The Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), a global association with more than 18,000 members in over 70 countries, called upon Web Courseworks (WCW) to design and develop a series of richly interactive, accessible professional development courses that would both meet the needs of its current members and expand ACRP’s existing catalogue in order to attract new members. In addition, ACRP required the implementation of a flexible, SCORM-compliant learning management system (LMS) to integrate and manage these courses, as well as other previously developed courses. Both the courses and the new LMS were part of ACRP’s overall strategy to grow the number of professional development offerings available for its primary audience—those involved in clinical research—on a global scale in line with professional competencies that ACRP had already established.
Prior to course development, WCW recognized that in order to accommodate ACRP’s needs, there were particular challenges to overcome, including:
- The complex, highly specialized nature of the clinical trial industry
- The need to incentivize learners to practice otherwise mundane tasks, such as the memorization of industry guidelines
- The need to condense a large volume of information into an engrossing course that can be taken in as little time as a half-hour
To overcome the technical, highly specialized nature of the material within the clinical trial industry, WCW worked with ACRP’s recommended Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from around the globe. This also helped to ensure that the courses were properly attuned to ACRP’s global audience. In order to meet the challenge of encouraging learners to practice what might be regarded as “boring” material, WCW used an instructional design approach that effectively “gameified” the content—that is, it incorporated game aspects such as a scoring system and varying degrees of difficulty that give learners an incentive for learning the material. Along these same lines, an increased level of interactivity was used throughout each course in an effort to make the course more engrossing. From basic interactivities to branching scenarios that feature real-world situations and details, a high level of course interactivity repeatedly allowed WCW to present a large amount of complex information into an interesting, palatable activity for learners.
The nature of the 11 courses varied: some were intended to familiarize learners with rising trends within the industry; others were meant to clarify and reinforce well-established industry practices. Ultimately, in conjunction with ACRP’s needs, WCW developed a series of 11 courses that:
- Utilize HTML5 to create a flexible, mobile-friendly design that can be accessed by an array of devices
- Employ a high degree of layered interactivity and avoid a basic “read-and-click” approach
- Target the different roles within the clinical trial setting, as well as varying degrees of experience, so as to be accessible to a larger audience
To meet ACRP’s course integration and management needs, WCW also provided ACRP with WCW’s SCORM-compliant LMS, CourseStage, and then facilitated the integration of ACRP’s existing catalogue of courses and their new WCW-developed courses into the LMS. ACRP’s usage of CourseStage was predicated on its need for a robust LMS that allows for flexibility, consistency, and ease-of-use in the delivery of its professional development services. CourseStage delivered on those needs as a scalable, SaaS LMS solution capable of integrating with ACRP’s Avectra netFORUM AMS, their CMS as well as functionality for learners to self-report their learning activities happening outside of the system.
The comprehensive professional development services are now globally available through CourseStage LMS that ensure the effective selection and delivery of courses on the key competency areas as defined by the ACRP professional development pathways and by the changes in the clinical research field. Both ACRP and Web Courseworks view their relationship as a broad-based, long term partnership in cultivating the ACRP professional development business plan and are continually working toward the next phase of the initiative.