NPS MedicineWise is an independent not-for-profit organisation whose programs are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. Its services help people to make better decisions about medicines and medical tests, leading to better health outcomes.
Challenge - finding an LMS for both staff and customer education and training
Using information, resources and tools, NPS MedicineWise provide health professionals and students with learning and continuing professional development (CPD) to keep up to date with the latest evidence and provide individuals with the tools and knowledge to make better decisions. NPS MedicineWise has approximately 110,000 active registered online learners each year.
NPS MedicineWise had an existing Moodle based Learning Management System (LMS) instance. While they had become accustomed to its feature set and admin workflow, it was about to become unsupported.
They were looking to create an up-to-date, robust and more streamlined version of their LMS that could meet their customer needs as well as their education and training needs for their staff.
NPS MedicineWise use their LMS to provide both publicly available Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses, and training accessible only to NPS MedicineWise staff.
The learning and development services restricted to NPS MedicineWise staff only are reliant on being able to determine hierarchical structures that support the creation of business rules for automation of access, enrolment and reporting. Staff need to be assigned roles within a hierarchy, these roles are then linked to associated role-based training requirements.
The defined role-based training requirements are met by established training paths for staff that group courses and content into programs. This functionality is critical.
At the core of the staff-only training for NPS MedicineWise sits compliance training. Functionality to create recurring certifications based on programs with a defined validity period is needed, to support recompletion of programs to keep a staff member’s certifications up to date. Consequently, the programs had to support elements such as setting due dates and sending reminders to staff.
Consistent look and feel of theme
Learner engagement is very important in online learning. It is a key factor in retaining registered learners and the achievement of strong academic results. NPS MedicineWise wanted to ensure that when users access the new site, they feel they are in a familiar environment. The new theme had to closely match the look and feel of the existing site. Branding had to be retained.
NPS MedicineWise is committed to protecting the privacy of individuals and their information. As a contractor to the Australian Government, NPS MedicineWise has a regulatory obligation to meet Australia’s Privacy Act 1988, as well as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These obligations were managed using APIs. The functionality that they delivered had to be maintained.
Explore Catalyst IT Services for LMS
NPS MedicineWise selected Moodle Workplace (MWP) 3.11+ as their chosen LMS. The solution would be hosted, with an ongoing managed service provided by Catalyst IT on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The NPS MedicineWise and Catalyst IT teams worked in close collaboration to ensure alignment. The LMS conversion and upgrade included a number of tasks.
The new sites were established on Catalyst IT’s cloud infrastructure. This included an NPS MedicineWise pipeline in GoCD.
GoCD is an open-source tool used in software development to help automate its continuous delivery. It covers the complete build-test-release process from code check-in to deployment to support timely, consistent and comprehensive updates.
Upgrade Moodle code base
The code base upgrade was a multi-step migration process, from Moodle 3.0 to 3.1 to 3.6 to MWP 3.11+. Custom scripts were created to migrate data from custom reporting tables to the new MWP table structures.
Several options were considered – such as backing up the courses and restoring them into a new MWP instance. However, this approach was deemed unsuitable as some user data would have been lost. Moreover, with hundreds of courses to consider, it would have taken days to execute during the migration.
The chosen approach, that retained all user data and resulted in the fastest execution during migration, was to write custom scripts that mapped old data structures to new MWP ones. This was executed in the first step of the migration. The remaining steps of the migration could then use the core upgrade code provided by Moodle.
Catalyst IT found and fixed a few core issues during the upgrade process. NPS MedicineWise was pleased to support the upstream of fixes to MWP, to ensure the MWP community benefits from the findings.
Plugins and APIs
The existing third-party plugins were reviewed and updated. The functionality delivered by the data privacy APIs was also maintained.
Both the Catalyst IT and NPS MedicineWise teams contributed to the plugin work; the NPS MedicineWise developers updated their custom authentication and CRM plugins, while the Catalyst IT developers updated the third-party plugins and a custom report builder extension, to improve data visualisation. All changes were code reviewed by senior Catalyst IT developers. The collaborative approach ensured that knowledge of the new system was retained by the NPS developers.
Theming and branding
Catalyst IT did the initial branding and styling of MWP, incorporating the existing branding.
In consultation with NPS MedicineWise, the Catalyst IT Team adapted the theming. Several iterations were tried and fine-tuned, until NPS MedicineWise was satisfied that the final look and feel of the new site closely matched the existing one. NPS MedicineWise also implemented some custom CSS from the front-end, as the theme allows custom overwrites.
As the site went through the migration, all the configurations came across without issue. There were a few minor configuration settings that needed to be updated post migration, such as the custom CSS and some language strings. This minimised the time required to set up and configure MWP, allowing the NPS MedicineWise Team to focus on quality assurance of the new site.
Result - a high performance LMS to support learners and staff
The Catalyst IT Team worked closely with NPS MedicineWise to successfully deliver the project to requirements. NPS MedicineWise now has an up-to-date, high performance and cyber resilient platform that meets their commercial needs and supports learners and staff.
This was a complex project that required great technical skills and communication and Catalyst IT provided both, making this project run incredibly smoothly. The migration was completed 1 month ahead of schedule without issues. They are a pleasure to work with and I would recommend them to any organisation.
Ongoing managed service
Since the go live date, Catalyst IT provides the NPS MedicineWise MWP instance with full managed services, taking responsibility for delivering high availability and scaling with good cost management discipline. NPS MedicineWise can now concentrate on their core program and content delivery without having to focus on managing the technical infrastructure.
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Catalyst IT has in-depth knowledge of optimising enterprise-level Moodle learning management systems, whether on premise or in a cloud hosted environment. Let’s explore how we can help you.