Recent headlines in the global news media (vaccine plant closure due to contamination in the USA, Suez Canal blocked by a grounded cargo ship) remind us of the strategic value of education and training for health, commerce, and any kind of human activity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted traditional education at all levels and induced a massive shift to online learning in many parts of the globe. Some believe that the unplanned and rapid move to online learning, with no training, insufficient bandwidth, and little preparation, will result in a poor user experience. Others believe that a new hybrid model of education will emerge, with significant benefits. Finally, some others wonder whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist post-pandemic and how such a shift would impact the worldwide education market.

Controlled studies have shown the effectiveness of distance learning for adult populations to be comparable (or even higher) to that of conventional onsite education, particularly related to retention and time to acquire new information, because the students can learn at their own pace from any location. Therefore, the changes induced by the pandemic may be here to stay in some form after the crisis is over.

Even before COVID-19, there was already a high growth and adoption in education technology, with global EdTech investments reaching US $ 18.6 billion in 2019. The overall market for online education was projected to reach $ 350 billion by 2021 (World Economic Forum, 2021).

The IFAPP Academy was well prepared to manage the impact of the pandemic among our students. The outcome metrics for the 2020 cohort and those from the ongoing 2021 cohort are comparable to those from previous annual cohorts starting in 2017. The metrics for student performance, satisfaction, and behavior/attitudinal changes (Kirkpatrick’s Training Evaluation Model – Learning Skills from MindTools.com) are highly satisfactory. Because of its quality and consistency, graduates from our program may receive credits for additional postgraduate education at King’s College London (Diploma, Masters in Global Medicines Development) for programs starting in 2022, if interested.

There have been successful transitions among many universities all over the world.  King’s College London has joined this group and so the KEATS (King’s E-learning and Teaching Service) was created. A dedicated Digital Learning and Assessment group has been tasked to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of blended resources to enable flexible teaching and learning (King’s College London – KEATS (King’s E-learning and Teaching Service) (kcl.ac.uk). The IFAPP Academy will work in partnership with this group to support the new Masters in Global Medicines Development to be offered next year.

New approaches to adult learning education and strategic collaborations with like-minded institutions are under consideration so that the IFAPP Academy continues with its growth and value propositions to forming competent professionals able to bring better medicines to the marketplace and leverage health in our communities.