Creating a smoother examination experience for pharmaceutical industry professionals

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) is the trade association for more than 120 pharmaceutical manufacturers in the UK. It offers qualifications in the ethical promotion of prescription medicines for medical representatives employed by its members.

The ABPI exams had previously required candidates to visit three different online platforms in order to register, book and prepare for examinations, before visiting an examination centre in person to take a paper-based assessment.

Plans to replace and streamline the legacy systems around the examination process were accelerated when the Covid-19 pandemic brought an immediate halt to in-person exams and an online examination platform was needed.

We were tasked with developing a new online platform that would:

  • Replace the existing platforms related to the examination process.
  • Allow all candidates to self-register for the platform.
  • Integrate with an e-commerce gateway to allow candidates to purchase examination entries.
  • Integrate with Hubspot for customer relationship management.
  • Deliver e-learning for candidates to prepare for exams.
  • Link to a portal for online examination with live proctoring.

A hub of information and integration

When a previous supplier was unwilling to customise a learning management system to create the single portal needed, the ABPI tasked us with creating the new platform. Based on its own research, the ABPI had approached us with an idea that Moodle LMS might be best suited to their requirements.

During an initial discovery stage, it became clear that Moodle Workplace was more closely aligned with the brief that Moodle LMS. Ultimately, we settled on Totara Learn as the platform that ticked most boxes for the ABPI.

We designed a custom theme that is in keeping with the ABPI branding and its other systems. Candidates self-register for the LMS and can then choose the examination they want to sit. The user profile is integrated with CRM platform Hubspot, so that the ABPI has greater control and insights over its communications with individual candidates.

We integrated the LMS with an e-commerce gateway, Intellicart, so that candidates can quickly and easily purchase their chosen exam as well as any related products. Using business logic based on the user profile, we also prevent candidates from buying exams that they are not eligible to take.

Having bought their chosen exam, a candidate can interact with the platform in a way more commonly associated with an LMS. A programme of e-learning courses provides the support and preparation. These are optional, but many candidates use them to revise for the exam. When they are ready to take their exam, they follow a link to the examination platform, Questionmark, where they sit the test with live online exam proctoring.

This process creates a considerable resource saving for the ABPI, whose staff were previously heavily involved in directly supporting students, preparing for the monthly examinations, managing those in-person at the examination centre, running exam papers through a reader and importing the results into a CRM system.

Exams are automatically graded, with results fed back into Totara Learn’s powerful reporting system so that administrators can check on an individual candidate’s results, the number of times they have taken an exam and other insights.

Streamlining processes for better learning experiences and bigger thinking

Candidates are now free to sit the ABPI exams at a time and place that suits them without the need to travel to an examination centre to sit the exam in person. This dramatically reduces the time and travel costs associated with the exams, and makes the whole examination process, from registration to certification, a much smoother one.

With significant amounts of their time and resources freed by the move away from the labour-intensive examination process to one that largely runs itself, ABPI staff are now able to focus on strategy and long-term planning instead of a succession of administrative and support tasks.

The ABPI plans to maximise these new efficiencies by further refining the customer journey around the LMS, as well as improving and expanding on the e-learning modules so that they ultimately replace a manual used by all candidates.

“Working with Synergy Learning has really been great. Communication and project management was very good, and the technical input was absolutely superb. The team’s Totara knowledge was extensive.”

Mark Smyth | IT Business Systems Manager

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