The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta regulates the medical profession in Alberta. Part of their role includes onboarding physicians & surgeons new to the medical profession through a web-based orientation tool called MyCollege. However, MyCollege was outdated, on an old system, unstable, and lacking in the user experience area. We were brought on to reimagine the platform to deliver the MyCollege course content, from the ground up.
We worked together with a dedicated project group on CPSA’s side to completely redesign and rebuild MyCollege via custom WordPress LMS development. CPSA developed all new content, including video, transcripts, and quizzes for each module, while we took the platform through prototyping, web design, development, QA, and launch. Since launch, users have consistently rated MyCollege’s overall experience at an 8/10 or higher.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) hold a lofty vision: to provide the highest quality medical care for Albertans through regulatory excellence. In order to provide that level of care, then, the practitioners need to know what is expected of them, and what best practices to follow. That’s what MyCollege, their web-based orientation course, is designed to help with. However, as with plenty of technology, both MyCollege’s content and platform were long overdue for an update. Users were complaining about the experience of the online course itself, and a complete rebuild and technology switch – requiring a team versed in WordPress LMS development – was on the menu.
So, that’s what we set out to do. We kicked off with the CPSA project team, identifying their users and goals, as well as the challenges of the project itself. A big portion of those challenges revolved around the ground-up creation of new course content – big ups to the CPSA team for delivering on that and not being the elusive client, which was no small feat – alongside the switch to a new technology all within a relatively short project window. Understanding those concerns, we created a detailed project plan and got to work. Our previous web experience in the healthcare industry, for clients like Covenant Health’s Northern Alberta Vascular Centre and Edmonton’s Southside Primary Care Network helped us understand the milestones we’d need to hit to deliver the project successfully.
Device-Agnostic User Experience
One of the biggest issues of the previous version of MyCollege was the entire user experience, which wasn’t really driven by user-centred design principles. Served up by a powerful, but ultimately dated system, the content wasn’t usable on any device other than desktop – and the presentation and usability of the interface itself wasn’t suitable for an organization like CPSA. With those issues outlined, we iteratively prototyped and designed our way to an intuitively designed course interface that has consistently been rated at or higher than 9 out of 10 by all student respondents. Logical user flows are built out into a mobile-first, responsive interface aided by custom iconography, bold typography, and a course content layout that ultimately stays out of the way of the content itself. Users can easily and clearly progress forwards and backwards throughout the course, with progression indicators, completion indicators, and more guiding the way.
A More Intuitive and Accessible Content Platform
The existing version of MyCollege was built on a proprietary software system, which over time proved to be an issue for CPSA in terms of easy-to-understand course content management and training of new staff. This spurred the decision to rebuild the application on an open-source framework – in the end, we built out a customized WordPress instance, powering the course content with custom WordPress LMS development on top of the LearnDash plugin. This combination proved to be the best value for the client: a good amount of key functionality out-of-the-box with LearnDash, paired with a custom implementation of the LMS and design of the UI around it, with the additional benefit of WordPress’ intuitive content management. Finally, CPSA’s primary site (built and managed in-house) is also powered by WordPress – by building MyCollege on WordPress, we removed the need to train staff on entirely new content management system.
Other Interesting Stuff
On top of the key, high-level deliverable of a new platform custom-designed and built on WordPress, the new MyCollege system has a variety of unique benefits that have proven to be high-value for CPSA. A few of those include:
- User role management to allow course content access only to CPSA members
- The ability for users to toggle open a written transcript for the video, to aid multiple learner types
- Custom iconography and design assets used in both the video production and the UI itself
- Various quiz and question types, from long form to multiple choice and more
- Ability for users to leave the course and continue from the same spot at another time
- Reporting on user progress, quiz reporting, and more.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg – right now, MyCollege is running the onboarding course. However, it’s set up for scalability should CPSA want to add more courses in the future.
Overall, the MyCollege relaunch was a success, with entirely new content courtesy of the talented team at CPSA. The platform itself has had overwhelmingly positive feedback from users, and will allow CPSA much more control over their content going forwards. We can’t say enough about the leadership on CPSA’s side – their motivation and collaboration in the project played a huge role in the outcome.
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