ErgomedPLC is a full-service clinical research organization, specializing in the areas of oncology, neurology, respiratory and rare diseases. The company was founded in 1997 and has grown over the years into a globally recognizable brand that operates in 55 countries.
ErgomedPLC is best known for its work in the pharmaceutical industry. The company develops new drugs that help people in all clinical stages. Ergomed has provided and managed clinical development, trial management, and pharmacovigilance services for over 100 clients: these range from top 10 pharmaceutical and generics organizations to small and mid-sized drug development companies.
As a group, ErgomedPLC currently consists of three separate (but closely tied together) departments:
Clinical research service (CRS) Co-development service Pharmacovigilance and Medical Information services
ErgomedPLC asked us to build them a custom LMS (learning management system). The role of a Learning Management System varies depending on the organization’s objectives, online training strategy, and desired outcomes. However, the most common use of LMS is to deploy and track online training initiatives. Typically, content is uploaded to the LMS with the goal of making it easily accessible to people who need to learn from it.
Since ErgomedPLC is an extremely popular company that operates in 55 countries and has three different branches, a lot of people want to be part of it. This, of course, creates a lot of chaos for the ErgomedPLC employees who are in charge of hiring new personnel. People of all qualifications keep sending their resumes to the company, which forces the ErgomedPLC hiring team to spend a lot of time picking the right applicants from the pile and adequately training them.
To help them overcome these issues, the company asked us to build them a system that could help them effectively train all those who want to eventually get hired by ErgomedPLC. The company needed a system that could host videos, quizzes, and other learning activities.
The LMS they requested from us was supposed to work in SharePoint and operate on SharePoint’s infrastructure. This enabled them to both store and access all their learning courses and employee data on the platform.
Storing huge amounts of data in SharePoint lists and libraries is never an easy task. Especially when that data comes in the form of videos. For instance, ErgomedPLC created a training course that had over 80 sections. Each of those sections had at least one video, one quiz, and other types of “activities” (as the company representatives said) that they added under “n”. The “n” files, a.k.a “activities” were usually documents that the applicants needed to download, fill in, and then re-upload; something like tests.
In addition to this, ErgomedPLC requested from us that we create a system where those who were going through their course were unable to skip questions and fields and move forward through the material without completing each step. So, no skipping through the video, no jumping from one scene to another, etc. This is how they wanted to ensure each applicant goes through all the materials and fully learns the lessons.
Only after the applicants have seen the video in total can they move forward and unlock the quiz. And once they complete the quiz, they can move to the last and final part of the learning course. In order to progress through the sections, they need to pass the quizzes with more than 70% accuracy.
After they complete all the tasks, the applicants receive their certificates that serve as proof that they’ve mastered their training. The certificate is supposed to be sent to applicants’ email directly once they pass the course.
With this certificate, there are eligible for a job in ErgomedPLC. This document serves as proof of their competence and expertise, and it plays a significant role in the hiring process.
We decided to build this particular LMS as an app. We thought about it as a Web API that could save and retrieve data back and forth from different SharePoint lists.
We built the entire app in VueJS. That was our presentation layer under which we utilized APIs we built to save and retrieve data from SharePoint lists.
Once again, as you have probably guessed if you read our previous case study - the hardest part was to include video materials in SharePoint lists. SharePoint has a storage capacity limit.
The file size of videos has to be somewhere between 5MB and 11MB for SharePoint to accept them, which is hardly possible if you want to preserve the quality of the videos. So, we needed to think outside of the box for this one.
We ended up using Vimeo and its API for controlling the video and how they’re played. Vimeo also gave us the ability to remove all options from its video player, except play/pause. With the help of Vimeo, we were able to develop a system that detects when a person has finished watching the video. Only then can they save their progress and unlock the quiz.
As for the certificate part, we used an out-of-the-box SharePoint document library template that has the ability to make documents and replace placeholders in the documents with the metadata we saved in the document library item. Once that was done, we created a workflow to send an email notification to the participant once he or she accomplished the required steps.
In the end, we came up with a very complex LMS that soon started to be of great use for ErgomedPLC. Even though the company has a lot of applicants that demand different types of training, our solution ended up being a great fit for them.
In addition to satisfying our client’s needs, LMS we built started to show value to people outside of ErgomedPLC as well. Most of the applicants were really pleased that they got a chance to go through the course, learn something new or polish their skills and build their knowledge. The chance that they got to earn a certificate from a company like ErgomedPLC meant a lot to them.
Our system served more than 3000 participants and enabled them to enjoy different courses the client added in its LMS. More than 80 courses were created and the solution proved to be very fast, easy to use, and reliable. The app was great both for the company and its partners.