Ethicon’s MARS MOOC


Ethicon US, LLC, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is a multi-billion dollar surgical device company. In 2007 Ethicon sponsored a joint research program between Massachusetts General Hospital’s Obesity, Metabolic, and Nutrition Institute (OMNI) and the University of Cincinnati’s Metabolic Diseases Institute (MDI). Ethicon selected ExtensionEngine to develop an online course for surgeons based on the findings.

The Challenge

The goal was to find out more about the metabolic nature of bariatric surgery. What they found, however, changed the way we think not only about bariatric surgery, but about the nature of obesity itself. The question was, how do they get this groundbreaking information out to the medical community?

The question was, how do they get this groundbreaking information out to the medical community?

The Process

They began via traditional means: weekend symposiums with bariatric surgeons and other healthcare providers. But these sessions are extremely costly, can only touch 20-30 people at a time, and require already busy attendees to leave their families for an entire weekend. So Ethicon decided to built an online course to disseminate these findings to surgeons around the world.

By capitalizing on the edX platform and leveraging ExtensionEngine’s expertise in online learning course and platform development, Ethicon was able to develop a world class MOOC and drastically reduce the cost per learning hour by 75%.

ExtensionEngine brought together a team of project managers, instructional designers, software developers, system architects, and quality assurance testers. The team worked hand in hand with Ethicon’s marketing manager and leading bariatric surgeons to develop the course content, direct the video shoots and post production elements, generate assessment data, and track course/user analytics.

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The resulting course, released in June 2014

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The first MARS course release

The Results

  • Over 1000 registrants from the target community (bariatric or metabolic health care professionals) for the first release.
  • 98% of respondents would recommend MARS to their colleagues.
  • 95% agreed the course provides real value for their practice.
  • 88% said it was at least as effective as live course (“actually more because I could pause, replay, and take notes”).

As a result, Ethicon is about to dramatically expand their commitment to online education and make MOOCs the centerpiece of their global learning strategy.

“Building our first MOOC was the most fun I’ve had in my entire professional career, and I owe a lot of that, actually, to the folks at ExtensionEngine.”

Tim Mauri, Marketing Manager for US Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery at Ethicon, Inc., a Johnson and Johnson company.

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