A six-module medical-affairs training tool for a new migraine treatment
was designed to provide fundamental knowledge about the burden
and pathophysiology of migraine, its unmet medical need, the
most important related studies, the function of the product, and how it
fits into the current competitive landscape.

Global Migraine eLearning

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The Challenge

Headaches are a common issue for most people worldwide. A significant portion of those headaches is caused by migraine, a highly  burdensome disorder that can cause high levels of disability. Migraine treatments currently available have many limitations, creating a high unmet medical need for new therapeutic options. Our client, a global top-20 pharmaceutical company, developed a novel treatment strategy to meet the unmet needs of migraine patients.

To prepare for an optimal product launch, the client contacted us to discuss strategies to train internal medical affairs audiences. These employees would have to be trained thoroughly to understand the product, the competitive landscape, the underlying studies, and the therapeutic area, allowing them to have in-depth discussions with experts in the field.

The decision was made to produce an eLearning course that would fit into the client’s learning management system and would allow for assessments and knowledge evaluations throughout the modules.

The eLearning was required to follow modern educational principles, the navigation had to be intuitive and easy to understand, and the story had to be consistent and build up knowledge step-by-step.

We would like to have a consistent visual story that features of a variety of interactive elements, infographics, videos, and animation instead of just text and boring charts

Project Start

At the beginning of every eLearning project, crucial decisions have to be made pertaining to the content and the technical specifications. Establishing the content and specifications as precisely as possible up front strongly influences the course of the project later on during production.

Important decisions at the beginning

Current knowledge level of the audience
Technical requirements of the LMS
Navigation system and usability concept
Fixed frame vs. responsive design
Level of interactivity
English global vs. local adaptations in different languages

Usage instructions

The user will get a range of options for interacting with the eLearning tool in order to provide the most comprehensive information in the most engaging way. Providing instructions at the beginning of the eLearning is essential.

Learning path and learning objectives

The user should be given a clear idea of what to expect. He/she should be provided with a logical outline of the content as well as motivating learning objectives.

Visuals with words in audio or text – not both!

Empirical evidence shows that people learn better from concurrent graphics and audio than from concurrent graphics, audio, and on-screen text. One reason is that learners may focus on the printed words so much that they pay less attention to the accompanying graphics. Simply put, no one can read on-screen text and look at on-screen graphics at the same time. In addition, learners may find themselves comparing the on-screen text and the narration, which requires cognitive processing extraneous to learning the content.

Reflect on learning and assessment

Each module includes “reflect on learning” and assessment stages. The “reflect on learning” stages encourage the learner to think critically about the information presented. The assessment section at the end of each module is intended to test the knowledge gained.

The Project

To develop a project of this scale, well-defined procedures and clear organizational structures are of vital importance. The account manager is the first point of contact for the client. She organizes the development of the project from start to finish, coordinating with the client as well as CAST’s internal team throughout each phase of the process. Beside her is the lead medical adviser, who is ultimately responsible for the scientific and medical content of the entire project. The internal resources for each module are organized by a project manager and the concept for each module is designed by a medical advisor. Each team has to work closely together in order to develop modules that are unified and build on one another.

Project Development Steps

Typically, at the beginning of a project of this size a lot of materials need to be evaluated: studies, existing presentations, papers, core slide  decks, and other documents. Based on these briefing materials, the content is organized into different modules that build on one another.

Decision to produce 6 modules, each of which requires no more than 90 minutes to complete

Content outlines

For each of the 6 modules planned, our conception team developed a content outline. This content outline provided a module summary, defining learning objectives and specifying the content to be imparted to the learner. This overview document was discussed thoroughly with the client before it was eventually approved.

Detailed concepts

After approval of the content outlines, several teams started development of the detailed concepts. In the detailed concepts, each slide of the eLearning tool was developed in full detail. Interactive elements, animation, and references were arranged in a PowerPoint document, reviewed with the client, extensively reworked, and uploaded to the client’s ZINC review system for final review and approval.


The production team used the approved detailed concepts to create all visual elements such as buttons, navigation elements, infographics, animation, and videos. For this process, several artists such as graphic designers, animators, editors, and technical experts collaborate with our medical advisors in order to achieve the best possible results.


The final step was to put all media into the authoring tool Articulate Storyline, arrange the text, implement the assessment sessions and  finally compile the eLearning tool. Before delivery to the client all links and the entirety of each module were tested using CAST’s learning management system Moodle. In order to make sign-off processes as easy as possible, the client was also given access to this system. In this way, the client could experience the eLearning modules before implementing them into their own LMS.

After approval, the SCORM-compatible files were delivered to the client for final implementation on the client‘s LMS.

Next Steps

The global version of the eLearning tool was successfully launched within the organization and well received by the participants in the learning program. Because of the open structure of the tool, new content can be easily implemented in the future and other tools, such as a commercial eLearning, can be created based on the materials available.

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