way of working provide a type of disaster recovery plan for our learning programs, but it also feeds into our continual commitment to sustainability growth, by reducing unnecessary travel. Perhaps one day, we may be able to offer courses that allow us to feel like we are sat in a room with our colleagues and tutors in a virtual environment, whilst being sat at home…VR anybody?